How to Build a High Performance Culture - EmployeeConnect HRIS
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How to Build a High Performance Culture

An organisation’s culture does not only entail offering lucrative perks such as team happy hours, flexitime, salary, recreational opportunities and options and the like. While these benefits and perks certainly need to be part of a high-performance company culture, they are not the only ones. To put it very simply, an organisational culture is defined by a set of behaviours that determine ‘how’ and ‘why’ certain things are being done in your organisation. When you have a high-performing culture prevailing in an organization, it automatically impacts every aspect of that organisation. For instance, research data corroborates this fact by saying that organisations which have a high performing culture have a job turnover of 14% as compared to those organizations having a poor culture with 48%.

What does a High-Performance Culture Look Like

A high performance culture includes a set of norms and behaviours that help an organisation to achieve excellent results. In other words, an organisation with high-performance matra at its core can make better financial and non-financial outcomes compared to its peers over a specified period. Non-financial results entail employee retention, customer satisfaction etc. When an organisation aligns its organisational goals, employee priorities, and customer needs with these norms and behaviours, the company is bound to achieve both financial and non-financial results.

Creating a high performance culture is not an easy exercise. There is a lot of scope for navigating the many breakdowns and pit stops along this journey. While having a uniform and high performance culture across an organisation is a great idea, in reality, it is defined by how the employees behave.

Organisations which have a great high performing culture are seen to have their employees put in optimal efforts. However, sadly most of these organisations leverage only around 70% of an individual employee’s contribution. This deficit of 30% contribution efforts from an employee is what counts as high performance.

Let’s take a look at the characteristics that make up a high performance culture:

Characteristics of a High-Performance Culture

1. Ability to Adapt to Change

To create a high performance culture for an organisation, it is imperative that the everyone embraces a changed mindset. To promote innovation and growth in any business, change is inevitable. To stay ahead, organisations adopt various means such as reinventing jobs, structures, processes, and work practices. In fact, the future of not only businesses but also individuals depends on the ability to adapt to changes and most important of all to project a changed mindset.

2. Developing Strong Leaders

A high performance culture usually comprises of individuals who are keen to outperform. Hence, it needs strong leaders who are capable enough to engage and constantly inspire employees to give their best. Strong leaders are quite important to generate a sense of loyalty amongst the employees and to inspire them to put their best foot forward and fulfil their responsibilities at work. An organisation needs leaders who can align, engage, mobilise and inspire teams to build a high performance culture.

3. Empower and Trust Decision Making Ability of Employees

Organisations which have high-performance cultures encourage and trust the decision-making abilities of their employees. They encourage their employees to ask questions, take decisions as and when required, and act with trust upon those choices. When employees are provided with a safe environment, they felt encouraged and empowered to take up problems and look for innovative solutions. This also makes them much more enthusiastic about their jobs, and they are much less likely to become disengaged from their present workplace.

4. Constantly Innovate

Organisations with a high-performance culture constantly strive towards improving, simplifying, and aligning their processes to adapt to changes in an iterative manner and thereby eliminating unnecessary work, procedures, and any information overload. These organisations also maintain transparency at all levels by monitoring goals, measuring progress, and reporting everything that is of importance, so that everyone is on the same page.

5.     Formulate Meaningful Core Values

Organisations with a high performing culture ensure that their goals are aligned with the existing core values. They have quite clear ethics that is being supported by the policies laid down by the organisation.

6.     Have a Coaching Mindset

Organisations which have high-performance culture are seen to rely and insist on the fact that coaches/trainers make their employees feel empowered and valued. The coaches ask questions to the employees and listen attentively; they also offer their observations, reflections, and suggestions and schedule debriefing sessions accordingly. The individuals who are in coaching roles usually take up the responsibility for their respective department and their overall performance.

7.     Encourage and Enhance Training and Development

Organisations which have high-performance culture and are engaged recognize the significance of training their employees for the growth and improvement of the individuals in particular and the company at large. Talent is considered to be an asset and customised training and development plans are therefore aligned with the organisational goals and objectives so that the individual employees are provided with clear career pathways.

8.     Create a Transparent Culture

Organisations can achieve a powerful competitive edge by generating a culture of transparency, trust, and openness if they encourage information to flow freely. This can take place when organisations facilitate their employees to share their knowledge and ideas openly. They also encourage open and honest debates and urge their employees to come up to report their concerns and mistakes without any sense of fear.

9.     Incorporate Fun into the Cultural Fabric

It has been observed that organisations with high performing culture incorporate engaging and fun activities with work. This leads to lowering of stress levels, absenteeism, and turnover rate. When employees are motivated and encouraged to have fun at work, they are also seen to put in their 100% at work.

10.  Measure Culture

In order to maintain a high-performance culture, organisations need to measure their progress along the way at regular intervals. It is no doubt challenging to create and maintain a high-performance culture, but it isn’t impossible. When it comes to ‘culture’, there is no one size that fits everyone. The specifics may vary from one company to another by what works best for each to achieve their objective of becoming a high performing organisation.

Now that you are aware of what a high-performance culture looks like let’s take a look at how you can build one.

How to build a High-Performance Culture

To create a high-performance culture, you’ll need to know about the about ten measurable values you’ll find in a high-performance organisation.

1. Collaboration: In a collaborative working environment, employees tend to share, cooperate, and work in tandem with each other in a team.

2. Innovation: Companies which nurture a high performance culture always encourage new and innovative ideas from every team member. These ideas shared by the team members are shared across the organisation.

3. Agility: An organization with high performing culture is quite agile. It promptly responds and adapts itself to opportunities.

4. Communication: A high performing organisational culture warrants its employees to receive, send, and comprehend the necessary information.

5. Support: Employees of an organisation with high performing culture provide and support each other with the guidance and resources that they need to succeed. They also have faith and confidence in their organisation’s leadership.

6. Wellness: An organisation with a high-performance culture has employee friendly policies and resources that help its people to maintain good physical and mental health.

7. WorkPlace: Organisations with a high performing culture has a comfortable working environment where the employees have the necessary resources to be effective in the workplace.

8. Responsibility: Employees of an organisation with a high performing culture take accountability for their actions. They also have the required freedom to take certain decisions about their work.

9. Performance: Employees of an organisation having a high performance culture is aware of what determines success in their respective roles. They are also duly rewarded or recognised for achievements by the organisation.

10. Mission and Value Alignment: Employees belonging to an organisation with a high performing culture comprehends, knows, and believes in the mission and values of their company.

The above-mentioned values are quite common in organisations which have a high-performing culture. These can offer you the required guidance, as you set to assess the culture of your organisation.

How to Get Started?

  • Conduct regular surveys amongst your employees on the above mentioned ten values so that you can figure out the problem areas as well as the strengths.
  • After you collect the feedback from your employees, ensure that you follow up and formulate a plan of action.
  • Take measures to empower your senior leaders to represent the organisational values and cultural qualities, as they have a significant role in establishing a high-performance culture.


Employee engagement which has emerged recently as the buzz word certainly has a significant role to play that impact the bottom line of an organisation. All the ten qualities discussed above are found in the pillars of employee engagement. Thus it is essential for an organisation to focus towards understanding and to strengthen the organisational culture to promote employee engagement and thereby create a happy, healthy, and satisfied workforce.

Byron Conway

Content Coordinator at EmployeeConnect