What does culture have to do with a company?
Many believe that the only way to attract the best employees in a competitive job market is to offer the highest compensation and top benefits packages. While these can be important factors, in my experience I have found it is not always the case.
At times, the companies offering the most money and the highest benefits packages are doing it because it’s the only way they can replace the people they are losing.
But why are their people leaving? Can they afford to keep doing this?
A Rich Company Culture is Key to Success
Employees have many things that motivate them, oftentimes things that money cannot buy. People choose to work for and stay working for companies that feed them – and their needs – in many ways.
It is the culture of the company – how employees are acknowledged, feel a sense of belonging, and have a passion for company goals that all contribute toward a positive – and profitable environment.
“Satisfied employees mean satisfied customers, which leads to profitability.”
– Anne M. Mulcahy, CEO, Xerox
I am not suggesting that all companies that pay high wages do not have good cultures. Nor am I suggesting that some people are motivated strictly by money.
What I am suggesting is that it’s not all about money.
Build a Reputation for Great Workplace Culture
There are many ways to create a company that has loyal, long-term employees and has established a reputation for a great workplace culture. Each person makes choices based on how they feel. When you understand that and get good at identifying it, you will have discovered the gold for your company.
The value of long-term employees verses the cost of turnover is enormous.
Consider the expense and time involved in hiring:
- Placing the ads, receiving and reviewing resumes. Screening candidates, setting up interviews, second and third interviews. Making offers, checking references, background checks.
- Onboarding and setting up new hires. Administrative requirements, i.e., legal, payroll, social security and taxes, benefits packages…
Then, the learning curve begins and after 3-6 months, you – and your employee – will know if you made a good decision.
Additionally, think about the cost of:
- What is not happening while the hiring process is going on?
- The person who is onboarding and then training – the time taken from their own job…
Oh – and what about the cost as employees watch the revolving door and perceive leadership as weak and/or wavering?
Investment in a Company: Is It Only Financial?
Most people associate an investor with financial dollars and profitable returns.
I believe anyone who gives any of their time, sweat and energy to an organization is also an investor. People are investing themselves as employees as much as a company invests in them. It is a mutual agreement where both are needed – and are trusting in each other.
The more return on the investment the investor sees, the more they GIVE.
Who benefits from a group of employees who GIVE more?
…And your organization, employees, customers, referrals, reviews and testimonials, and financial investors. What better investment can you make that impacts so much in helping your bottom line?
It doesn’t cost much to make these improvements, so why wouldn’t you?
- I care about businesses. Particularly small businesses that don’t have the resources that larger ones do to create great places and the training to teach these concepts.
- I value efficiency. Turn-over is wasteful. Creating a hard-working, determined and committed company filled with people who are passionate about what they are doing creates a positive culture.
It all begins with the leadership of the organization. A leader has an obligation to be a part of creating company culture, even if you are not at the top of the organization.
Cultivating Positive Workplace Culture Starts at the Top
Leaders are looked up to – and looked at. Key leadership traits are:
- Approachability. Create an environment that is welcoming and establishes trust for the organization.
- Accepting. When leaders are accepting of others’ views, ways and new ideas; the others in the organization respond by feeling more accepted and form a sense of belonging in the organization. The benefits of the diverse and open environment raise the standards and quality to the highest and best ideas and skills. This advances the organization for better positioning in the marketplace, regardless of industry.
- Connecting. When leaders connect with employees and encourage them to connect with each other, a sense of belonging is created. This offers longevity and an investment into the organization. When that exists, you create a culture where problems are more quickly, efficiently, and accurately resolved.
- Authentic. Here is where the definition of your culture really begins to create its personality. What does the company stand for? What does the company believe? Leaders consistently and authentically living that definition through every action, decision and position are viewed as authentic.
- Courageous. One must be vulnerable to successfully accomplish all attributes for a great leader. An organization that reflects a willingness to be incorrect, a willingness to live up to its claims and to be open, approachable, welcoming and accepting of all takes courage.
- Passionate. The root of the culture. The WHAT we are doing is in the authentic definition of what we stand for. The passion is the WHY we are doing it, the purpose, the dream, the mission. Where are we going and why. The passion of the organization is the blood of the organization. Without it, it is dead. If everyone understands the purpose and the passion, the blood makes the dream of the organization come to life.
“Culture is simply a shared way of doing something with a passion.”
– Brian Chesky, Co-Founder, CEO, Airbnb