Recently, I’ve written a couple posts reflecting on content from the HR Indiana SHRM conference. This post builds upon that content by focusing on the importance of organizational culture as it relates to job candidate motivations. Also note that company culture also factors in to an employee’s motivation to stay at their current place of employment, so the lessons can be applied in both situations.
Let’s discuss some statistics and strategies that an organization can analyze in its quest to hire and retain talent.
According to statistics published by G2:
- 70% of professionals in the U.S. would not work at a leading company if it meant they had to tolerate bad workplace culture,
- 77% of job seekers consider a company’s culture before applying for a job, and
- 92% of people would consider changing jobs if offered a role with a company with an excellent corporate reputation.
These percentages loudly shout a distinct message – culture matters when recruiting new talent and trying to keep existing talent.
What is company culture?
According to the Society for Human Resources Management (SHRM), culture consists of shared beliefs and values established by leaders, and then communicated and reinforced through various methods that ultimately shape employee perceptions, behaviors, and understanding. This is a good definition, but it’s helpful to break it down further to reveal its impact on an organization.
Shared beliefs and values constitute the foundations of company relationships. Leaders communicate and embody an organization’s shared beliefs and values, which are then reinforced through employee behaviors as they strive towards fulfilling mutual goals and personifying the organization’s mission.
Organizational Culture: What it is & What Makes it Sustainable, HR Indiana 2022
Work Relationships and Company Culture
Relationships with teammates and managers are important to employees. Even though the pandemic shifted many work environments into more remote settings, individuals seek to have a “work family” regardless of the physical work location. Just because coworkers are not sitting next to each other onsite does not mean that connections to others are unimportant.
Employees can strategize and learn from each other in formal and informal discussions. Inclusive and diverse teams build high-performance teams. An organization needs to provide ways to allow professional relationships to flourish through on and offsite activities, this will greatly improve company culture.
Now, more than ever, people are seeking teammates and supervisors who understand the stressors resulting from the blending of personal and professional challenges. Empathy and support between employees help foster trust, leading to enhanced mental health and productive work relationships.
Employee growth is essential for a positive company culture. Companies that promote personal and professional development and provide opportunities for employees to learn and grow on the job are more likely to recruit and retain employees as compared to organizations that do not. Provide ample opportunities for additional hard and soft skill training during the work day.
Lunch and Learns and group training sessions for certifications offer a way for teammates to learn and socialize simultaneously. Online courses through sites like LinkedIn Learning (formerly Lynda), Udemy or Coursera offer convenient, relevant content. If employee training needs to be facilitated by a university, consider tuition reimbursement plans so employees can take classes, or partner with the university to bring learning onsite.
Learning new skills and applying those skills to daily tasks not only reduces employee boredom but leverages the organization into a more competitive stance amongst competitors. Research by Forbes states that 76% of employees are more likely to stay with a company that offers continuous training. If there are concerns about the expense of creating or expanding a Learning and Development (L&D) budget, what about the expense of having open positions due to attrition and being unable to quickly fill them with skilled talent?
Once talent is hired, there is a gap of heightened productivity and ultimately financial loss while new employees seek to apply their knowledge and skills to the role and become acclimated to their new culture. Investing in learning opportunities for employees is a financial investment that will yield favorable returns.
Another cultural expectation of employees is understanding what management expects as quantifiable results demonstrating successful task completion. Delivering results in one’s job duties can be a bit opaque, as people have differing definitions of results. Management needs to provide clear parameters of what is expected of the employee and their performance of assigned job duties.
Having clear-cut duties and expectations will aid in improving company culture by limiting confusion. Job seekers benefit from job descriptions that itemize tasks and outline distinct expectations, as opposed to a generalized, vague job posting.
How does it feel to have a task, but not know what the expected results should be? Frustrating, agitating, unnerving…these are a few emotions that arise when a job seeker or employee is unsure of what successful performance looks like. Even though the world we live in often falls into the gray, management needs to articulate specific expectations of what outcomes yield successful accomplishments. When employees understand the results expected, it fosters a clearer way to complete tasks and learn from the process as well as improve organizational culture.
Flexibility is a key part of culture, especially since 2020. Organizations need to reiterate that they value employees acknowledge their lives exist outside the workplace. When an employer offers flexibility with its employees, it is a motivator. Flexibility can include working locations, times and/or days. Can the employee finish the work in a four-day work week? If so, consider that flexibility. Can the employee come in earlier and leave earlier or the opposite? If so, consider that flexibility.
Having an open and honest dialogue where the employee and supervisor can discuss needs and expectations will help identify a flexible plan that supports not just the employee but the company as a whole. Individuals seek to effectively balance their personal and professional lives, and flexibility helps achieve that balance.
Becoming a Workplace of Choice
Employees seek to stay in or leave a work environment based on the motivators discussed above. And considering that the average person will spend over 90,000 hours working in their lifetime, spending that time completing tasks that are enjoyable in a generally positive workplace matters.
Help your organization become the workplace of choice, where job seekers want to apply and where employees want to stay. Establish and promote your positive and inclusive organizational culture. This will clearly illustrate to job seekers and current employees that your organization is the workplace to be.
Productivity will rise; attrition will be low; and the positive impact on the local and large-scale communities will be ongoing.