How to Establish a High-Performance Culture as a Leader

By Indeed Editorial Team

Published November 21, 2022

The Indeed Editorial Team comprises a diverse and talented team of writers, researchers and subject matter experts equipped with Indeed's data and insights to deliver useful tips to help guide your career journey.

Companies across industries often develop and adopt work cultures that support high performance to enable them to succeed. These work cultures encourage employees to produce more substantial results while rewarding their hard work. Understanding what high performance means and how you can establish it in workplace culture can help you increase your efficiency and help the company and other employees achieve their collective goals. In this article, we define high-performance culture, highlight the characteristics of top-performance cultures in companies, and outline six steps to create this type of culture.

What is a high-performance culture?

A high-performance culture is a work atmosphere that senior managers create and enforce to improve company performance and productivity by designing success-based practices and systems. It's a work environment that encourages employees to aim as high as they can. This culture can increase the chances of success for long-term goals and help company leaders take more deliberate steps towards reaching these goals and improving employee engagement.

Read more: A Guide to Creating a High-Performance Team (With Tips)

Characteristics of a high-performance company culture

Some of the features of a high-performance company culture are that it is:

Collaborative

In a performance culture, managers and employees often communicate and collaborate. The team leaders encourage other members of the team to help each other and communicate more effectively. Consequently, the employees establish an efficient communication system to provide each other with information. This collaboration helps the team become a cohesive group with increased productivity.

Innovative

Managers and employees are more open to trying new and creative ideas when working for a company with a strong performance culture. Innovation usually requires input from the organization's leaders and employees as they discover new product offerings and adjust the way the business operates. For instance, if an employee develops a new system to gather and use client data, as the performance manager, you may review the data and test it. In addition to producing more creative and functional solutions, innovation can encourage communication and collaboration.

Read more: What Is an Innovative Culture? (With Essential Features)

Led effectively

Companies usually implement performance cultures, starting with leaders and managers at the top. These leaders understand the necessity for growth and establish processes that can lead to better performance. In addition, their own behaviour sets an example for other employees to follow. These leaders may also promote these performance cultures by openly rewarding employees who have contributed good work as positive reinforcement. When leaders lead by example, it engages other employees and increases the chances of attaining high levels of productivity and high employee retention.

Read more: What Is Corporate Culture?

Focused on employee development

When establishing performance cultures, managers and team leaders develop training sessions to teach employees new skills. They may also assign new responsibilities and promote high achievers. The goal is to establish a more diverse workforce to contribute to the company's growth. In addition, focusing on employee development reduces the requirement to hire external talent when the company enters a new market or growth area.

How to create a high-performance company culture

Follow these steps to create a high-performance work culture:

1. Establish team goals

Before creating a high-performance company culture, it's important to establish and clarify the goals of the company and the teams within it. As a leader or manager, you may make a document to outline company-specific goals to help other employees understand the company's purpose, goals, performance metrics, and how it intends to reach its goals. You can establish these goals based on the relevant company documents and by speaking with other managers and the leadership committee. In addition, when choosing from various options for the business, you may use these goals to evaluate these options and make a strategic decision.

For instance, a new company may be looking to increase sales by 30%. To achieve this goal, the company executives may set such goals as conducting customer surveys, gathering research, and training new and existing employees to develop new competencies. In addition, the management team may break down their growth plan into smaller milestones and delegate tasks to team leaders and their teams. These milestones may help the company track progress and make the necessary changes.

Related: The Importance of Leadership and Culture in Organizations

2. Create a plan

As you identify areas where you can make changes to improve the company culture, you may outline a detailed plan concerning what changes you wish to implement and how. This plan may include a detailed analysis of the company while comparing its characteristics with those of a company with a high-performance culture. Then focus on each characteristic in turn and highlight how the company could improve it. For instance, when focusing on the company's project management characteristics, you may discover that managers don't always receive feedback directly from project members.

To solve this problem, you may develop processes to encourage employee engagement and get more constructive feedback directly from the project team. For example, you may facilitate better and more open communication between managers and team members and allow team members to take up more leadership opportunities. You can review the progress of this plan regularly and make any necessary adjustments to ensure the company achieves its goals.

Read more: What Is Workplace Culture? With Definition and Tips

3. Set company values

In most companies, the company values serve as a foundation for the work culture. As a performance manager, you may define and implement company values by ensuring that you communicate them clearly to employees. When employees understand and support the company values, they're more likely to understand and comply with the high-performance company culture. Workplace values are a strong pillar of business cultures as the company culture embodies the values. When you define company values, you clarify what the company represents, and it becomes easier to incorporate these values into everyday interactions between employees.

Read more: What Is Work Culture? Definition, Elements, and Examples

4. Communicate with the team

High-performance company culture usually works better when all employees, including managers, make a concerted effort. Leaders may ensure that all employees can communicate clearly and freely with each other. There are several ways you can implement seamless communication in the company. For instance, you may conduct training sessions or communicate information in a company-wide e-mail or in periodic meetings. The right communication channel depends on the size and structure of the organization and the nature of the information you wish to convey. In addition, you may request feedback from employees concerning how they think you or the company could improve.

For example, while, as a manager, you may have a top position in the company, other employees may have better ideas about how to improve operations in the different teams. Opportunities for employees to give feedback let them know you value their input and may make them more interested in the process. As a result, employees feel more committed to the company and they become more amenable to change. In addition, speaking to other employees can help you gather different insights and perspectives on any issues, and you can use these to develop more effective solutions.

Read more: What Is Company Culture? (With a List of Different Types)

5. Review performance

The next stage in implementing high-performance company culture is to record and evaluate progress. After implementing the necessary changes, you may set a timeline to review performance and determine if the plans are working. The review process helps you determine how close the company is to achieving its goals. For example, you may conduct an independent review using some key performance indicators. Alternatively, you may gather opinions from other employees and evaluate how well they've adjusted to the changes. You may identify some employees who are finding the changes challenging and you can then offer them some assistance.

For instance, if the company implements frequent stand-up meetings to encourage more communication, you may observe a decline in late deliverables or mistakes in work. This indicates that the meetings facilitate more communication so that employees understand what to do, therefore improving the quality of their output. In addition, you may gather feedback from team members concerning how well they're adapting, where you may discover that while the discussions are helpful, employees still require personal sessions. Considering this information, you may adjust the team meetings to include more formal or informal one-on-one meetings where you give more information and feedback.

Read more: Performance Review Goals (Definition, Types, and Importance)

6. Prioritize career development

One of the significant reasons that high-performance company culture helps employees succeed is that the process is often mutually beneficial. High-performance company cultures generally benefit both employers and employees. While managers expect team members to become more efficient, team members trust that their managers are helping them succeed and want the best for their careers. You can maximize employee potential by emphasizing their individual career growth while implementing the performance culture. Using this process, you may help them learn the skills they require to progress in their careers.

In addition, you may create a culture where the company's and team's progress and the individual's career growth can occur simultaneously. You may assist team members in setting meaningful goals, which you incorporate into their workflow and use as metrics to measure their performance. While implementing a high-performance culture is quite complex, you may focus on performance management, employee growth, communication, and values to prepare your team and the company for success.

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