You don’t know what you don’t know.
Unhealthy workplace cultures can cause great discomfort, dysfunction, anxiety, and toxicity. Conversely, a healthy culture is conducive to professional and spiritual flourishing. Leaders are responsible for creating a work culture that unleashes people’s potential and enhances their joy of working toward a common purpose.
Even non-Christian leaders increasingly recognize the moral mandate to be good stewards of people. Employee engagement serves as a gateway to productivity, performance, and personal gain. But for Christian leaders, the gospel imperative for us to love people, all created in the image of God, should compel us to diligently steward the cultures of our organizations as a foundation of effective businesses as ministries.
Would we describe our companies’ cultures as healthy and flourishing? Would our employees? Just as customer surveys are leveraged to inform product or service improvement, employee surveys can inform areas for cultural improvement. Measuring employee feelings and engagement may seem theoretical, but employee surveys can track emotions quantitatively. Understanding the current state of affairs—the culture of our organizations and the roles, capabilities, and attitudes of our people—is human due diligence. Surveys uncover the specific strengths and areas to reconcile that can inform critical decision-making for a business as a ministry.
You can’t manage what you don’t measure.
A thriving culture requires leaders to create an environment where people are heard and where difficult truths are confronted. Whatever surveys uncover about our cultures—specifically the areas of weakness that might be hard to hear or accept—we must be willing to lean in to listen to our people and invest in cultural improvement. Inviting employees to participate in culture surveys communicates that their feedback is critical to building an enjoyable workplace. Investing time and resources into subsequent culture improvements affirms our care for the wellbeing of our people. Productive change begins when this distinction is embraced.
You can achieve flourishing status.
When we approach organizational health not merely with a mindset of winning awards for publicity and competitive posturing but with an eternal perspective of cultural stewardship, there is reason to measure progress and much to celebrate. BCWI has surveyed dozens of C12 Member companies over multiple years. According to BCWI’s 2020 analysis, C12 Member companies significantly outperform other for-profits. More than twice as many companies (23.8 %) affiliated with C12 develop flourishing workplaces than other for-profit companies (9.10 %). C12 Member companies also scored higher in overall employee engagement—the biggest determining factor of a healthy-to-flourishing workplace culture—than other for-profit organizations.
Best Christian Workplaces Institute (BCWI) measures employee engagement on four components: energy, enthusiasm, passion, and commitment. Their research has found the following eight attributes to be the top drivers of employee engagement, with life-giving work and inspirational leadership having the most influence on employee engagement for C12 Members.
- Fantastic Teams.
- Life-Giving Work
- Outstanding Talent.
- Uplifting Growth and Development
- Rewarding Compensation
- Inspirational Leadership.
- Sustainable Strategy
- Healthy Communication
We’re called to feed God’s people.
Regardless of our sales, scale, or sophistication, we’re all in the people business, as that’s what our Father’s business is all about. Throughout the Old Testament, we see God holding kings accountable not only for their personal righteous conduct but also for the state of the kingdoms they were entrusted with. God “scored” those civic managers on social factors like injustice, corruption, wickedness, and suffering. Jesus even told Peter to demonstrate his love for Jesus by taking care of those entrusted to him. Similarly, we are accountable for whether those entrusted to our employment are flourishing.
Imagine if Jesus made a spontaneous worksite audit. What would we be excited to show Him? What would we be tempted to hide from Him? With this simulation in mind, what policies and protocols do we need to put in place to create a workplace culture where people get to experience the love of Jesus Christ?