As Peter Drucker famously said "Culture eats strategy for breakfast" and yet so many companies struggle to foster a culture that works to the benefit brand and employee.
Company culture and employee motivation has always fascinated me partly because I could never quite understand my own motivations for moving jobs.
I've moved about in my career taking a new role because it felt right and contributed to my career journey...even though I didn't quite know where that journey was taking me.
I left my very first job, a graduate placement program at IBM, after just 2 years to join a a small startup IBM reseller. I remember the confusion within my peer group. Things were going good for me. Why leave?
Sometimes I felt more comfortable putting myself in uncomfortable situations. Situations that stretched me, encouraged me to learn, opened my mind and built my network.
This research has shed some light on my motivations. Apparently there are six main reasons people work and when companies focus on improving the first three (play, purpose and potential) and work to minimise latter three (emotional pressure, economic pressure and inertia) companies create a culture that works for brand and employee.
Every business has a purpose built around a set of values. When employees understand their role within that framework and their values align to the company values, magic happens. When they're allowed to explore their purpose within the business transformation happens.
What I loved most about my career at SAP was having the freedom and trust from my leaders to do what I believed was right for the business. I combined my passion with my purpose. I was able to explore my potential and have fun whilst doing it.
This kept me engaged. It made me a huge ambassador and advocate for the SAP brand and even though I no longer am employed by SAP I still feel connected. I'm a life long brand advocate...post employment.
Academics have studied why people work for nearly a century, but a major breakthrough happened in the 1980s when professors Edward Deci and Richard Ryan from the University of Rochester distinguished the six main reasons why people work. We built on their framework and adapted it for the modern workplace. The six main reasons people work are: play, purpose, potential, emotional pressure, economic pressure, and inertia. The work of many researchers has found that the first three motives tend to increase performance, while the latter three hurt it. We found that the companies most famous for their cultures — from Southwest Airlines to Trader Joe’s — maximize the good motives, while minimizing the bad ones.