Updated: May 26
There is a lot of talk these days about the “Great Resignation” where people are realizing the choices they have in front of them with how they fill the hours in the day and the money in their bank accounts. As was before the pandemic but likely in a greater light now, organizational culture is key in not only attracting talent but most importantly – retaining talent. So how do you go about ensuring that your company culture is one that will keep your talent pool nice and deep?
Leadership Buy In
Ok yes this is a no-brainer but I’m going to talk about it anyways. Without leadership buying into the culture that the organization is trying to either promote or maintain, it will fall apart faster than anything. Leaders will display the culture that the rest of the organization will follow – good or bad. If you have a CEO who shuts off outside of business hours, chances are you are going to feel good about not working late or on weekends just to “set the bar”. VP’s who are constantly taking the time to know their team members on a personal level (“how is your kid’s soccer team doing?”, “how did your wife’s surgery go?”) will show to their reports - who are also leaders - the type of empathy and relationship building techniques that help establish a strong team.
Focus on Values, Not Perks
One of the most culture-centric organizations I ever worked at had a very interesting way of defining and promoting culture. Define a set of core values (yes, everyone does this) but then walk the walk. After every team meeting, we had a rule where we would go around the table and each person would be asked to recite one of our core values (there were five). Furthermore, we always strived to ensure that with each work day, that at least one of our actions that day extolled one or more of our company values. Culture is built on values, not perks like free chips or a foosball table in the spare office. Culture needs to be engrained and imprinted in our daily work lives as a mantra that we follow. Having a set of core values to help your teams navigate this is essential.
Culture is not built in a day, nor is it eroded in a day. Make sure that as you are trying to set the tone for company culture that short term expectations are managed and realistic. When implementing any sort of a culture change it will take time however by focusing on key items such as sticking to your core values and ensuring that your leadership is truly leading by example you will be taking a giant first step towards cementing a healthy and attractive company culture.