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Is company culture the new competitive advantage for attracting, retaining top talent?

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The world of work is very different from what it was a few short years ago. But if your company culture hasn’t updated with it accordingly, your competitors will beat you in the war for talent.

That’s according to Tiersa Hall, the CEO and founder of Impactful Imprints Training and Consulting.

In a presentation during the BambooHR Virtual Summit, she said workers want more personal satisfaction from the work they do, flexibility in where and when they work and a sense of belonging in the workplace. And they’re not afraid to explore different employer options to attain them.

The finding in Gallup’s 2023 “State of the Global Workplace” report that 51% of all employees worldwide are watching for, or actively seeking, a new job should scare you, she said.

The key, she said, is your company culture – the attitudes, beliefs and behaviors that make up the regular atmosphere in the work environment. In fact, PwC’s 2021 Global Culture Survey found that:

  • 69% of businesses who adapted culture-focused initiatives said their company culture gave them a competitive advantage
  • 66% of execs and board members believe company culture is more important to performance than the organization’s strategy or operating model, and
  • 72% of senior managers say that their company culture facilitates successful change management.

The 3 R’s of company culture

Although fine-tuning company culture seems like a daunting project, here are three specific aspects HR can take action on right now.

Reputation: Is your team connected to the company’s identity and beliefs? Do your vision and mission statements need revamping, revisiting or a reintroduction (for example, can remote workers get behind them)? It’s also time to honestly evaluate whether there’s a negative “unofficial work culture” in your company by using surveys and other feedback tools.

Recruitment: Hall recommended appointing company culture ambassadors “that closely match the values, the mission and the vision of the organization, that are very proud of where they work and happy to extend the legacy of the culture by connecting with employees and informing and reminding them about the key aspects of the culture.” They should be invited to actively participate in your recruitment process, including the interviews, giving tours to job candidates and helping newcomer employees get acclimated.

Retention: Research by SHRM found that a whopping 90% of workers who rate their company culture as poor have thought about quitting. A big reason people leave companies is leadership. Hall commented, “If your leadership is not sound, then in this new working world that we live in, that is highly dependent on emotional intelligence, you’re going to need to give great attention to your leaders.” Is it time to invest in training or coaching for the managers at different levels in your organization to hone their relationship-building soft skills like reliability, problem solving, time management and conflict resolution?

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