The company culture is the overt statement about how a company cares for its greatest asset…its employees. The culture is rooted in the values of the organization, its higher purpose of being in business, and it tends to define the type of like-minded people who would best bring this purpose to life.
The business mission and goals are a statement of “how” the higher purpose is typically delivered. The culture is the “living environment” where employees work together to achieve that “north star” goal. The health of the culture is critical as employees are the face of the brand and deliver the higher brand promise with clients and the public.
While culture is getting a lot of attention these days, it’s not just a buzzword. Here are just three of the considerations when thinking about culture.
1. Attract the Right Employees
The culture defines the values of the organization and the experience customers expect to receive and feel. To deliver on customer expectations, the right employees must be hired.
It’s not enough for employees to just have the right mix of skills and experience. They also need to be a good fit for the company’s mission, goals, and values. Employees who are a poor cultural fit may not perform as well or stay with the company as long, even though they look great on paper.
Your culture is the template for finding the right like-minded and like-valued people. This is the starting point to ensure that feel comfortable and fulfilled in your environment. Employees who are similar to your culture will operate effectively and happily perform vs. those who do not fit will often self-select out or worse can actually cause harm to the environment. Understanding the deeper purpose of an organization and defining the characteristics of the living brand enables HR managers to effectively pre-vet candidates. You’ll still need to ask questions to evaluate cultural fit during interviews, and, in general, with defined culture clarity, better candidates will apply.
For example, some companies emphasize teamwork and have open-plan offices. People who prefer to work independently in quiet spaces probably won’t apply. People who like working in groups, on the other hand, will be attracted to your culture. Other companies have a culture of working evenings and weekends to get tasks done. People who are excited by the prospect will be drawn to that environment, while people who want more balance will look elsewhere.
2. Boost Employee Engagement
Low engagement is a big problem for Canadian employers. Only 27 percent of Canadian employees are highly engaged, according to a study by the Conference Board of Canada. Since engaged employees are invested in their jobs and want to perform well, this statistic is alarming. Company culture plays a role in employees’ engagement levels.
Does the organization understand its higher purpose? Do employees understand what the organizational North Star might be that their individual role ultimately delivers against? Do they know what they are working hard to achieve beyond top and bottom line?
Employees spend a lot of time at work. They spend eight hours (or more) at work every week day. After they get home, they may continue answering emails and performing other work tasks. The culture is a living definition of that higher purpose. Employees are immersed in that brand and, if their values do not align, they will not perform at their best and at times may feel uncomfortable.
In contrast, employees who understand “why” will better understand and feel good about the company’s culture and be more engaged at work. That’s because they know the company aligns with their own personal values and goals, and they feel immersed in a culture they enjoy. This is why it’s essential to hire for cultural fit.
3. Reduce Turnover
Turnover is costly. This is why it’s so important to hire, identify star employees, and work to retain them. Your company culture is by definition the living brand and overt promise of how an organization cares for its employees. It directly links to people feeling valued and helping retain star employees.
By hiring employees who are a good fit for your culture, you can avoid costly hiring errors.
Your company’s culture is extremely important. It’s what helps you attract the right employees to your company, boost employee engagement, and reduce turnover. To enjoy these benefits, you must ensure the organization is transparent about its higher purpose or cause, ensure it aligns to its living brand (the culture), and understand the characteristics and attributes that would excel within that “living brand” to deliver the North Star or ultimate customer experience. Communication is always key. Ensure the organization is transparent and people are aware of the journey and mission they are seeking to embark on with your organization.