Most business leaders would agree they do, but all too often we let day-to-day management challenges and distractions like staffing issues, fundraising and board reports get in the way!
When looking for a new opportunity, often the most talented people aren’t simply searching for the right position, they’re looking for the right company. According to Inc.com, 87 percent of businesses say building a strong company culture to attract and retain the best people is one of their top challenges, yet as little as 13 percent of people actually feel engaged at work or tied to corporate values and culture. The result? Employees who don’t want to come to work, who are disengaged, unproductive, and could look to leave.
Taking control of your company’s culture is therefore of paramount importance. With 30% of the workforce made up of millennials*, a strong culture is crucial because they want to work for a company that shares their values. Global entrepreneur and strategist Sujan Patel, who has led the marketing strategy for the likes of Salesforce and LinkedIn, suggests four key reasons why building culture is essential to the success of any organisation:
1. Culture builds brand identity
“Culture is what makes your brand unique. It puts your company’s soul on display and tells the world who you are as a brand. When you define culture, you’re defining your company’s values. These will show your employees and the public what is most important to the brand.” In turn, your employees will use these personality traits as their guiding principles to help them through tough work times.
2. Culture increases loyalty among employees
“Culture gives employees a goal and a purpose. It connects your leadership team with your employees and binds them with a set of shared beliefs. Your employees then feel they are contributing to something larger than themselves.” Enthusiasm leads to increased productivity and more positive customer/employee interactions.
3. Culture attracts and retains talent
“An employee’s skills may get them in the door, but your culture is what will keep them there. Today, just 37% of employees are engaged at work**. Employees who are not engaged do not do their best work and are at risk of leaving. By ensuring each individual you hire fits well with the company culture, you make it more likely they will stay and contribute more to the success of the organisation.”
4. Culture makes advocates out of employees
“Start by leveraging those engaged employees already working for you. LinkedIn finds companies can expand their talent pool by 10 times by recruiting through their employees’ networks. Encourage and motivate employees to speak positively on your brand’s behalf.” Bestselling author of ‘Start With Why’ and TED sensation, Simon Sinek, puts the ‘Why’ at the centre of any business. It’s not about WHAT you do, it’s about WHY you do it – and that’s why your team will come in to work every day inspired and engaged by a clear purpose and culture.
When considering a potential hire, expose them to your current employees through collaborative hiring. Let them meet and see how they engage. If the candidate becomes a new member of your team, they’ve already started to build necessary relationships with colleagues. Building camaraderie within your workforce is easier than you think. Altering “the person at the desk next to me” to “my friend at work” can happen through creating spaces to mingle and activities to share. LinkedIn offers free yoga, Apple offers employees a shuttle service – what could you offer? Finally, give your employees the freedom to innovate. You are passionate about your business, but to get your employees passionate too, they’ll need some ownership. Give them the chance to own their role, enhance the company culture and they’ll be a walking, talking billboard for your business.
This article was originally featured in The Informer. To read the full magazine, please click here.