Last week we reviewed the importance of culture. Organizations with healthy cultures enjoy higher performance, better financials, and lower employee turnover. Human Capital Institute says it well, “. . . the ability of organizational culture to drive success and actively support business outcomes is unmatched."
But what is culture? According to Jason Young, speaker and author of Culturetopia, "Culture is made of interlocking pieces such as goals, processes, written and unwritten rules, communications, practices, attitudes, and values."
In other words, corporate culture is the way employees act and feel. I’ve also heard culture described simply as an organization’s personality.
There are two major trends pushing the interest in corporate culture. First, companies have tried everything else, particularly cutting budgets and people, to improve business results. To increase sales and profits, businesses have run out of levers to pull. The only handle remaining is changing the workplace culture. Changing how organizations do business, changing to positive, happy, fun personalities will help them attract the best talent and become an “employer of choice,” making one of those Top 100 company lists.
The second major trend pushing the interest in corporate culture is the incoming Millennial workforce. Millennials, people born between 1984 and 2000, are entering the workforce in huge numbers and won’t work for just any organization.
Millennials are looking for a corporate culture that allows them to grow professionally, do meaningful work, and make a difference not only within the organization itself but in society overall. As Traditionalists and Baby Boomers retire, organizations with unhealthy cultures will be left with workforce holes to fill but no younger workers willing to join the company.
So how does an organization build a culture that attracts younger workers and allows everyone in the firm to flourish both professionally and personally? We’ll dig into the building of healthy cultures in our next blog but let’s begin that culture-building exploration with a recruitment example.
Changing culture is more than just adding a foosball table to the break room (although there’s nothing wrong with a foosball or pool table or a few strategically placed beanbag chairs). It’s about looking how business is conducted.
A company’s “personality” starts the moment a potential candidate begins considering employment with an organization. Is the firm’s website easy to navigate? Is it visually appealing? Does it provide the information necessary to begin seriously considering working at this company?
An organization’s culture continues with the interview process. While most organizations try to offer exceptional websites, many companies lose site of culture during the interview process. A regional HR association recently surveyed their membership regarding their recruiting needs. The topics of most interest were sourcing, screening, and interview skills in that order. The area of least interest? Improving the candidate experience.
This is the first chance a potential employee has to judge an organization’s communication and values, its people and processes. And HR professionals are not interested in making the candidate experience enjoyable? In fact, enjoyable should be the low bar. To grab the best talent, the candidate experience should be exceptional!
So do you want to attract good talent and keep it? Make your corporate culture, including your recruitment process, a priority. Be proactive in building and maintaining a healthy culture.
Rita J. King, Co-Director of Science House, puts it this way, “Organizational culture is the heart and soul of a company.” If an organization’s “heart” is not healthy, it will not reach its performance potential or, more likely, suffer decline into obsolescence.
Darren K. Ford
I've enjoyed a great career. Worked in many different industries with great coworkers and customers. I talk to a lot of people while drinking a lot of coffee. I read constantly. From all of this, I have much to say.