The Single Most Important Thing You Need To Know To Create An Engaging Culture

Create An Engaging Culture

In reading some company reviews from past employees on indeed and interviewing thousands of Architects and Designers it seems some firms can use some help in this area.

Give them a reason to believe 

People are seeking jobs in Architecture and Design with meaning, purpose and a reason to believe in what they are doing. Give them a reason to believe as they use their vital energy on the daily work they do for the company.

To create an engaging culture we must have leaders with the ability to communicate and enroll the team in your companies’ vision. It must be a vision that they “believe in, that resonates, and is also relatable and aspirational.” Give your people a reason to believe that their contribution counts and help them understand the impact of their contribution.

If you are committed to building a healthy, engaging, and sustainable culture, give your employees, colleagues, and coworkers a reason to believe – in you, the team, the organization, and the value of their contribution.”

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Forbes, Kathy Miller Perkins

Give them a reason to believe 

Compelling evidence reveals how organizational culture influences company outcomes. Yet many leaders are perplexed when they look for ways to address culture dilemmas. At times, the search for solutions resembles the pursuit of the Holy Grail!

Don’t despair. A straightforward solution for creating a distinctive and sustainable culture is within your reach. While not mysterious, this universal cure-all is miraculous: give your employees, colleagues, and coworkers a reason to believe!

I have been researching sustainable organizational cultures for close to a decade. My findings, which serve as the backbone of my recent book, reveal the power of this simple solution. The magic bullet for ensuring that your company culture supports your success involves the following:

Give them a reason to believe in you.

Interpersonal trust is the bedrock of healthy work cultures. Always give your employees, colleagues, and coworkers a reason to believe in you. Demonstrate that you are trustworthy.

The way to earn trust in the workplace is straightforward. Do what you say and follow through on your commitments. Carry out your work tasks, capably. Treat your coworkers fairly and respectfully, even when you disagree with them. Show others, through your actions, that you care about their well being as well as your own.  

Mark was a union steward in an oil refinery when I met him. Everyone respected him because he was smart, personable, and honest. While not part of the management hierarchy, Mark possessed the power to influence others because of his competence and integrity. 

Mark told me that he had not always been so trustworthy. He described how he blew up at a manager in a grievance meeting. As a result, the manager ruled against the complaint. However, later, the manager asked Mark to meet with him privately. He asked Mark to work with him to improve their relationship. The two did develop a better way of working with each other. Their mutual respect and commitment to seeking solutions to problems together became the basis of their working relationship.

The manager gave Mark a reason to believe in him by valuing him and his opinions and asking for the same in return. And the experience became a turning point for Mark. He learned to ground his leadership in respectful relationships.

Give them a reason to believe in the team.

Today’s workplace is composed of teams. Everyone belongs to at least one. And members are more likely to engage when the team has an inspiring purpose. Team members will connect and collaborate with passion when every member is contributing to the achievement of shared and inspiring goals.

On the heels of a labor dispute that resulted in a bitter strike, a company’s senior leaders chartered a team to improve the culture of the organization. The group, which included both management and labor, was cross-functional and cross-level. All team members had equal voices regardless of their formal status in the company. The team members rotated roles and responsibilities so that everyone had the opportunity to lead and to follow.

The company provided the team with training on skills such as how to develop rules of engagement, craft a shared vision, deal with conflict, and communicate with others throughout the company. The team’s shared goal of improving the workplace provided every member with a reason to believe in the significance of the work.

Give them a reason to believe in the organization.

Most people entering the workforce today say they are seeking jobs with meaning. A study conducted by the IBM Workforce Institute reported that meaningful work provides the most significant contribution to a positive work experience. The study recommended that employers work towards this end by creating stronger connections between employees and other stakeholders. My research corroborates this conclusion. I have found that the more people interact with stakeholders outside of their organizational boundaries, the more engaged they become with their work and their employers.

The IBM report also suggested that companies try harder to communicate how employees’ work outcomes contribute to the bigger company and societal picture.

Bryan de Lottinville created a company that offers employees to work with a purpose. He is the founder of Benevity, the global leader in corporate social responsibility and employee engagement software. He contends that leadership in a purpose-driven company succeeds through authentic passion and commitment to the power of the vision and the culture of the company. When asked how to engage people in the vision, he said that first, the leader must have one! He added that it must be resonant, relatable, and aspirational. And, ideally, the vision will connect with a universally innate desire for purpose, meaning, and impact. According to de Lottinville, once the vision is in place, the real work begins as the organization builds a culture to support it. 

He argues that work meaning comes from more than compensation and perks. He says that many companies confuse making employees happy with engaging them. He believes that engagement comes from satisfying the human yearning to infuse goodness into the world. And Benevity has built an engaging culture focused on service, responsiveness, and passion. Benevity has integrated a social purpose into the business model.

Give them a reason to believe that their contribution counts.

While critical to the cultural puzzle, a clear company purpose isn’t enough to create an environment that engages everyone. People want to understand how their work connects with the purpose, according to a recent Harvard Business Review article. Likewise, my research shows that employee engagement is highest in companies that recognize and value employees’ contributions to business success and societal well-being.

Recently a young professional told me how she had accepted a job with her current employer because she believed so strongly in the organization’s mission. She had left her home town and another excellent position because of her admiration for her new employer. However, over time, she had become disillusioned with her work because she didn’t believe that the organization recognized and valued her contribution to the company’s purpose. Although this organization gave employees a reason to believe in the mission, they fell short in helping them understand the impact of their work.

I have found that companies frequently neglect this critical piece of the cultural puzzle. Take the time to help all your coworkers, colleagues and employees understand the impact of their work and the value that they bring to it.

All of us want to work in organizations that support company success and our well-being. Advice about how to achieve these ends is not hard to find. Yet companies continue to struggle to develop healthy organizational cultures. So where is the disconnect?

Much of the advice on culture is high-level and doesn’t translate readily into actions. Yet the magic bullet, giving people a reason to believe, is simple, concrete, and powerful. If you are committed to building a healthy, engaging, and sustainable culture, give your employees, colleagues, and coworkers a reason to believe – in you, the team, the organization, and the value of their contribution.

Kathy Miller Perkins Contributor 


I write about why corporate culture matters and how to transform it to support meaningful work.