The average American spends one-third of his or her life at work. The environment in which these workers spend their time will largely dictate the quality of their professional life—a fact becoming increasingly important to job candidates.
According to a recent survey, 46% of candidates believe culture is very important in the application process, and 88% of jobseekers believe it has at least relative importance. So, when a job candidate asks you to describe your company’s culture, what’s your answer?
When companies are asked to describe their company culture, many reference brand-new Ping-Pong tables or their numerous happy hours each quarter. However, your company’s culture shouldn’t rely on your fully stocked kitchen and other workplace perks.
While workplace perks reinforce workplace culture and help attract and retain employees, a company’s culture should go deeper. Company culture involves a set of shared values and goals that characterize an organization. It’s the way people feel about the work they do, the values they believe in, where they see the company going, and how they help the company get there. A company’s culture should take center stage, and workplace perks should act in a supporting role.
While there are many benefits of cultivating good company culture, one advantage is that it cannot be duplicated, unlike a product, service, or price point. A well-established company culture can help organizations remain competitive while attracting top talent. So, how can a company’s culture attract and retain talent while influencing the organization’s bottom line?
Employee Retention’s Influence on Company Culture
Hiring employees who don’t mesh well with the existing or desired company culture can lead to a potentially toxic environment. The result of employee turnover can devastate a company. According to a recent survey, voluntary employee turnover is responsible for businesses losing over $1 trillion every year. While workplace perks are “nice to haves,” they don’t positively affect employee retention in the long term. This is why having an established company culture is a “need to have.”
It’s no secret that Millennials have taken over the job market, as most research shows this generation will make up over half of the American workforce by the end of 2020. It is often said that Millennials value good company culture more than any other generation before them. In fact, on average, Millennials would be willing to give up $7,600 in salary every year to work at a job that provides a better environment.
However, that does not mean company culture isn’t important to other generations. Once a company’s culture is well defined, it can inspire current employees to work harder.
Supporting Positive Change in Your Organization
HR professionals have a lot on their plate: Not only are they tasked with hiring and recruiting, but they also have an important role in maintaining company culture and keeping employees engaged. Without a positive culture, employees will struggle to find real value in their work, which can lead to negative consequences that affect your company’s bottom line. For an HR team, it can get overwhelming, which makes collaboration and communication essential to a company’s success.
Many organizations focus on “building” a company culture, but culture is already in place. From the day an organization starts, company culture is established. What companies are doing now is evolving their culture, which requires introducing changes to the company.
For HR teams to effectively implement changes, they must foster collaboration by getting buy-in and participation from the leadership team. Leaders then have the responsibility of demonstrating company values and reinforcing behavior reflecting those values. Employees who see participation from the leadership team will feel more valued and engage more with the organization.
In addition to collaboration, communication is also important when looking to effect a positive change in the organization. This includes establishing a mission statement, a vision, and values. Having complete clarity around your vision, mission, and values supports decision-making that contributes to a healthy culture. Communication is key to creating an effective company culture and can help create a sense of community within the organization.
As today’s workforce has higher expectations and becomes more competitive, superficial workplace perks will no longer cut it. Companies need to have a defined company culture to create a positive environment for their employees. Additionally, communication and collaboration from the leadership team are essential. The choices organizations make today will affect their image; job candidate pool; and, ultimately, their chances of success.
|Andrea Meyer joined WorkSmart Systems in 2001 and has played a key role in the development of all services related to WorkSmart employee benefit plans. Whether leading the benefit team, answering questions from employees, or sorting through the latest benefit regulation, Meyer’s passion for employee benefits is evident. She is a graduate of St. Joseph’s College and is a Senior Professional in Human Resources (SPHR), as well as a Certified Benefit Professional (CBP).|