Today’s most talented professionals are seeking more than just a lucrative salary and generous benefits packages; they’re looking for companies that offer a cultural fit. Workforce diversity, company vision, and community involvement are just a few of the things that play a role in overall company culture.
HR professionals and managers know that the hiring landscape is changing, and company culture is becoming increasingly important when it comes to attracting top talent – as well as keeping employees engaged to boost retention.
But how can you cultivate a company culture that attracts today’s top talent? To find out what strategies today’s companies are leveraging to foster positive company culture, we reached out to a panel of HR pros and business leaders and asked them to answer this question:
“What are some ideas to create company culture in order to attract top talent?”
Meet Our Panel of HR Pros & Business Leaders:
- Lizzie Benton, Founder
- Terry Schaefer, Coach
- Cindy Anderson, Owner & Managing Partner
- Sanjay Malhotra, Founder & CTO
- Zach Hendrix, Co-Founder
- Thom Pryor, Founder
- Gene Caballero, CEO
- Ricky Joshi, Co-Founder & CEO
- Ronna Moore, Owner
- Filip Boksa, Co-Founder
- Terrell White, CEO
- Brett Ellis, Career Development Influencer & Educator
- Carl Mazzanti, Co-Founder & Vice President
- Dr. Randy Ross, Founder & CEO
- Robin Schwartz, PHR, HR Director
- Debbie Winkelbauer, CEO
- Dylan Blatt, Head of Growth
- Stacy Caprio, Blogger
- Rachel Craig, Digital Marketing & SEO Professional
- Alyssa Mariano, Assistant Marketing Manager
- Davide de Guz, Serial Entrepreneur
- Rich Franklin, Director of Recruitment
- Johannes Larsson, Investor, Blogger & Digital Entrepreneur
- Emil Kristensen, CMO & Co-Founder
- Matt Dodgson, Founder
- Perryn Olson, Marketing Director & vCIO
- Jerome Tennille, Manager of Volunteerism
- Carlos Castelán, Managing Partner & Founder
- Jeannette Washington, M.Ed., Chief Academic Officer
- Rachael Allen, Head of People & Culture
- Nina Krol, Outreach Manager
- Zoe Morris, Chief Operating Officer
- Liz Taylor, HR Director
- Ross Cohen, Co-Founder & COO
- Candice Simons, President & CEO
- Tim Brown, Owner & Marketer
Keep reading to find out what our experts had to say about how you can create an appealing company culture to attract top talent.
Lizzie Benton is the founder of Liberty Mind. She is a culture consultant passionate about supporting people in the workplace. As a specialist establishing effective company cultures Lizzie has spoken across the UK at universities and conferences to share her findings on workplace engagement, and has been listed in the Metro’s top millennials changing the workplace.
“One of the missing pieces in most company cultures is…”
The vision or the mission of the company. It gets lost, and so when it comes to attracting talent you don’t stand out. In an age where many of us connect our career with purpose, not defining what your organisation stands for can mean many candidates will simply overlook you.
The very reason you exist should be obvious in every element of your company culture. From the way you interview, the way you onboard to the benefits packages you provide.
Define your purpose and thread it through every bit of how you run your business. Do that, and talent will be lining up to work for you!
Terry Schaefer is a Coach to Family Business Owners who want to focus, align and scale into healthy organizational growth.
“A great theme to help create a talent attracting culture that has helped some of my clients is…”
- Assess the people who are most productive and what makes them function.
- Assess the people applying for positions within the company for the talents found in #1 above.
- Develop educational and learning programs that provide structure and habits that promote healthy personal and professional interaction.
- Investigate what makes your staff get really excited about their work.
- Educate to engage your workforce. Keep them learning and you listening for simple programs that keep them open to expanding their lives.
Cindy Anderson is the owner and managing partner of Thinc Strategy, a consulting firm that creates custom and insightful corporate strategies that ensure measurable results. Anderson has supported nearly 150 companies in their efforts to strengthen management teams and increase overall business value.
“Demonstrate that your workplace is more than just a place to work…”
Companies that cares about the whole employee experience will always stand above the rest, and that includes supporting the individual and personal passions of all people.
Spotlight the vertical and horizontal growth that’s possible inside your company walls. Employees want to be part of a company where growth is achievable, but also where new roles and opportunities are within arms reach. Not everyone wants to climb the ladder into management. Some employees want to be individual contributors, and that may mean contributing to a variety of elements of the company. Demonstrate that vertical and horizontal growth is possible!
Customize the employee journey, because when individuals can see where they are headed inside your company they are more likely to stay. If all employees are individuals, then leaders need to communicate on an individual level. Mapping the journey of opportunity person by person is one of the best ways to keep great talent. Not everyone wants to follow the same path. But also, not everyone can visualize general career development strategies. Take the time to personalize the career path of each person.
Remember that the little and big things matter equally. You can’t communicate your company’s mission, yet neglect living it out. You won’t be able to retain top talent with a world-class benefits package, if you overlook the need for continuous growth. The big parts of business matter, but the little parts matter just as much. Doing one without the other will still cause you to lose your very best employees.
Sanjay Malhotra is a leading mobile technologist and the Founder and CTO of Clearbridge Mobile. Under his leadership, Clearbridge has created award-winning solutions for Fortune 500 clients that have accrued over 100 million downloads.
“To attract top talent you need to provide your employees with various opportunities and challenges…”
Whether that’s shadowing other departments, taking on new and exciting projects, or encouraging your employees to attend industry conferences, you need to prove that you are invested in their career development. Many companies miss the mark on this and as a result, employees feel like they’ve hit a glass ceiling. Top performers prioritize growth in their career so you need to ingrain this within your company culture. Establishing this culture of continuous growth and development will help you not only gain a competitive edge in the labor market but also attract the best people.
Zach Hendrix is a Co-founder of GreenPal, which is best described as Uber for Lawn Care.
“I have been somewhat obsessed about our culture, starting with…”
My three co-founders and 20 employees that we have built over the past four years.
Culture can be a competitive advantage; you can’t deliver good service from unhappy employees.
Culture is no doubt critical to any team’s success, no matter what the size. My concern is that I observe teams in infancy place an over-emphasis on things in the name of company culture before the business fundamentals are fleshed out. In the beginning, we as entrepreneurs must focus and prioritize the basics and fundamentals of creating a scalable business over trying to build a cozy culture.
Ping pong tables, free lunch, and massages help make some companies a great place to work, but these things did not make a company great in the first place. These are the perks that help keep employees happy and a great company on top, not necessarily what propels it to greatness.
The best precaution we can make as entrepreneurs is to hire good fits. If you can’t break bread with the person, then why hire them? If you won’t enjoy hanging out with them socially then they won’t be a value add for culture.
Culture gets mislabeled as “perks” offered throughout an organization. In its most potent form, culture should refer to the aligning values of the organization. Do you and your team members all believe in the same things? What is your team’s mantra?
The specifics of your team’s values are not as important as the fact of having the values ingrained that align each member of that team. This adds purpose to the mission, and passion is a product of purpose. These are the elements by which real culture is created.
These values have to be installed at the early stages of a company, as it’s impossible to come back later and sprinkle in some culture and values into an established team.
Strong culture is created when each member of the team believes in the same things. When that is the case, trust emerges, and when you have trust you have loyalty. With these elements embedded in a team, no matter how big or small, there is no limit to what can be accomplished.
Thom Pryor is the founder of the Lawsuit Legal, and creator of the Lawsuit Legal Attorney Network which includes some of our nations top legal industry professions, including a number of recognized Super Lawyers, Million Dollar Advocates, and Power Lawyers. He’s been featured in a number of top publications and is considered an expert in the business of law.
“Our primary focus is on innovation and creativity…”
Long hours and high pressure are inevitable in our industry – so we try to keep it fun, safe and productive. We ask a lot, expect a lot, but fight to make it rewarding for everyone involved.
Gene Caballero is the CEO of GreenPal, which has been described as Uber for Lawn Mowing.
“What we offer is a unique perk to all of our employees or future employees…”
A music room. Headquartered in Nashville, TN, most of our employees are either musicians or play music for fun.
Playing an instrument has been scientifically proven to engage practically every area of the brain at once, especially the visual, auditory, and motor cortices. The brain is a muscle and learning and playing music is like a full body workout. It strengthens those brain functions, allowing us to apply that strength to other activities, like productivity, and it helps reduce stress.
As Co-founder and CEO of The Saatva Company, a fast growing online luxury mattress company, Ricky Joshi’s mission is to redefine consumer retail. Joshi has developed successful retail analytics, social media platforms and applications. He holds an MBA from Columbia University and a BA from Dartmouth College.
“Lead with company goals…”
It’s important to reiterate these goals before and during the hiring process – beforehand to attract top talent and afterwards to maintain a level of integrity. Prospective talent, especially talent who have plenty of options, want to know they’re being paid their worth, but they also want to know what sort of organization they’re choosing to work for, especially in this age. Keeping company goals at the forefront and remaining transparent in your efforts will make a huge difference in the long run.
Ronna Moore is the owner of Fairy Homes and Gardens, a boutique fairy garden retailer. They sell everything from inspiration to execution for your fairy gardens.
“I like to put customer feedback at the forefront of everything, including company culture…”
When I’m looking for top talent, I tend to highlight the good things my customers have said about my brand, as I really do believe that’s the best representation for the kind of company culture I want to reflect. I want employees to know they’re working at a place that values customer feedback and discussion.
Filip Boksa is the co-founder of BookingKoala.com, which focuses on helping upcoming entrepreneurs start their service businesses using a model he used to grow his first business to over 5 million by the time he turned 22, with no outside funding. They have a team of over 100 workers across the two companies.
“Find four to six core values that represent you and your company culture…”
Follow those core values until others can see them too. This will help you attract others, especially when your company starts to grow.
Terrell White is the CEO of Innovative Choice, a company that does digital marketing, graphic design, and website design that helps people evaluate their passions and companies show off their why.
“Most companies have the top talent they are looking so hard for; the trick is cultivating the right culture that will lead to growth…”
Once the employees in your company start to grow, so will your company and the top talent will come. The best way to create a company culture that leads to growth is to eliminate competition, elevate partnership, and incentivize growth. Competition promotes trickery, dishonesty, toxicity, and anxiety, especially when it becomes a part of company culture. It’s when employees start to focus on getting ahead instead of focusing on the shared vision of the company they will start to step on and over each other to get ahead. This usually ends up with the biggest sharks climbing to the top and the talented being undermined or used, and the talented will eventually leave.
Leadership at all levels represents what the company represents. Look at your leadership and you will see the flaws in your culture. This is why partnership at all levels of your company’s culture becomes the best method of finding talent. When people love coming to work, they talk about it and statistically, they do better work. This means they are getting the word out about your company and they’re growing themselves – which means bringing in more talented people and becoming more talented themselves.
We see this work over and over again with companies like Menlo Innovations, Quicken Loans, and countless software companies. Many entrepreneurs have pushed this type of environment. For example, books like Good to Great and Principles talk about elevating partnership by doing things like allowing employees to question processes or simply being completely transparent in order to build trust. Partnership in a company – making sure your employees have each other’s back at all levels and the managers are managing with emotion – creates an overall feeling of trust embedded in your company. Incentivizing growth means using positive reinforcement when growth happens and trying to understand shortcomings when they come. The biggest threat to a company is an employee who is amazing at their job but breaks the rules.
Brett Ellis is a career development influencer, innovative educator, and Millennial & Gen Z job satisfaction expert. He runs Brett Ellis Career Marketing Services as a professional career coach and professional development speaker. He has worked with leaders in multiple industries to create workspaces conducive to attracting and retaining top talent.
“It’s not all about ping pong tables and free snacks…”
In order for companies to attract top talent, they must first understand the demographic they are trying to attract (entry-level/college grads, executives, managers, etc.). They must then do research or consult experts of those groups to understand their needs and desires. Generational differences play a huge role here. I am often consulted to help organizations recruit and retain Millennial & Generation Z talent.
For example: Many millennials are currently struggling with student loan debt, so one new best practice is for employers to offer student loan repayment assistance. Millennials also value work/life balance higher than most generations, so programs like work from home can really appeal to this group.
If you are looking to hire recent college grads now, Gen Z is the group to target. For many Gen Z employees, they are looking to work for places with social impact. Try offering paid volunteer time off or showcase philanthropic work that the company does. They also get most of their information from social media, so a strong online presence is critical for this group to even be aware of you.
Through my research of Generation X, they value things like job security. They want to be loyal to a company that is loyal to them. Most of them will be attracted to jobs that provide them with the income and stability to care for their families. For many Millennials and Gen Z employees, they are having families much later. They will hop from job to job and city to city to further their careers, so it is imperative that employers get the best ones and do what it take to keep them.
Carl Mazzanti is the Co-founder and Vice President of eMazzanti Technologies, a premier IT security consulting firm throughout the NYC Metro area and internationally, and a frequent business conference speaker and technology talk show guest.
“To attract and retain top candidates in a competitive labor market, we create a culture that supports what technical employees crave…”
The best technology. They know (because they can read about it online) that working at eMazzanti Technologies means being at the top of the technical skills ladder.
To support this culture (which also works to attract great customers), we schedule internal skills and leadership development training sessions as well as regular certifications and training on new technologies.
Developing their skills builds confidence and job satisfaction. They become experts on Microsoft and HP’s latest and greatest before it is released to the market. They know that staying with eMazzanti is the best way to advance their skills and their careers.
Here are some of the things we do to build our top technology culture to attract and retain top employees as well as enhance their productivity:
- Pay for training and certification courses and allow employees time away to attend.
- Maintain strong relationships with Microsoft, HP, WatchGuard and others to be product testers and early users of new technology.
- Give them multiple computer monitors and other tech tools to enhance the advanced tech atmosphere and improve productivity.
eMazzanti enjoys high retention rates because employees appreciate the hard-working, skills-elevating, achievement-oriented culture that we foster. Word gets out. Employee retention is the key to productivity and customer satisfaction. We treat all of our employee, customer and vendor relationships as long-term partnerships.
Dr. Randy Ross
Dr. Randy Ross is founder and CEO of Remarkable! A master of cultural transformation, Dr. Ross has a unique understanding of employee engagement and offers practical solutions for increasing both team morale and performance. The author of Relationomics and Remarkable!, he has traveled throughout the U.S. and internationally as a speaker, consultant, and coach, building teams and developing leaders. You can find him online at Relationomics.com.
“The intentional cultivation of a compelling culture should be leadership’s highest priority…”
Thriving organizations have cultures in which authenticity and trust are foundational. Additionally, a sense of deep connectedness and high accountability permeate the ranks. In these environments, people are inspired to bring their best to work every day.
I would suggest that a compelling culture is comprised of a trilogy of characteristics. Singularly, they are significant. Collectively, they produce a cord of commitment that cannot easily be broken. And they build on one another to provide a rock-solid foundation for any endeavor. Simply stated, a remarkable culture is a place where people: believe the best in one another, want the best for one another, and expect the best from one another.
Robin Schwartz, PHR
Robin Schwartz, PHR is the HR Director at Career Igniter.
“Your company should be aware of any cultural issues that exist within the organization…”
They should also have an idea where their employee engagement stands. If employees are coming to the office, punching a clock, then just going home, you will have a tough time standing out to potential applicants. If your organization has changes to make, make them. Work to create a collaborative environment that supports the growth of the employee, their work-life balance, and the success of the company as a whole. When your current employees are happy with the environment they work in, they will talk about it. They will not hesitate to recommend your organization over others to people they know.
The cost of improving the company culture can be cheap if there are no real issues. But, if your organization is rife with complaints, you may be spending a pretty penny for outside consultants to help you get it right. You can start small with developing a confidential employee engagement survey in-house to solicit feedback from your staff.
Offer Career Pathing
One of the top things most applicants are looking for is future growth or promotional abilities at a new company. If you are part of a large organization, you can probably speak to the promotions past incumbents of the position have received. Career pathing may be a little trickier for smaller organizations who have only seen steady job growth over the years. That being said, any sized organization can still create a plan for incoming positions that include training opportunities, certification opportunities, managerial opportunities, etc. Showing a candidate that the company is invested in growing a new employee will allow him/her to see a potential future with the organization and provide a sense of future job security.
Working to create career paths and promotional opportunities is a low-cost option. You will need to engage your current managers and HR staff to help create the vision but should not need to engage outside resources.
Debbie Winkelbauer is the CEO of Surf Search Inc.
“Clean up your company’s reputation…”
You need to be the tender of your company’s Glassdoor page. Is your company being trashed on Glassdoor? Fixing this will take time – because you need to fix the root of the problem. In the meantime, set up an alert. If someone posts positively, respond with a short and gracious thank you. If it’s negative, write a response that shows that you care and are looking into the situation. And then follow up to the best of your ability.
What do your employees’ LinkedIn pages say about your company? How about offering up a 30-minute profile update sesh (free lunch?) and walk your team through quick, savvy profile makeovers? Candidates go to LinkedIn to get info. Make sure your company page is awesome and cajole your team members to spruce theirs up too.
Dylan Blatt is the Head of Growth at Goodly.
“One new tool that is gaining a lot of popularity with startups and SMBs is…”
Platforms that enable offering student loan assistance, such as Goodly. These kinds of benefit offerings are a highly desirable and meaningful chip to play when trying to fight for top talent against larger, more capital-able employers. For example, when a SMB is trying to lure a developer who also has a $200K offer from Facebook or Google, offering to address this new hire’s largest financial burden of their life is a powerful play. HBR reported that 50% of those entering the workforce would be nudged towards a lower paying job by student loan benefit offerings (HBR Benefits Study).
Stacy Caprio is a Blogger at her.ceo.
“Try incorporating positive experiences into daily or weekly life at your company to…”
Cultivate a a culture that attracts top talent. One way to do this is by catering weekly or more frequent lunches for employees, as a way to offer free healthy food and a place for coworkers to bond. Another key experience to offer is the opportunity for employees to attend an educational conference every few months or year. Make sure you offer positive experiences such as these to retain and attract top talent to your workplace.
Rachel Craig works in Digital Marketing & SEO at Lamps USA.
“As an employee, it’s important to enjoy what you do on a day-to-day basis, but…”
Without being in an environment which makes people happy to be at work every day, it becomes pretty irrelevant and top talent will eventually move on.
From an employers perspective, if you hire and train top talent, you want to retain them. The best way to create a culture where people want to stay is by listening to what’s important to them.
In Lamps USA, we share common values on what’s important to our team culture.
- Flexibility in the hours that we work to accommodate personal responsibilities, like dropping our children to school.
- The autonomy in our role to do what is best for the company and the team – it shows values in our ability.
- An environment that nurtures learning. We operate in an exciting industry that is always changing, it’s ideal to support the team changing with it.
Alyssa Mariano, assistant marketing manager for Kingspan, has been working in corporate communications and marketing in New York City and Dubai for over 7 years. Her expertise lies in internal communications, employee engagement programs, and external communications / marketing.
“I’ve found a lot of benefits from introducing an Employee Recognition program in terms of creating an engaging company culture…”
An employee recognition program can help boost employee morale and engagement, which can create a robust and exciting company culture for everyone at the company. An employee recognition program can include initiatives where managers recognize employees for doing a great job on a monthly or annually basis, and an initiative where employees can recognize other employees.
Davide de Guz
Davide is a serial entrepreneur who has been working in technology for over 20 years. He’s the CEO of ClickMeter and the Founder of Rebrandly, a link management tool empowers users to put their brands on their links.
“As someone who has been working in the tech industry for over 20 years…”
I’ve gained a lot of experience in building strong teams and, to do this, it is essential to create a strong company culture where everyone believes in your business and what it is trying to achieve. This will enable you to attract and retain top talent.
I’ve been working on our culture since day one of Rebrandly. When you communicate and nurture your brand from the start by clearly communicating your values, you’ll be able to build an enthusiastic team that will be on-board for a long time. This is the best way to build a strong company culture, even if you don’t have huge resources. If you don’t prioritize company culture early on, it will become a tough thing to do further down the line.
Another piece of advice I’d share with those looking to attract top talent is to give your team the freedom to work remotely. This breaks down many barriers for finding top talent and allows you to hire people based on their skills and fit with your company culture, rather than location. It is also a huge benefit for team members, as it allows them to decide whether they want to work in the office or at home. I’ve found that by giving my team this choice, they appreciate this flexibility and are happier in their roles.
Rich Franklin is the Director of Recruitment at KBC Staffing. He has worked in the recruiting world for over 30 years and now owns his own agency, specializing in placing talented candidates in high quality roles across San Joaquin county.
“The fun activities that people mention when brainstorming ideas to create a strong company culture (which I will happily discuss below) don’t matter until…”
You’ve tacked the core components, such as creating a team where people want to teach others and genuinely take effort to help others improve as an employee. It also helps to have programs and policies that are not just “words on paper.” For example, if you talk about providing a work-life balance, then you need to take action to make that happen, such as hiring enough people so that everyone doesn’t have to kill themselves to get their work done. Lastly, it helps to have decisions that are driven by what is in the best interest of the employees and not just the financials (which, often times, are the same decision if people think about the long-term).
Once you’ve solved these core culture challenges, you can start to think about more of the fluffy stuff.
Private movie showings. It’s actually absurdly cheap to rent a private theater. Every year, one of my clients rents a 165-person theater for about $1,300. They invite the employees and their family plus a dozen customers/partners and their family. They actually make money on it as a marketing event.
“Start up” benefits in non-start up companies. I once heard of a 15-year-old company that still has a ton of them. They just moved to a new luxury office and allow employees to bring their kids to daycare and their dogs to doggy daycare. There is no formal dress code. You can ride bikes and scooters in the office. You can come into and leave the office whenever you want as long as you put in at least eight hours per day.
Johannes Larsson is an investor, blogger and digital entrepreneur in the Fintech sphere since 2011. He is the team leader and founder at financer.com.
“One idea to attract top talent that we’re using at Financer.com is…”
Building up a company culture of remote-based work. That means that everyone on the team has more or less complete location independence and can choose their own hours and office. This has helped us a great deal to attract smart minds without paying unnecessarily high premiums.
Easier said than done, but another idea is simply having such an interesting project where the employees can see how much value it brings to the world. Then they feel part of something great.
Emil Kristensen is the CMO and Co-founder of Sleeknote. He is an innovative and passionate online marketing and e-commerce nerd, who likes turning ideas into reality.
“Given that we’re a diverse and international bunch here at Sleeknote…”
Including a number of remote employees working from around the world, we make a special effort to make the most of our annual workation. This involves the whole company, including all remote employees, relocating to a hotel on Denmark’s West Coast for a week, where we work on new and exciting projects during the day, and take part in fun activities during the evening.
We also hold strategy sessions and conduct workshops, where we get to learn about our own personality profiles and that of our colleagues. Team building is also very important, and we aim to make lasting memories each year.
Not only does this help reinforce the company culture among our existing employees, but the workation itself becomes a tool that helps us attract further top talent. Each year we create a workation video, which gives a fantastic insight into the culture of the company and shows that work doesn’t have to be a “grind”, or boring, and illustrates that good work comes from having fun — not in spite of it.
Please see our 2018 workation video here.
Matt Dodgson is one of the founders of Market Recruitment, a UK-based recruiting company focused exclusively on helping B2B and tech companies find marketers for their hard-to-fill roles. When not working, Matt loves competing in triathlons (he’s completed 3 Ironmans) and spending time with his wife and two daughters.
“I’m a recruitment professional, and about a year ago a client noticed that it was experiencing a troubling period of turnover…”
In order to address this challenge, the company has experimented with a few new benefits to build a stronger company culture to connect with the values of employees. Here are some initiatives the company implemented:
- This relatively small firm was losing top talent to larger companies who could pay larger salaries. While my client could not match in terms of salary, it could offer a benefit that plagues many workers: student debt and retirement planning. Employees are spending so much on student loan repayments that retirement planning often falls by the wayside. To help employees plan and encourage debt relief, employees who contributed at least 0.5% of their salary to debt relief would receive a 2% match in their retirement plan (in addition to an already existing retirement matching plan).
- In exit interviews, companies stated that they didn’t strongly feel connected enough to be a family. To build a supportive environment, the company made a minimal investment to build a web portal. The portal allowed employees to make requests for themselves as well as other employees (who approve of the request), and other employees signup to help. Say someone needs to work late a few extra hours, he can ask for childcare help; employees can sign up to provide meals for a colleague who just gave birth. Employees no longer saw their life events as troublesome or counter to the company culture; they found a new support network to celebrate and thrive with all the surprises life throws at them.
Perryn Olson is the Marketing Director & vCIO at My IT. He is a sought after B2B marketer and business advisor who understands the impact both strategy and technology can have on a company’s growth and bottom line.
“To create company culture, the company’s leaders need to…”
Do more than focus on just the day-to-day work; they need to focus on the employees. Focusing purely on the work and clients/customers, your company culture creates the dreaded cogs in a wheel feeling and your employees don’t feel valued and will not stay long-term even if you pay them well.
Our company has the Circle of Success where the company takes care of the employees, who take care of our clients, who in turn take care of the company. In essence, the company treats the employees like most companies treat clients.
Taking care of employees doesn’t have to be expensive either. It can be hosting a potluck, giving out Halloween candy, or simply calling your employees team members so they feel appreciated.
Jerome Tennille is the Manager of Volunteerism for Marriott International where he leads the companies volunteer initiatives to perpetuate the company’s culture. Prior to that he worked in the non-profit sector focused on impact analysis and volunteer engagement. Jerome is also a veteran of the United States Navy.
“Establishing and managing a corporate volunteer program can help a company perpetuate their culture of service…”
The most important part of this is making the connection between the action of volunteering and why it’s important for the company’s core values, and ultimately why they’d like to see employees exhibit those values. Volunteerism can be a mechanism in which you communicate your core values as a company to the community, including job seekers and your current employees at the same time. Younger generations entering the workforce expect companies to take stands on controversial issues, they want to see companies in the community doing good.
But in this day and age it’s not just enough to just do good, you must tell others about it. If job candidates don’t see it, they won’t necessarily believe it. If you’re a socially and environmentally responsible company, it’s likely you want to attract talent that hold those same values. It’s through a corporate social responsibility program or corporate volunteer initiative that you can communicate those values, thus attracting top talent.
With deliberate programming, volunteerism can be a vessel to actively connect with very specific populations you may be seeking for talent. For example, if you’re seeking to hire talent from the military and veteran community, you might choose to develop the employability of veterans through skills-based volunteerism, while also opening a door to job opportunities. This communicates the culture of the company and the importance of service. Over time as the culture becomes more rich, there will be a process that naturally weeds out those who don’t fit. Those who care about service to the community will likely stay and keep the culture alive while attracting others with similar values.
Carlos Castelán is a Managing Partner and founder of The Navio Group, a business consulting firm that works with companies to improve workplace culture and productivity challenges, helping them perform better and succeed in today’s competitive business environment.
“Company culture is hard to create since it’s the outcome of daily interactions, micro decisions made over time, and the product of the talent at a company…”
A couple key ways we’ve seen companies successfully recruit top talent, outside of competitive compensation packages (which are important), is via a compelling company vision as well as providing avenues for personal growth. A compelling vision statement is one that is ambitious and guides strategic decision-making. Vision statements should be bold and a reflection of the company’s ambitions so, particularly for smaller companies, it’s an indicator of the company’s mission which can help tip the scales for top talent if it aligns to their personal value.
Related, if a company is able to provide avenues for personal growth via regular feedback and coaching, along with opportunities to take on bigger challenges, those elements of company culture help attract top talent. Employees increasingly view their tenure in 2-5 year cycles so providing these opportunities for growth are immensely valuable for those seeking to constantly grow.
Jeannette Washington, M.Ed.
Jeannette Washington, M.Ed. is the Chief Academic Officer at Bearly Articulating.
“The best recruitment focuses on ongoing retention support…”
Retention coupled with word of mouth are the dynamic duo of attracting top-tier talent. In the age of diversity and inclusion, it’s important for every member of the staff/talent to feel valued for what they bring to the table and what piece they add to the puzzle. With that said, there needs to be a culture that cultivates mistakes as learning objectives, frequent mental health activities to nudge self-care, multi-sensory on the job training should be embraced, and staff meetings should feel more like a brainstorm which celebrates every cognitive notion no matter if it’s a whirlwind. I recently facilitated a staff meeting to promote neurodiversity in the workplace, where I empowered the talent to stand and take a step forward if they could empathize with a certain statement. It was beautiful choreography of movements as people swayed forward and glanced at their counterparts with smirks of familiarity. We are all alike. After-all, the pawn and the king go in the same box, once you store the game away.
Rachael Allen is the Head of People & Culture at BPS World.
“The modern perception of a good company culture is often viewed in terms of…”
Cool breakout areas, slides and bean bags – which is nice. However, that is not what candidates are looking for. Potential employees look for forward-thinking organisations that will invest in them in terms of training and development and potential for career advancement, in whatever form that takes. A good company culture encourages the agility and flexibility of its employees, where there are unlimited opportunities to progress throughout the organization and maximum exposure to a variety of functions.
Although career pathways are important, candidates look for an employer that offers autonomy, and where they will feel trusted. This could be trust through flexible working hours and the ability to create their own opportunities – in turn making employees feel empowered.
A company culture that empowers its employees will be visible through its employer brand, therefore promoting a more attractive workplace.
Millennials especially are a product of their environment and are generally more skeptical and mistrusting of brands, making them harder to engage. So, it is vital that you create a company culture where your employees feel trusted.
Finally, strong internal communication within your organization, with good relationships between managers and employees, is vital. Companies should be open and transparent in terms of their vision and values and employees should feel as though they have been involved in the progression towards their company’s end goal. Ultimately, happy employees = good company culture.
Nina Krol is the Outreach Manager at Zety.com, helping organizations to develop their online presence and exposure by providing industry-leading resources and insights.
“Creating a company culture should start really from…”
The company’s startup level. It’s really building a shared vision, the company’s identity and personality and showing the potential employees who we are and who we want to be. How do we create our company culture to attract top talent?
- We hire for values. We came up with a set of company values that we are dead serious about. These values define our company’s personality and what we go by. They define the founders and the employees. When we seek top talent, we evaluate the candidates not only by their hard skills and experience, but we also check if our values resonate with them and if they’re something they can identify themselves with. Likewise, the potential hires can decide whether they want to come and play with us.
- Productivity and impactful work. The talented individuals are usually also the motivated ones too. It is super important to create a vision for our activities. Letting the employees feel they are a functioning and important part of it. That they co-create, build a real value and are appreciated for what they do. A relentless focus on success and hyper-growth is what motives our top players.
- Perks that let them evolve. Offering a potential hire real-value perks. Apart from financial benefits, we find internal and external training and workshops to be a real value for our top talent. Creating a culture of always-evolving employees created an inspirational environment.
- Building a community. A super motivated and integrated team is what lets us grow at breakneck pace. That’s why creating a happy and healthy community at work is a must. It’s important to provide a comfortable office space, common space where the peers can socialize and unwind. Social events, barbecues, a dog-friendly office, birthday celebrations, one-to-one lunch meetings and chatting over a bowl of good food with the company’s founders are our recipe for creating a good office vibe.
Zoe Morris is the Chief Operating Officer at Nelson Frank.
“Creating a strong company culture comes down to…”
Embedding a strong set of core values, beliefs, and behaviors that everyone from the C-suite to the frontline staff can support.
It might sound cliché, but people are our biggest asset. Without them, we wouldn’t have a business, so it’s imperative we get the culture right so we can recruit, train, motivate and retain the best talent available, which enables us to grow.
We strive for continuous improvement, and employing people whose personal values and beliefs align with the culture we’re trying to promote ultimately means that people are more satisfied in their jobs and are less likely to leave.
As a fast-growing business, we ensure our staff are the focal part of our company culture. Sending regular updates about our growth and performance helps all our employees to remain part of it, and see how and where they’re making a difference.
We also regularly audit our culture. Introducing well-being Wednesdays, lunch and learns, sales days, and permanently relaxed dress code has had a positive impact on our staff retention and productivity levels.
As HR Director, Liz oversees enterprise recruiting, employee relations, benefits administration, and compliance. Prior to Medical Guardian, Liz held roles as a Corporate Recruiter, Recruiting Manager, and HR Business Partner at companies including University City Housing, Farmers Insurance Group, and Di Bruno Bros. Liz and her team continue to focus on employee engagement, wellness initiatives and company culture at Medical Guardian.
“First and foremost, it’s important to build a positive and engaging culture within your company…”
To strengthen relationships company-wide, we have a variety of team-building events, activities, and programs, including Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR). CSR has become an increasingly popular way for organizations to not only move forward in their philanthropic efforts but to also attract top talent — as more and more people strive to make a difference both in their day-to-day job and in their community. Additionally, putting your company leaders at your industry’s forefront through PR, securing conference speaking opportunities, award wins, and publishing thought leadership content, will increase brand awareness — attracting top talent as they want to work for leaders that are motivating, inspiring, and making an impact.
Ross Cohen is the co-founder and COO of BeenVerified.com, an online background check platform that helps people discover, understand, and use public data in their everyday lives. BeenVerified’s overriding goal is simple: to provide you with access to public info that was formerly only available to big companies and people with deep pockets in a way that is easy, affordable, and fast. As a savvy business expert, Ross educates other entrepreneurs on ways to build a brand, increase revenue and cut unnecessary costs, drive more customers, and much more.
“Ensure you have a positive company culture that encourages new ideas…”
A positive and motivational company culture will attract top talent and inspire your employees to stay and grow with the company. Make it easy for your team to test out new ideas and innovate. We teach our employees to not be afraid or hesitant to bring new business ideas to the table. We also show our team members that there are very few obstacles if they want to try out a new project or method of doing something. Our company is all about testing and optimizing, so if our people feel like it’s too much of a hassle to try a new idea or approach to doing things, then we will all suffer. If a team member has an idea, it’s usually as simple as asking us for a quick thumbs up. In rare cases, it requires us to talk it through.
Candice Simons is the President & CEO of Brooklyn Outdoor.
“Having the type of company culture that attracts the right type of talent is all about investing in your people…”
Whether it be on-boarding new employees or maintaining the team you have, it is key to set your employees up for success. Companies where people have high levels of job satisfaction are less likely to experience high turnover rates. To achieve this, it is important to understand the individual talents of your employees. People want to feel validated by their work and have a sense of self-fulfillment. To attract and maintain the right type of talent, you must work with your employees to set goals. It is also essential that these goals are reasonable and achievable. Most people want work that makes them feel challenged and allows them to grow professionally. If you show your dedication to invest in your team, they will happily invest in your company as well.
Tim Brown is the owner and marketer of Hook Agency. He is a web designer and passionate marketer. He’s passionate about getting serious results for clients, irregardless of the medium or means – but is generally focused on Search Engine Optimization and on-site conversion.
“I think many of the key ways that employees make decisions on where to work include salary, bonuses, perks, and recognition – but the one thing people don’t always consider is…”
Showcasing the control that one will have when they work at your company. Control is one of those super important pieces of our work – and it ranges from the ability of choosing when to arrive, and leave to what someone does on an hourly basis and how they can help steer the company in certain ways. To highly entrepreneurial minded employees, this can be a silver bullet when your competing with large corporations that can’t offer as much control in their employees day to day activities.