Creating a company culture that engages employees

Spending resources to attract and retain top talent makes for a more profitable and successful enterprise

Kristy Weaver

While the term “employee engagement” might sound like HR or corporate-speak, it is fast becoming a critical element of every successful business. Simply stated, employee engagement means everyone – from the CEO to the frontline – is keenly focused on the key business indicators for success. Additionally, it means that all employees derive real meaning in the work they do and the service they provide.

Study after study shows engaged employees make for a more profitable and successful enterprise. But even more, a workforce engaged and motivated in the company’s mission, vision and values is much more likely to do better work, stay longer and work more collaboratively. Certainly from a leader’s perspective, there is a direct correlation between your success and the success of your motivated and engaged people.

The real key to engaging and motivating a diverse workforce is having a cross-functional team operating in all locations or departments that owns the corporate culture. At Pacific Continental Bank, for example, we do this through our “C-Team,” a group in charge of culture, communications and change. From the very beginning, the bank’s management recognized that identifying and preserving the company’s culture was of critical importance. They understood this would require support and care, but more importantly, they wanted to be sure that our culture was something that was nurtured daily. It was for this reason the C-Team was first formed. The group consists of employees throughout all markets who are asked to steward the bank’s culture and all associated programs.

Of equal importance is a rallying cry around employees getting together to do things important to them personally, as well as professionally. That means placing a strong emphasis on volunteerism and the support of community-based organizations that improve quality of life. Through employee volunteer and matching donation programs, companies can engage their employees at the grassroots level where much of their passion and energy exists.

Another key tenant of employee engagement is providing them a level of control over their employment experience. HR tools have adapted to allow employees to manage and enhance their own unique experiences. A robust Intranet, along with other online applications, allow today’s employees the power to manage their benefits, training, payroll and more. What online reservation sites have done for the travel industry, online HR tools are doing for employee engagement. The ability to streamline these processes opens up more time for employers to focus on professional employee development.

I believe the most successful organizations do two things really well: attract top talent and retain top talent. Spending the time and resources necessary to truly engage your employees is often the best money spent and creating the right company culture is invaluable.

Kristy Weaver is senior vice president and relationship banking manager for Pacific Continental Bank in Vancouver. She can be reached at

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