Employee Engagement

How To Create A High-Performance Work Culture


What company doesn’t want to be high performing? With the number of posts out there about high-performance culture (this one included), you would think this is still something companies aren’t getting the hint on.

And you wouldn’t be wrong. While every business leader dreams of having an office that’s breaking records week in and week out, the reality is that most folks aren’t focused on what the culture behind those great numbers really looks like. Leaders are invested in results, but they’re not paying attention to the process: how you get from being a company of qualified and capable employees to being a team of top performers. Here’s the good news: any team is capable of making that leap.

Whether you’re a room full of Summa Cum Laude achievers, or you’re a group of extremely motivated learners, creating a high-performance work culture is about attainable, incremental steps. Here are a few of the most important things you should consider as you build that high-performance culture for yourself.  

Deliver Value, Not Just Production

Again, creating a culture of growth and output can cause a temptation to be focused on, well, output. But Charlotte Petris, writing for Inc. on what businesses do to create high-performance cultures, explains that the companies who prove to be the most high-performing are the ones who put stock in delivering value: “[T]he success of an organization is directly related to the degree of alignment between the underlying values of the company and the aspirational values of employees.” Before you get too mucked up in the numbers that your team is delivering on a weekly basis, you have to first be focused on what you all value as a team.

What do your employees aspire to? Are they creating goals for themselves, and do those goals align with what you broadly want to achieve as a business? And just as importantly: do you value what your employees are chasing after? If you’re not invested in your employees’ achievements, it’s going to be hard for the whole team to be invested in really delivering value.  

Recognize and Reward Performance

This one is simple: people like to be recognized for their hard work. Susan M. Heathfield, writing for The Balance, points out this simple truth about recognition: “People who feel appreciated are more positive about themselves and their ability to contribute.

People with positive self-esteem are potentially your best employees.” Think about it this way: if you were constantly leaving your blood sweat and tears on the floor, and your boss never took notice or expressed appreciation, how long would it be before you started sending out resumes during lunch? Make it a point to give your employees the recognition they deserve. When praise is complemented with their efforts each time, they’ll begin to see the merit in doing a great job rather than the bare minimum.  

Be a People-First Business

Ultimately, the underlying theme in all of this is clear. If you want to be creating a high-performance work culture, you have to be a people-first business. If you’re so entrenched in the numbers that you forget who’s producing them, you’re setting yourself (and your team) up for failure. Whether it’s in-office competitions, goal setting, or just taking the time to really engage with your employees, a high-performance culture starts with your people. And once you’re all on board, there’s no limit to what you can accomplish.