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The War for Talent: Why You Can’t Fill Open Positions Part 1: Company Culture

In this eight-part series, we will take a close look at eight different factors that will affect your company’s ability to attract and retain top talent in the marketplace.

Company culture is a big deal in the hiring industry. If you are looking to fill open positions in your business with quality people, you can’t afford to ignore what employees think about your work environment. Research indicates that positive company culture can reduce turnover, increase productivity, and benefit your bottom line. But changing the culture of a business isn’t easy. Culture evolves over time and reflects a company’s values, relationships, and management style. All of these factors work together to influence employee satisfaction—and that’s what will make or break your hiring efforts.

What’s the Big Deal About Company Culture?

Salary and benefits still play a major role in attracting workers to your organization. But especially among younger professionals, compensation is just one of several factors that will influence the choice of employer. According to Great Place to Work, a desirable workplace incorporates three primary factors:

  • Trust between employees and employers
  • Pride in the work
  • Positive relationships among peers

Of course, it’s not enough to implement more training programs and send out company-wide memos. Employee satisfaction rests largely on how employees feel about their work. Meaningful work, positive relationships, and regular communication each play a role in creating an environment where people enjoy their jobs.

How to Evaluate Your Company Culture

The best way to evaluate your company culture is to ask current and past employees what they think. There are several ways you can do this effectively:

  • GlassDoor Reviews—Hire Velocity uses GlassDoor reviews to determine how easy or difficult it will be to recruit for any given position. These reviews give you an up-close and personal look at what past and current employees think about your company. Employees offer pros, cons, and suggestions for change.
  • Employee Surveys—Ask your employees what they think about attributes like communication, trust, respect, teamwork, and engagement. Making these surveys anonymous will encourage employees to be forthright in expressing their true opinions. Exit surveys can also be useful in identifying problem areas that may affect future retention efforts.
  • Culture Index—A culture index allows you to measure key culture dimensions such as employee knowledge of company values, employee perceptions about the company, and good or bad decisions made by employees in relation to the stated values. By keeping track of specific incidents and measuring them against a percentage goal, you can get a clear idea of whether your culture is trending toward more positive perceptions or more negative ones.

What If Your Company Culture Needs Work?

Certain cultural components tend to leave a bad taste in the mouths of current and prospective employees. If your evaluation identifies negative employee perceptions and behaviors, it’s time to take a look at these common problem areas:

  • Team Morale—Certain types of employees work best in certain types of environments. If your business is characterized by driven, fast-paced work expectations, you need to hire employees who thrive in that environment. Hiring people who can’t adjust to your company values and cultural climate will spell disaster for both employer and employee, and can also sabotage team morale.
  • Communication—Failure to communicate can cripple even the most conscientious employers. Keep employees informed about both positive and negative changes or circumstances within the company. It’s also important for employees to have open channels of communication with management. If managers aren’t available or don’t respond to employee concerns and ideas, morale will suffer.
  • Professional Development—Do your employees have opportunities to grow in their area of expertise? Are they recognized and rewarded for accomplishments? By encouraging these positive steps, you can boost employee morale while also placing high value on growth.
  • Work/Life Blend—Positive work/life blend has climbed higher on the list of things prospective employees look for in a job. In order to attract top talent, you may need to implement purposeful policies regarding flexible hours, work-from-home arrangements, and family leave opportunities.
  • Values—When stated values don’t line up with policies and processes, employees will chafe. Take the time to review current hiring policies, promotions, development opportunities, communication channels, and other aspects of the culture to make sure they support your mission statement.

Company culture encompasses much more than salary and benefits. A positive company culture must be nurtured throughout all aspects of the business. It’s not about adding new programs or offering better incentives. Instead, it’s about building an environment that promotes positive interactions at all levels. These adjustments aren’t easy to make, and it will take a long-term vision to achieve lasting cultural change. But when you invest in building a positive culture, your business will be in a better position to attract loyal, talented employees who will take pride in their work and who have a vested interest in helping you reach your goals.New call-to-action