Culture starts at the top of the organization. If the CEO and executive suite appreciates, acknowledges and utilizes the skills and talents of each employee, employees will have an attitude that helps them stay engaged and feel that their success directly impacts the whole organization.
I had a client who was concerned about the low morale in his organization. He said that people didn’t want to work but just wanted a paycheck. When I surveyed and interviewed one of the targeted departments and observed the president, I found that it was a lot more complicated. He didn’t acknowledge employees when he saw them. He was quick to criticize, but slow to compliment. Employees felt like they were interchangeable and dispensable. They wanted a “hello” in the morning and not to have the CEO just walk by and not even look at them. Their business cards still didn’t have their new e-mail addresses. They had attitude, and many of them had retired in place. These were people who came into the organization with skills and experience and then felt like they had become cogs and no longer looked forward to work.
Of course I’ve seen the opposite, where leadership very clearly values employees and they look forward to coming to work and doing their best work.