How Does Your Organization Define a Connected Culture?

At Ally, we define a connected culture as one where every employee feels accepted, valued, and a sense of belonging. We strive to build a purpose-driven organization that’s grounded in a connected culture and a highly engaged workforce. Being a purpose-driven company is not something you can elect out of—at least not if you want to have long-term success with your culture. It’s a must-do. Your brand equals your employer value proposition, which equals your culture. Therefore, you must be willing to demonstrate your commitment through your employment actions. It is a critical connection among all three components of brand, employer value proposition, and culture so your employees feel supported and connected, both personally and professionally, and feel a sense of belonging.

At Ally, our brand mantra of “Doing it Right” succinctly summarizes our broader approach. We ask ourselves “Is this the right thing to do?” or “How does this make our culture stronger?” because we know if you get culture right, the results follow. We rally our employees around doing right for customers and each other and giving back to the communities where we live and work because it makes our culture stronger and drives purpose.

Corporate citizenship and building a purpose-driven company go hand in hand. At the end of the day, employees want to work for a company with values aligned with their own. They want to work for a company that stands for something and has purpose. They want to feel like they are connected personally and professionally to something bigger than themselves.

The largest driver of a healthy, connected culture is employee engagement, and engagement goes far beyond retention metrics. It is about the personal connection and passion individual employees have for where they work, how they work, and, most critically, the purpose of their work. Research has shown that people are drawn to companies with inclusive cultures because they ultimately have a positive impact on society as a whole. So, making a positive social impact and striving to be a purpose-driven company are important themes in building a connected culture.

Why Is Building a Connected Culture with High Employee Engagement Important to an Organization’s Success? And How Do You Do This?

Employee engagement is integral to any successful business, plain and simple. It’s clear that a highly engaged workforce can mean the difference between just getting by and leading in your industry. Studies show that employees’ workplace experiences have a significant impact on business success—better financial results, better customer scores, and fewer complaints. By building a connected culture, employees are together with a shared mission and values, and that, in turn, creates a sense of purpose and increased engagement.

At Ally, two key areas of focus to drive a more connected company are giving back and creating a sense of belonging. In the first case, we created a strong CSR program that empowers employees to give back to their communities throughout the year. We also embarked on a serious commitment to diversity and inclusion.

Employees bring their whole selves to work. Their home life and work life are not separate—they are connected. We acknowledge that and recognize every individual has a different story, and it’s those differences that make us strong. We strive for a work environment where different backgrounds, experiences, interests, and skills are respected, appreciated, and encouraged. Our eight Employee Resource Groups (ERGs) celebrate and embrace our differences while also providing a place of belonging, acceptance, and support. The ERGs’ activities are driven by four purpose pillars: Community Outreach, Development, Talent, and Business Connectivity. The eight employee resource groups are:

  • Asian/Middle Eastern ALLYs
  • Black/African-American ALLYs
  • Diverse Abilities ALLYs
  • Generational ALLYs
  • Hispanic ALLYs
  • Pride ALLYs
  • Veteran ALLYs
  • Women ALLYs

The ERGs are open to everyone, including allies. This focus on belonging is essential to our culture—by leveraging unique perspectives and ideas, we can better approach challenges, discover opportunities, and drive innovation. Employees are more productive, they’re more creative and innovative, and they’re more engaged when they feel their work has meaning.

In tomorrow’s Advisor we’ll explore more of Kathie’s ideas on creating a connected culture, including the role of Corporate Social Responsibility.

Kathie will be speaking at HR Comply, formerly known as AEIS. She will be hosting the session titled Building a Workplace of the Future and a Connected Culture to Further Employee Engagement.

Kathie Patterson is the CHRO at Ally Financial. She is responsible for overseeing the company’s human capital, talent management, compensation, benefits, well-being, internal communications and cultural efforts – ensuring they support the organization’s overall strategic objectives and drive Ally’s efforts to be a leading employer of choice.