The year 2014 started off with a bang. Last year was the strongest we’d seen since 2008, but even with the disruptive hand of mother-nature dumping snow on the South, the trends of first quarter point to a year as strong, or stronger, than pre-recession years. As a believer in the theory that staffing/recruiting act as a barometer for the economy as a whole, I’m confident that the mind-numbingly slow escape from recession is finally over.
If this is correct – if indeed the economy has regained healthy momentum, then Corporate Culture must be a point of intense focus for the best organizations. There are three main reasons why Corporate Culture matters more in 2014.
First, retention has not been a major concern since 2008. Companies, for the most part, did not have to compete for talent. Jobs were few and far between, and people tended to stay in a role even if they did not fit into an organization.
With the job market improving, these unsatisfied employees now have choices. If a person feels misaligned with his or her organization, that person is more likely to act upon their desire to move to a company where they jibe with the culture.
In exit interviews of employees who recently resigned, we are finding that many employees were hired for skills alone. During bad economic times, the opportunity to earn a decent salary outweighed environment, but the tide has changed. The opportunity to work for another organization where they perceived a better cultural fit led to resignations.
A second reason why Corporate Culture matters more in 2014, is tied to Return on Investment (ROI) and maximizing that return. Whether you are the owner of a company or a manager, ROI is critical to the success of your organization. If you have people who are misaligned with your culture, your ROI will not be maximized.
Corporate Culture is defined as the behavior of people who are part of an organization and the meanings that the people attach to those behaviors. It stands to reason that if you have a group that is in-sync around behavior and the meaning attributed to that behavior, then that group will outperform a less in-sync group. Therefore, a group of people sharing a culture will allow an organization to take greater advantage of an economic upturn like the one we are seeing today.
The third reason why Corporate Culture matters more in 2014 is related to hiring. Companies in this market are vying for talent. The era of 10 candidates for every job is over. A compelling case for joining a company must be offered in order to attract top talent.
We know, that while compensation is critical in a person’s decision to align with a company, a sense of mission – of purpose/meaning – is at least as important. With that truth in focus, it is imperative that great organizations are capable of articulating their Corporate Culture in attracting talent.
Baby Boomers are well known for showing up and doing their jobs no matter the environment – from their eyes Corporate Culture is just not looked upon as important. That is not the case with Gen X and Gen Y. These workforce generations actively seek out a corporate culture that fits their style.
One of our extremely successful clients doesn’t spend any time talking about duties and responsibilities during the first meeting with a candidate. They talk extensively about the mission and the culture of the organization. Then, they spend time talking to the candidate about their personal culture – life goals, hobbies, sports, and even entertainment.
If the candidate feels connected to the organization after this first meeting we set up an interview to talk about duties and responsibilities of the role. Initially, I thought the cultural exploration meeting would be viewed as a time waster by candidates. But instead, most candidates find this approach extremely refreshing and become much more enthusiastic about going to work for the company. By focusing extensively on cultural fit, this company enjoys an unbelievably high candidate acceptance rate.
By focusing on Corporate Culture, organizations can positively affect their retention rates, hiring ROI, and ability to hire top talent. If there is success in those three areas, then exceptional performance will be a result. With the recession behind us it seems to me that Corporate Culture matters even more in 2014. By focusing on Corporate Culture we can gain competitive advantage and enjoy the upswing market.