The Connection Between Company Culture and Employee Engagement

May 4, 2023
8 mins

The link between company culture and employee engagement is undeniable, as both components significantly influence one another.

A toxic company culture can quickly lead to disengagement among employees, resulting in a significant loss of productivity and a negative impact on the company's overall performance. Conversely, by implementing effective strategies to improve employee engagement, companies can cultivate a more positive and efficient work culture. This approach involves creating a supportive work environment that encourages employee well-being, fosters teamwork, and allows individuals to achieve their full potential. By prioritizing employee engagement, companies can build a healthier and more productive culture that benefits everyone.

Employee engagement is defined in a wide range of ways, and most of them are accurate. If we have to define it ourselves, we will define employee engagement as the level of emotional, physical, and psychological commitment that employees have for their organization to fulfill any immediate or future goals. It is their undivided attention toward their work environment to work cohesively for the growth and sustainability of an organization. 

Global research shows the impact of employee engagement and how it directly impacts organizational growth and performance. Business leaders worldwide, therefore, are always on the lookout for bringing the best strategies to keep their employees engaged and happy. 

According to Gallup's findings, highly engaged teams show 21% greater profitability.

Another study found that disengaged employees can cost U.S. companies $550 billion a year. You can now easily gaze at the stake that employee engagement holds and why it must be taken seriously. 

There are many reasons backed by real-time data showing how companies can improve their employee engagement and what are the critical pain points that must be addressed. We, however, in this article will discuss one of the core reasons which is company culture, and how it impacts employee engagement.

Going beyond the buzzword

Employee engagement is a buzzword that has been thrown around by many business leaders. However, many of them believe that employee engagement can be improved by running an internal employee engagement survey alone, providing free snacks, or organizing regular team outings. While these activities do hold value, they may not be enough to keep employees engaged in the long run.

To keep employees engaged, business leaders need to address and understand the core needs of their employees. This becomes even more challenging when the workforce is diverse and dispersed. Therefore, a strong culture is essential to see beyond these differences and provide a satisfying employee experience in the first place.

It is crucial to understand that one size does not fit all when it comes to employee engagement. A strategy that works well for Company X may not work for Company Y due to cultural differences. For example, Company X might have a young workforce compared to Company Y, and therefore, the needs and circumstances of the workforce will vary. Hence, employee engagement initiatives and practices should be tailored to meet the specific needs of each company.

Despite these differences, some must-dos apply to all companies, irrespective of their size, workforce age, or geographic location. Employee recognition, regular feedback, and employee support are some examples. These fundamentals cannot be overlooked when it comes to ensuring a healthy employee experience and engagement.

In conclusion, breaking the notion that employee engagement can be improved by running an internal survey alone or providing free snacks is essential. Business leaders need to understand the core needs of their employees and tailor their engagement strategies accordingly. A strong culture is vital to achieving this, and certain fundamentals such as employee recognition, regular feedback, and support should be present in every organization. By doing so, companies can keep their employees engaged and ultimately achieve success.

The role of strong company culture on employee engagement

Creating a strong company culture isn’t just good business. It’s the right thing to do, and it makes your company better for all stakeholders – employees, management, and customers. ~Julia Hartz

Employee engagement is an immediate result of healthy company culture. Employees who are part of a culture that is transparent, support their employees, and lays out the mission, vision, values, and purpose of the company clearly to its employees are more likely to cut down miscommunication and keep everyone aligned and happy. A healthy culture keeps employees satisfied since they understand what is expected of them and what they are signing up for. Moreover, a strong company culture is dynamic, and they are agile in making new policies and strategies for the well-being of their workforce in an unprecedented situation. 

As we said before, employee engagement and company culture are interconnected. A highly engaged workforce is the result of a high-performance company. A high-performance culture is a proactive culture that communicates to its employees regularly, understands their needs, is supportive, and goes beyond the usual norms and trends to give its employees a great employee experience. 

Tap into the human element to improve engagement

In this great resignation era, thousands of employees are resigning daily. Leave employee engagement alone, it has become quite a task for business leaders to retain their employees. Why suddenly post-pandemic we witness such mass voluntary resignations? Toxic culture or low-performance culture sadly often fails to give heed to one important aspect 'the employees and their fundamental human needs.' 

The resignations which seem voluntary or taken after an epiphany moment post-pandemic justify the fact that employees were not happy and satisfied with their work culture. And the pandemic gave them the much-needed strength to look for better opportunities remotely or be a part of organizations that do not crush their souls. 

The key is to create experiences for employees that move in tandem with them on a human level. Organizations must tap into the human element of their workforce by creating opportunities for them that support their personal and professional growth. 

Ways to do that-

  • Build meaningful relationships with your employees
  • Support them and unleash their creativity
  • Take care of their well-being
  • Appreciate and recognize your employees
  • Take continuous feedback 
  • Make active listening a regular practice in the work culture

We need to understand that your workforce and their experiences are diverse. Therefore, build strategies that employees can resonate with to enhance their creativity, discover new ideas, and create human employee experiences. 

Culture and its Impact

If you are still reading, then you may have already realized the significant correlation between culture and engagement, and how important it is to have a robust culture that can enhance employee engagement and create a positive work environment. Below is a concise list of ways in which company culture can influence employee engagement.

1. Transparent communication

A strong culture always follows transparent communication across teams. Managers and leaders lay out their goals and objectives clearly and keep the communication channels on a loop regularly to support and minimize misunderstandings. They are vocal about their values, beliefs, and purpose to everyone aligned with the company. From onboarding a new employee to exit interviews, they make sure to support employees and give them a good employee experience. 

2. Psychological safety for employees

A psychologically safe work environment breeds engaged employees. Now, what does psychological safety mean in this context? Simply put, it is the mindset that employees develop, an attitude that they can play their job roles with the utmost sincerity in an open and supportive environment. 

Employees need to be able to express their views and ideas without any hesitation. It can only develop in an environment where employees are treated with respect and equality, and where diversity and inclusion are taken seriously. It also gives employees a sense of meaning and they are empowered to become their best selves. 

3. Collaboration and teamwork

A robust company culture can foster a collaborative and teamwork-oriented environment. It inspires and empowers employees to utilize their decision-making and problem-solving skills to resolve issues objectively and learn from one another's experiences. This collective effort can contribute to the growth and development of the organization as a whole. Furthermore, a strong culture cultivates supportive work relationships among team members, enabling them to move forward with a shared sense of purpose and achieve high levels of engagement.

4. Employee development

Train people well enough so they can leave, and treat them well enough so they don't want to. ~Richard Branson. 

Cultures that live by this quote build a highly engaged, highly productive, and highly satisfied workforce at the end of the day. 

Employees can only upskill and be high-performing contributors when they are valued and supported to grow individually. Cultures that focus on employee development keep employee engagement and job satisfaction at their peak since they have something to look forward to learning and growing. Employees can easily be distracted or disengaged when they are unsure about their career development and thus can sooner or later leave the organization. 


To ensure that employee engagement initiatives bring more value to the organization, business leaders should actively participate and collaborate with their HR teams and employees. By doing so, they can gain a deeper understanding of the company's culture and identify any challenges that may be hindering employee engagement.

Before implementing any engagement strategies, it is crucial to address any organizational cultural challenges. This will ensure that the initiatives are built around the company's values and objectives, and will be more effective in improving employee engagement.

In summary, business leaders should not blindly follow employee engagement trends but rather evaluate their effectiveness by asking the important WHYs. By collaborating with their HR teams and employees, identifying cultural challenges, and building initiatives around company culture, they can improve employee engagement and drive the success of their organization.

Braja Deepon Roy

This article is written by Braja Deepon Roy, who is a part of the marketing team at Bigfish Benefits. He actively spends time studying new ideas and trends that can have an impact on workplace cultures as well as binge-listening to psychology and neuroplasticity podcasts. If you have any questions, reach out to

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