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what does authenticity mean in business

What Does Authenticity Mean in Business?

A recent study in Personnel Review asked 937 respondents which attributes they found most attractive in employers, to measure where workplace authenticity ranked up against various other factors. The results showed that authenticity is more attractive than interest value, social value, and application value. Not only that, but it ranked equal to both economic and personal development.

There have been plenty of studies to show the positive psychological impact of authenticity as a business. Yet, what does it all mean? What are the benefits of creating an authentic culture for your employees? And finally, how do you master being authentic?

What does authenticity really mean in business?

‘Authenticity’ has grown as a buzzword in business over the last few years, particularly when it comes to branding and marketing. But, it’s important not to write ‘being authentic’ off as something reserved for life coaches and branding experts. As we know, studies have shown that employees find authenticity in an employer as attractive as economic development opportunities. Employees appreciate an authentic employer as much as they do a pay rise.

So, what does it mean to be authentic as an employer? We’ll discuss in detail the various ways you can become authentic a little further below. Still, the key thing to remember is that authenticity is staying true to who you are and what you do. Not just in the image that you show your customers, but also how you treat your employees.

The benefits of creating an authentic culture

There are countless benefits of becoming a more authentic employer. Particularly when it comes to keeping employees engaged. It’s estimated that 51% of the American workforce is not engaged. These employees are indifferent about their job and the company they work for. Yet, engaged employees are 21% more profitable on average. One key benefit of creating an authentic culture is improving engagement levels and profit. 

Employees who feel valued and engaged are far less likely to look for another job. This, in turn, reduces staff turnover rates. With an estimated cost of 33% of their annual salary to replace one employee, the financial benefits of higher retention rates are clear. 

How to master authenticity in your business

Reducing staff turnover and increasing profitability is a vital goal for many business owners. So, it’s clear the impact that authentic engagement can have. Below are some of the various ways you can become more authentic as an employer. 

Being honest and open

This is one of the fundamentals of creating an authentic culture. So, it should be one of the first goals to work toward as an organization. In large companies, it can be challenging to open up the levels of corporate communication prevalent in smaller businesses and startups. It would be almost impossible to sit hundreds of team members down to discuss the week’s goals. However, there are a variety of tools that will enable you to connect with your workforce more authentically. 

Weekly communications can improve employee engagement by updating the team on goals and objectives. Newsletters, chat platforms, and dedicated websites are all ways to provide better connections between everyone in the company. Being open and honest about where the business is at, where it’s going, and what’s happening in various departments will make employees feel valued and motivated.

Being naturally authentic

Authenticity is very obvious when it’s contrived, which is why it is so crucial that companies are naturally authentic with their employees. A fundamental way to achieve this is by asking current employees what they would like to see from a more authentic employer. Their ideas and solutions can then be slowly integrated into the business until you have an authentic culture that is natural.

As new employees join, ensure you communicate your authenticity during their onboarding and training process. Whether it’s a short video on your openness and honesty or a more in-depth eLearning module on your morals, virtues, and integrity, ensure you communicate your authentic message from the beginning.

Actions speak louder than words

One issue you have to be wary of when trying to build an authentic culture is consistency. It’s easy to ask employees what they want to see and ask for their ideas. It’s also easy to put together a handbook on your authenticity and hope that does the work for you. However, actions do speak a lot louder than words in this instance.

Employees are going to want to see that you’re acting authentically at all times. This means proving your integrity and transparency, even when that may be difficult to do. They’ll want to see proof that you’re the caring company you said you were in training videos and that it wasn’t “all talk.” 

This may mean providing extra training for management to ensure that the authenticity message is being trickled down to everyone in the organization. It may also mean monitoring and surveying employees to see whether your corporate communication methods are working.

Authenticity as an employer is an attractive trait to have, that will not only keep employees but attract new ones too. 

At Projections, we believe authentic business are the future, and ultimately, and the key to becoming an employer of choice. With our 40 years of expertise, we can help you create authentic engagement and communication between your workforce. If you need a custom solution for your organization, let us help you build an involved and creative workplace.

About the Author Jennifer Orechwa

In over 25 years of helping companies connect with their employees, Jennifer has gained a unique perspective on what it takes to build a culture of engagement. By blending a deep understanding of labor and employee relations with powerful digital marketing knowledge, Jennifer has helped thousands of companies achieve behavioral change at a cultural level.

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