How to Create a Corporate Culture That Attracts (and Keeps) Top Talent

By Robert Half December 18, 2019 at 8:15am

Many companies take the position that their corporate culture is what it is — and expect workers to adapt to it. Unfortunately, that approach doesn’t engage employees, help them be productive or make them feel like they never want to leave. Instead, taking steps to build and continually evolve your organizational culture can help your business become a talent magnet.

Corporate culture drives job satisfaction — and vice versa. While many companies are expanding their payrolls, they may still be unable to hire the skilled workers they need in today’s tight hiring environment. And this is on top of another problem: talented employees leaving to pursue new opportunities.

Employers can address both issues by assessing their corporate culture and determining whether it promotes job satisfaction. It’s not enough for employers to offer competitive compensation and compelling benefits and perks. These factors alone won’t make employees feel truly satisfied in their jobs — or compel them to stay with an employer for the long term. According to Robert Half’s workplace happiness research, professionals derive job satisfaction from less tangible things, including:

  • Having pride in their organization
  • Feeling appreciated
  • Being treated with fairness and respect
  • Having a sense of accomplishment
  • Engaging in interesting and meaningful work
  • Building positive workplace relationships

Though you can’t control every factor that contributes to your employees’ satisfaction at work, it is possible to create a workplace that allows positivity and productivity to flourish. Here are five tips for building that type of corporate environment:

1. Stay current

According to a new Robert Half survey, 91% of senior managers polled said the workplace has become more relaxed in last 10 years.

Is your company keeping up with the times?

Whether it’s offering a more relaxed dress code or dropping restrictions related to visible tattoos and piercings, it all ties into what’s not only acceptable but what will make your company a place where people want to work and feel they can personally express themselves.

Change should be ongoing and evolving — not something that’s forced or rushed. Management needs to match what workers (and customers) want on a continual basis. That takes re-evaluation and communicating how the company is relatable to job seekers.

Hiring managers should communicate during the interview process how they take into consideration the needs of employees, such as through employee engagement surveys. Supervisors should also keep their teams current on changing policies to show how the organization is keeping pace with staff members’ wants and needs. Businesses must modernize to stay marketable, bring in new talent, retain top performers, recognize diversity of thought, and celebrate successes and accomplishments.

2. Offer new challenges

If you learn everything there is to know about a job but aspire to keep growing as a professional, why would you stay in your current work situation? You wouldn’t.

That’s a hard lesson many employers have learned. Millennial and Gen Z workers, in particular, value continuous learning and are constantly looking to build new skills and tackle new challenges. Don’t let talented people stagnate at your firm if you want them to stay. Build a corporate culture that emphasizes ongoing professional development.

3. Discuss career paths

Another tough lesson is discovering valued employees left the firm simply because they didn’t see an opportunity to advance in their career. Keep in mind that “up” might actually mean “different” — and not a supervisory role. For example, an employee might want more responsibility, like handling bigger projects or accounts, or to work in a different department.

Take time to understand what each team member aspires to be or do in your organization, then help your employees set those plans in motion. Connecting staff with leadership training, cross-training and continuing education are some ways to foster a work culture where people can reach their professional goals.

4. Help colleagues establish bonds

Managers can play an important role in helping their employees build camaraderie and promoting a welcoming corporate culture. From team-building exercises to staff outings to mentoring arrangements, there are many ways to help your staff feel more connected to each other as well as to the firm. Encouraging employees to share success stories of how they worked together to solve problems for the business — and giving them open praise for their achievements — also helps your workers feel empowered and part of a winning team. And it can also serve as a recruiting asset to continue to attract top talent when employees feel socially supported by their peers and leaders.

5. Provide meaningful work

Talented people want to be in jobs that make the best use of their abilities and give them a sense of accomplishment. Your employees need to understand how their work impacts the firm’s bottom line.

If possible, help them also see the connection between what they do and the company’s core mission and broader business goals. Staff meetings, performance reviews and regular check-ins provide opportunities for managers to explain to employees how their contributions benefit the business.

It’s easy for employers to view corporate culture as a nebulous thing that is less important to an employee’s job satisfaction than salary, benefits and perks. But the takeaway here is the strong correlation between a company’s environment and its ability to attract and retain talent. And while corporate culture can be challenging for a business to define and shape, doing little or nothing to make your company a place where people want to work all but assures your failure to secure the talent you need.

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