Use Company Culture to Hire Top Talent and Engage Your Team

Apr 1, 2015

Screen Shot 2015-03-25 at 9.52.43 AMHiring for cultural fit is one of the main mantras within recruitment nowadays. Recruiters are encouraged to look beyond skills and past the job description to find candidates who “fit” with the organization and its values.

By contrast, we don’t talk nearly enough about how to create a company culture that can attract the best talent. In fact, the results of a recent survey suggested that just over half of companies don’t have a defined culture! This is crazy at a time when top candidates are increasingly concerned with “culture,” and often use it as a differentiator when deciding where to apply.

Inevitably when people bring up company culture, the conversation drifts to perks. How do we top a competitor that offers free dinner for employees working late? We have to provide free lunch! This is never the best way to approach the culture question. There will always be companies that can offer better “things.”

Instead, company’s need to think about creating a working environment that attracts top candidates and can get their team excited to come to work every morning.

Weave Company Culture Into Your Hiring Process

Remember how far reaching the idea of “culture” really is. It doesn’t start when someone walks in the door. It extends to the entire hiring process.

The only experience candidates have of your company comes directly at the hands of your recruiting department. They can browse your website and read your blog, but the way they’re treated is likely to impact their opinion of your company far more – as many as 64.3 percent of applicants reported that they would share a negative experience with their inner circle.

Projecting your company culture throughout the hiring process and providing a top candidate experience has an enormous effect on your employer brand and the number of people who apply. Want to see this in numbers? Google, widely acknowledged to have one of the best working cultures in the world, has upwards of 2 million high quality applicants every year.

Research suggests that creating a positive hiring experience can even affect the way new hires approach their work. 15 percent of candidates who feel fairly treated throughout the process actually put more effort in after being hired.

Make Sure You Have a Purpose

It’s always easier to get people onboard with a few late nights when they’re engaged in their work. Similarly, if your company has a purpose, your employees tend to be more invested.

Think about how you can differentiate your company. What values make you unique? Why should people work for you and not a competitor?

Salesforce provide a great example of a company that has always had a very strong sense of purpose. Founder Marc Benioff has always been keen to use Salesforce people, technology, and resources for charitable means.

He refers to his 1-1-1 model as integrated philanthropy and has built it into the company’s business model. Both staff and applicants know that Salesforce is a company that cares about doing good as well as making money, and this has a huge effect on who it attracts and hires. It also seems to work; it has been named one of Fortune’s Best Companies to Work for six years running.

Your company doesn’t need to be charitable, but uniting your organisation around a single purpose like this can help you create an awesome company culture

Focus on Communication

Whatever your company values, communicate them effectively to your team and make sure that everyone is on the same page. Recent research suggests that 70 percent of businesses see ineffective communication as their main problem — make sure you’re not one of them.

If you want to be know for a collaborative culture for example, make sure collaboration is a central part of everyone’s workflow. To accomplish this, you could hold regular brainstorming sessions so everyone feels like their ideas are heard and try an open plan office to boost employee interaction.

If your team understand your culture and why it’s important, it will be far easier to ensure that they spread it both internally and externally. It’s the best way to make sure your culture stays on point as your company grows.

Build a “Safe” and Supportive Environment

Making employees feel valued through a safe and supportive environment is also key to creating a great company culture and keeping everyone happy.

When you’re trying to create this kind of culture:

Stay approachable. It needs to be easy for employees to speak to you if they have concerns or are unhappy.

Stay flexible. As long as it doesn’t impact on business success, try and be flexible with your staff. Don’t stand in the way of people who want to work remotely — they’ll be grateful and may be more efficient.

Do things as a teamEven having lunch together every day can help to foster bonds between your employees. If you can create a tight-knot workforce you’re likely to see enhanced productivity and happiness.

A great company culture can make a serious difference to hiring and business success. It does require investment, and some companies are all going all in here — a few have even gone as far as appointing people to run culture.

It might not be something that you prioritize as a business, but the benefits are clear. Staff that buy into your culture will often go above and beyond the line of duty, and a great working environment will also help you attract top talent.

Some of the Related Conference Sessions at the ERE Recruiting Conference in San Diego:

  • Tell Powerful Stories To Answer, “Why Should I Join Your Team?”, April 28, 8:30 a.m.
  • Build a Battle Plan That Will Win the War For Talent, April 29, 9:30 a.m.
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