Culture is the Key to a Strong Workforce, Says HR Expert

In today's fast-paced business world, creating an empowered, passionate workforce is crucial to success–and the best way to do that, says Senior Vice President (SVP) and Chief Human Resources Officer (CHRO) of NiSource Melanie Berman, is to focus on culture.

A workforce that is engaged, productive, and motivated can drive a company's success, Berman tells Forbes Magazine. However, disengaged employees can lead to negative outcomes such as decreased productivity, increased absenteeism, and high turnover rates. To create an employee base that has limitless energy and constantly produces value, Berman says businesses need to focus on three critical areas within company culture: training and development, recognition and rewards, and employee well-being.

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Culture is the foundation of any successful company. To keep employees happy and productive, a positive and supportive culture that fosters well-being is essential. This can be achieved, Berman says, by leveraging human resources programs to create a shared vision and values that employees can rally around. Culture ambassadors can also promote a work environment that encourages collaboration, communication, and feedback through openness and transparency in everyday exchanges.

The first aspect of culture, training, and development, is critical in building what Berman calls a "high-value and high-energy workforce." Providing employees with opportunities to learn new skills, acquire new knowledge, and develop their talents can help keep them engaged and motivated. Investing in training and development programs can also help to normalize continuous learning and improvement.

Recognizing and rewarding employees for their perseverance, dedication, and contributions can also help engage employees. Appreciation boosts morale, increases motivation, and emphasizes a sense of loyalty and commitment. To accomplish this, Berman says, companies can design recognition and rewards programs that are meaningful, personalized, and aligned with company values and goals.

Employee well-being is the final piece to the puzzle. Companies that prioritize employee well-being by promoting physical, mental, and emotional health can benefit from a more resilient workforce. This can be achieved by offering wellness programs, flexible work arrangements, specialized employee assistance programs, and by promoting work-life balance and stress management as core values.