Creating A High-Performance Culture

Benchmarking is key for performance. High performance businesses know their strengths and weaknesses, not just to know but to actively focus on where they excel and identify opportunities for improvement.

It’s essential to consider company culture when discussing overall business performance because culture impacts productivity and performance in a very tangible way. This blog post explains the characteristics of a high performance culture and offers four actionable steps for creating a high performance culture.

What is a high-performance culture?

Energage, the parent company of Top Workplaces, has spent almost two decades researching and benchmarking company culture. High performing cultures often attribute their success to data tracking, employee engagement, and strong leadership.

When a company has a high-performance culture, things become easier. Employees are motivated to go above and beyond, daily operations are more efficient, and customers feel the improvements. Recruitment and retention jump too when people talk about how amazing and productive their culture is.

Characteristics of a high performance culture

After researching company culture and employee engagement for nearly two decades, we know what a high-performance culture looks like. Here are seven common characteristics.

1. Motivational and inspirational leaders

Everyone knows tone is set at the top. Motivational leaders (at all levels of the organization) contribute to a high-performance culture by inspiring employees to reach their fullest potential. When more people are driven to achieve success, performance skyrockets. That’s why motivational leaders are number one on the list of characteristics of high-performance cultures. 

Learn more: Signs of Good Leadership

2. Engaged and empowered employees

Engaged and empowered employees are another clear sign of high performance culture. Energage, the HR tech company behind Top Workplaces, has studied employee engagement for almost two decades. All that research shows that companies perform at a higher level when employees are engaged. That’s because an engaged workforce comprises individuals willing to go the extra mile. 

3. Strong growth mindset

Growth directly correlates with organizational and financial success. Companies must have a robust and open-minded growth mindset to perform at a high level and continue doing so. From entry-level employees to senior executives, it creates a culture where everyone is empowered to embrace challenges, learn together, and develop the innovative ideas needed for continued success.   

4. Trust and understanding

Employees lean in when they trust the process and understand their direct impact on company performance. High performance cultures rely on leadership to motivate employees and build trust. Engaged, trusting employees see how their daily tasks contribute to company performance. And if they don’t, it’s leadership’s job to build the trust and understanding needed to perform at a high level.

5. Continuous learning

Continuous learning is one of the most important characteristics of a high performance culture. To stay innovative and hungry, employees need regular opportunities for training and development. Learning new skills is key for company innovation and future-proofing. But it’s also great for individual confidence, engagement, and retention. After all, data shows that most job seekers want continuous learning.  

6. Communication and collaboration

Performing at a high level requires effective communication and collaboration. Whether it’s helping a teammate or a different department, high performance cultures are built on support. When employees collaborate and work towards shared goals, they save time. That time can then be used to think outside the box or work on another project. 

Learn more: How to Improve Workplace Communication

7. Culture of accountability and autonomy

High performance cultures usually move quickly, which is why accountability and autonomy are crucial. Defining responsibilities and timelines keeps everyone accountable and on track. In high performance environments, employees need to know exactly what’s expected and how to properly handle slowdowns. After all, things will always pop up. How teams handle them and take responsibility says a lot about company culture and the tone at the top.

How to build a high-performance culture

Every high performance culture is built on the same four principles: people, technology, culture, and intentional organization. Let’s get into how each one significantly impacts company performance.

Get the right people

People are the backbone of any organization. Hiring hungry, like-minded individuals who value performance and innovation makes it easier to achieve shared goals. Identify the hard and soft skills needed to succeed in your organization and hire based on those skills. It’s about who is the most productive and who cares about your core values. Hiring employees with meaningful connections to your company vision makes success more satisfying. 

Invest in technology

As mentioned, productivity and innovation are essential for a high performance culture. Investing in new technology and tools gives employees the opportunity to save time and learn new skills. Automating repetitive tasks can improve engagement and reduce burnout, keeping the whole team performing at a higher level.

Create a productive culture

Whether they work remotely or in person, employees need a supportive and productive culture to perform well. Their physical work environment and overarching culture must motivate people to get their work done and go the extra mile. Perks like childcare, fancy coffee machines, comfortable desk chairs, and Spotify or Calm subscriptions make people happier and more motivated to get things done. 


Build the right processes

Structure guides employees, managers, and leaders to greatness. Clear responsibilities, communication from leadership, alignment across teams, training sessions, and confidential employee feedback channels make it easier to be efficient. By establishing standards, guidelines, and checkpoints, organizations ensure outputs meet high-quality standards and identify opportunities for refinement and optimization, ultimately enhancing performance over time.

Learn more: Workplace Productivity

Attract high performing candidates with Top Workplaces

High performance culture comes with many benefits, including recognition. Top Workplaces employer recognition boosts credibility because it’s based on real employee feedback and years of industry benchmarking. Do you work for a high-performing, people-first company? Nominate your organization today to celebrate and gain valuable recognition!


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