The Huge Importance of Corporate Culture
When candidates apply for an open job with your company, they usually review a job description first that shows an overview of what you are looking for in the perfect employee. The list of job responsibilities is normally accompanied by bullet points listing the hard and soft skills they want, along with how many years of experience the person needs, education, etc. A candidate gets a pretty good understanding of what the job is from the JD. But equally as important, and some might argue even more so, is what the company’s corporate culture is like.
The easiest way to describe a company’s corporate culture is that it really describes the company’s values, beliefs, practices and personality. For instance, is it tense and always stress filled? Are supervisors always yelling at their subordinates? Or is it more congenial and friendly, fun and easy going? Hiring Managers are fooling themselves if they think this doesn’t matter, because it very much does! According to a 2019 Glassdoor study, 77% of surveyed job seekers would consider a company’s corporate culture before applying for a position. When I interview candidates for positions with my clients, it is almost always one of the first questions that people ask about. And if a client has a bad reputation for having a toxic culture, candidates most definitely know about it! My job is much more challenging when working with a company that has a bad reputation for how they treat their employees. People talk, people research, and people definitely know. A bad corporate culture ends up resulting in much higher turnover, as employees don’t want to stay at a company that doesn’t treat them positively. And high turnover is extremely time consuming and expensive for companies, so wouldn’t it just be better to make things right around the office so people will want to stay for a long time?
One of my best clients is a company that currently has one of the hottest brands in the market. When I get positions to fill for them, my candidates are lining up to apply and hungry for the opportunity to join them. This is partially because they want to be a part of the huge growth of this brand, and to acquire the experience that being associated with it can bring to their careers both now an in the future. But there is a much larger reason that people want to work there. It is because their corporate culture is outstanding. They are great people, treat their employees with respect, invest in them, provide clear expectations for top performers to achieve, and compensate them handsomely when they reach those objectives. They provide them with a realistic timeline for being promoted, an excellent benefits package, unlimited PTO, and many more perks and programs that they can take part in. Put quite simply, they invest in their employees. In turn, their employees feel invested in and important. They actually enjoy coming to work, work harder, and stay at the company much longer than they would at a company with a poor or toxic culture. Let’s take a look at some of the statistics surrounding corporate culture, and ways that your company can improve theirs;
A Columbia University study shows that the likelihood of job turnover at an organization with a strong company culture is a mere 13.9 percent, whereas the probability of job turnover in low company cultures is a whopping 48.4 percent. A recent Harvard Business Review post states that “Loyal, passionate employees bring a company as much benefit as loyal, passionate customers. They stay longer, work harder, work more creatively, and find ways to go the extra mile. They bring you more great employees. And that spreads even more happiness. Happiness for employees, for customers, and for shareholders.”
Let’s take a look at some of the ways your company can improve its corporate culture and increase employee retention in the process. I have borrowed some of the below from a March, ’21 article in Forbes;
· Share your company’s mission and values-If employees feel part of something larger, they will be more engaged and productive. Remind everyone what your company stands for, what your company is trying to accomplish and why your company is focused on its upcoming initiatives.
· Set clear objectives- Many of my career coaching clients have shared how difficult it is to have no idea what they are working to accomplish in their jobs. Sure, they know what to do on a daily basis, but if their long-term objectives are unclear, employees can get frustrated and feel lost.
· Give respect to get respect- I have seen so many senior level leaders disrespect their employees, and then expect to be respected in return. This is so backwards, in my opinion. I strongly believe that you get back what you put out there. If you automatically respect your subordinates from day one, they will automatically respect you back in return. Respect is earned, and you need to earn it from your team. Giving respect is the very best way to get it back. Try it and you will see.
· Be flexible with your employees- Every employee has their own unique set of circumstances, personal schedules and needs. Some employees are morning people, some employees are night people, some employees want extra attention, other employees want less. Although everyone needs to be on the same page with most meetings, communication and deadlines, work on being more flexible with your employees’ schedules. Your company will most likely increase in both quality and productivity if you work more with your employees.
· Encourage each of your employees to be their authentic selves-Everyone has their own unique personality, hobbies, sense of style and passion. No one wants to be a robot or a number. Obviously, there should be some guardrails, but the more you allow your employees to freely express themselves, the happier and more productive they will be.
· Have more cross-functional events- So many companies have siloed departments and are unaware of the other departments’ initiatives. Implementing cross-functional meetings helps foster stronger work relationships, inspire innovative ideas and can help companies solve problems more efficiently.
· Increase your recognition- Harvard Business Review shares that recognition is the most important driving factor for employee engagement. Monetary awards are always appreciated however, recognition programs don’t have to be expensive. Leaders and companies can shout out to employees on their social media. Employees want to feel valued and appreciated. A simple recognition of a birthday, work anniversary or job well done can be meaningful and memorable.
· Encourage time to play- According to Eagle Hill Consulting, 58% of U.S. employees surveyed are burned out. Children are not the only ones who need recess and a time to play. Companies and teams need to schedule playtime to reduce burnout. Consider a team paint night event, a virtual mixology class or a trivia event to reduce stress, increase creativity and create stronger relationships.
· Invest in your people, and they will invest in you and your company- It’s really quite simple. Take the time to treat your people with respect, invest the time in them to let them know they are important, set clear objectives, create a positive environment, and for gosh sake BE NICE! They will do better, you will do better, the company will do better, turnover will drop, and the bottom line will grow.
Ron Milman is the Principal of Milman Search Group, a leading National Recruiting/Staffing/Coaching agency efficiently filling positions for companies across a wide variety of industries and specialties, and coaching career seekers. Check them out at www.milmansearch.com or contact Ron directly at email@example.com.