Why has it gotten so hard to attract top candidates and retain employees lately?
Truthfully, the world of work we knew a few years ago no longer exists. The pandemic caused a lot of disruption in the workplace. Whether employers or hiring managers like it or not, job candidates now have the upper hand when it comes to driving the movement of today’s labor market.
According to analysts, there are two available jobs for every job candidate. However, what makes attracting top talent even more challenging is the fact that the priorities of employees have also changed.¹
Perhaps, you may have encountered a great applicant who turned down an offer because they did not want to report onsite five days a week. Or if you are a job candidate, you may have turned down an offer from a top company because the organization does not seem to value mental health and work-life balance. You may have also gotten disappointed over a certain employer who does not take diversity in the workplace seriously.
But essentially, given all these considerations, what do you think is that one thing that seems to be the turning point that either bridges or completely divides the gap between employers, employees, and job candidates?
The key ingredient is called company culture.
How Company Culture Affects Talent Acquisition and Employee Retention
Let’s face it. Not all companies have the resources to compete with others in terms of salary and compensation. This is why every organization must create a positive, safe, and engaging environment and workplace culture. For many job candidates and seasoned employees, great company culture is equal to or even better than a fat paycheck.
When Glassdoor studied over 5,000 workers in the United States, the United Kingdom, France, and Germany, an astounding 77 percent of the respondents view an organization’s company culture as a major factor that will influence them to stay or leave. Furthermore, 73 percent of employees would not even consider applying to a company if their work culture does not align with their own values.²
This great majority only shows how crucial an organization’s company culture is in attracting and retaining top talent. Improving your organization’s company culture is also creating a positive workplace to encourage engagement, retain employees, and attract new ones.
Safeguarding Your Company and Ensuring Top Talent
Of course, companies still have to evaluate their employees. Employer and employee must have a two-way relationship. Apart from maintaining a culture that nurtures its employees, the employees themselves also have to prove that they deserve to be within that company. This is when employers should screen their new hires thoroughly.
One thing that you can do is apply a contract-to-hire setup for new employees. It doesn’t only address whether the new hires will perform well in their new jobs but whether they are a good fit in the company. After all, their values and perspectives have to align with the company as well.
Once this is done and you’ve determined the next step for your employees, it is now your job to make sure your company can bring the best out of them. This is when you focus on creating a well-balanced culture of positivity and creativity.
Prioritizing a Positive Workplace Culture
Looking at the ever-changing world of work today, what should you prioritize to create and maintain a positive company culture? Where must you invest to come up with a positive culture and thus a positive workplace?
1. Building Trust with Employees
If you want to retain your employees and not lose them to competitors, you must cultivate trust between your company and your employees.
First, employees must feel that they are being taken care of and that the company is truly looking out for their welfare. You won’t simply achieve this by increasing their salaries, although that is also a good way to go. However, aside from that, there are many other ways to make your employees trust you.
Invest holistically in their well-being. While it is completely worthwhile to invest in enhancing your employees’ knowledge and technical skills, it is even better to consider investing in other aspects of their lives.
Start programs that cater to their well-being, such as mental health breaks or health talks. Talk to them and reassure them during times of stagnant growth or economic recession. Most importantly, prioritize listening to your employees over just talking to them.
2. Make Upskilling and Reskilling Cornerstones of Employee Management
What seems to be challenging about the digital migration of most organizations is that technology changes faster than your employees can master them. In fact, the World Economic Forum projects that around 50 percent of employees need to be reskilled by 2025.³
Hence, improving company culture also means investing in the continued learning of your employees. Create training programs that allow them to keep on improving at what they do and to also learn new skill sets. These development opportunities will also increase employees’ sense of ownership and engagement in the work they do for the company. Investing in your employees’ professional development is indeed of mutual benefit to you and your people.
3. Make Salient Efforts to Promote Diversity, Equality, and Inclusion (DEI)
These days, there are plenty of efforts to promote DEI in the workplace. However, a study from the Harvard Business Review revealed that while 60 percent of organizations in the United States have programs to promote DEI, many of them are not addressing the real focus of these efforts. In fact, only 26 percent of these companies have gender representation goals, while only 16 percent of them have representation goals on ethnicity.⁴
To start, do you have someone tasked to take care of all your DEI efforts, say a Chief Diversity Officer? You can try consulting with our DEI expert to help you navigate through these efforts and perform them superbly and consistently.
For your DEI efforts to move forward and for your employees to fully benefit from your DEI initiatives, there needs to be a point person who should take charge of all these.
In addition, does your company have a DEI budget? To launch and fully implement DEI initiatives, your company must have the resources to realize these endeavors. Hence, allocating resources and assigning someone to work on the organization’s DEI initiatives are key to the success of your DEI efforts.
4. Promote Flexibility
Let’s admit it. The days of working fully onsite are over. Today, hybrid work or flexible work is the name of the game. Since this is the new normal in the world of work, how do you create an engaging and connected workplace in a hybrid way? How can you do the same both for your remote employees and those working onsite?
As someone working to strengthen company culture, it is important to maintain a collaborative, innovative, and productive workplace amid a flexible schedule and a hybrid setup. Put strategies and initiatives in place to improve employee engagement and adherence to company values even though your employees are in various locations.
5. Drive Purpose and Meaning
Get this: 9 out of 10 people are willing to earn less in exchange for more meaningful work. This means people are bound to leave their jobs if they cannot see the larger purpose of doing it. The same thing goes for job seekers.⁵
The role of the leader is extremely crucial here. As a leader, it should be crystal clear to you why the company exists and what purpose it serves to its market. Only then can you impart purpose and meaning to your employees.
Job seekers must also be attuned to their individual purpose and meaning. More than the salary, employee benefits, health insurance, and the like, it is critical for job seekers to answer why they want to work for a particular company and a specific role.
After all, purpose and meaning have no price tags. A positive company culture must nurture and sharpen that like a diamond in the rough.
LET STRATEGIC SYSTEMS HELP YOU
Creating the right culture for your company is impossible without the right talent and structure. This is where our DEI expert, Deneisha Franklin, can help you re-evaluate your current DEI policies and structure, and provide expert guidance on how you can nurture a culture that makes employees thrive.
1. Pelosse, Gordon. “Council Post: Are Employers Heading for a Talent Shortage Perfect Storm?” Forbes, Forbes Magazine, 8 Nov. 2022, www.forbes.com/are-employers-heading-for-a-talent-shortage-perfect-storm.
2. “Culture Over Cash? Glassdoor Multi-Country Survey Finds More Than Half of Employees Prioritize Workplace Culture Over Salary”, Cision. 10 Jul. 2019, www.prnewswire.com/culture-over-cash-glassdoor-multi-country-survey-finds-more-than-half-of-employees-prioritize-workplace-culture-over-salary..
3. “These Are the Top 10 Job Skills of Tomorrow – and How Long It Takes to Learn Them.” World Economic Forum, www.weforum.org/top-10-work-skills-of-tomorrow-how-long-it-takes-to-learn-them.
4. Carter, Evelyn and Johnson, Natalie. “To Sustain Dei Momentum, Companies Must Invest in 3 Areas.” Harvard Business Review, 4 Nov. 2022, hbr.org/to-sustain-dei-momentum-companies-must-invest-in-3-areas.
5. Achor, Shawn, et al. “9 Out of 10 People Are Willing to Earn Less Money to Do More-Meaningful Work.” Harvard Business Review, 6 Nov. 2018, hbr.org/9-out-of-10-people-are-willing-to-earn-less-money-to-do-more-meaningful-work.