· Eve Church  · 6 min read

Why Your Company Culture May Be More Important Than You Think

Yes, benefit packages, opportunity for growth, and flexibility such as the hybrid work model offers are important to many employees, but so too is company culture.

Like most people, if you’re looking for a new job, you will probably have a list of wants that you’ll need fulfilling if you’re going to seriously consider accepting a position in the event that it’s offered to you.

And like most people, a fair and decent salary is probably on that list. However, somewhat surprisingly, pay is not at the very top of everyone’s agenda and there are a number of other factors that are increasingly coming into play when job seekers are on the hunt for a new role.

Yes, benefit packages, opportunity for growth, and flexibility such as the hybrid work model offers are important to many employees, but so too is company culture. People want more from their workplace and leaders, no matter what industry they’re in, and salary and a basic vacation allowance are no longer enough to cut it.

Read more: Would Your Company Benefit From a More Creative Culture?

Why your company culture may be more important than you think

An organization’s philosophy and beliefs are becoming more and more important to those looking for a new job, with many researching a company’s principles before applying for a vacancy there.

Indeed, a report from LinkedIn states that “75% of job seekers consider an employer’s brand before even applying for a job.”

This all ties in with having a great company culture which is also becoming more important in the eyes of the modern job seeker. Of course, a paycheck at the end of the month is crucial too, after all, who wants to work for free?!

But an awesome company culture leads to better job satisfaction and in these days of high stress, side hustles, the gig economy and employee burnout, being happy and satisfied at work counts for a great deal.

Read more: How Your HR Team Can Offer More Support to Your People

And company culture and practices such as exhibiting compassion and showing your employees recognition not only attracts people to your organization in the first place, it also helps retain employees too.

How can you create a company culture that stands out?

Many organizations are now sitting up and taking notice of the change in priorities for job seekers and are working to ensure that their business is aligned with the type of values that most people expect from a forward-thinking company.

Smart companies (and recruitment agencies) know that salary and work-life balance are still meaningful, but they are also now pushing how amazing the culture is in their workplace, and how progressive or worthwhile their ethos is.

So what do you need to focus on if you want to start building a company culture that motivates, inspires, attracts and retains people?

  • Your company’s values and philosophy
  • The quality and strength of your leaders
  • The transparency and approachability of your leaders
  • The willingness to ask for, accept, and act upon employee feedback
  • The real opportunities for progression and growth within the company
  • Your fair policies regarding areas such as maternity and paternity leave and vacation allowance
  • The options for training and education, both within a department and cross-departmentally
  • Your attractive employee perks such as free snacks, subsidized gym membership and the ability to take duvet days

However, whether you’re trying to build a new and improved company culture or create one from scratch where none has previously existed, the not-so-great news is that it is impossible to do so over the course of a few weeks or even months.

Good company cultures can’t be faked - your employees will cotton on pretty quickly if they spot that you’re only paying lip service.

To get started, you need to lay the groundwork and that comes by working on the sort of relationships that you want to foster between you as the HR Department, your managers and team leaders and the rest of your employees.

And that means:

  • Communicating clearly: from your onboarding process for new hires to the way that expectations and targets for tasks and projects are relayed to employees, it is vital that information is given concisely and helpfully, and that the giver of info checks that the person receiving it has understood.
  • Leading by example: if you want your people to be respectful of one another, to take accountability, to be proactive and engaged, you (and the company’s leaders) must be willing to live by those same traits.
  • Being positive: sometimes things don’t go as planned but unless there is a serious breach of company protocol, ethics, rules, or standards, address the issue and move on. A positive approach to life in the office will always have a better outcome than ruling with fear. Praise, or even reward, employees for work well done and you’ll be creating not only a better atmosphere and culture but increasing the likelihood that they exceed expectations for the next project.
  • Establishing trust: transparent communication will really help to establish a level of trust between employees and managers. And so too will asking for, listening to, and acting upon employee feedback.
  • Checking in with people: not only about how work is progressing but also if you as HR, or their manager, thinks that someone is struggling and could do with a little help - on a professional level as well as personal. And don’t forget about checking in with your remote workers too!

Read more: 6 Ways to Show Your Employees a Little Love

Why your company culture is more important than you think: conclusion

Nobody wants to go to work and be miserable. Granted, we all have those days when getting through the day is like pulling teeth and those of us who leap out of bed with a huge grin on our face and our arms outstretched as if we were in an advert for breakfast cereal are few and far between.

But when you have a company culture that is meaningful, transparent, motivational and engaging, not only are you going to attract more top talent and retain the great people you already have working for you, but you’ll have a happier, more positive - and therefore more productive and profitable - workforce too.

Put simply, salary is not the be all and end all anymore. People want (and deserve) to feel supported and satisfied at work and as the data shows, you should be ignoring this very real shift in recruitment and retention at your company’s peril.

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