Prospective employees, especially the younger generation, are starting to value the importance of a positive company culture more and more. How does this affect the recruitment process and what can companies and HR professionals do to create a positive company culture?
As a new generation moves into the world of work, it’s important to keep tabs on the shift in attitudes on what people most value from their job. Many of this younger generation are now looking for more than a large salary or fancy new car from their work.
Whilst pay will clearly always be an important factor, many of today’s employees are placing a greater importance on company culture – being attracted to companies that have a positive working environment and reputation even over positions where they may be paid more.
This shift to valuing company culture helps both in retaining top employees as well as attracting new talent to an organisation.
If you are an employer or recruiter trying to attract new talent, what can you do to improve company culture and moreover to communicate these benefits to potential new employees?
Communicating company values to attract new talent
Company culture is an important factor in setting your business apart from the competition, making it attractive to new employees and customers alike. Although most companies will have their guidelines written in a company handbook, actions often speak louder than words. This means the conduct of management and employees and how this is transmitted is paramount.
Perhaps your company culture is about having fun and being creative, or do you offer stability and a sense of purpose to employees? These values often work well if they are embodied by the senior management. If you are in a management position in a company, what do you value most in the workplace? What are the core values of your organisation?
Put these values into action through company initiatives, whether it’s an extra day off for employees on their birthday or even a free pizza meal once a month. You will also want to publicise these benefits to the wider world through social media, Website blogs and on new job listings.
Map out career progression
Career progression is one of the most important factors for employees choosing where to work, with training courses and the potential for advancement proving vital for many job hunters.
The importance of career development seems to be even more prominent in young people. A recent poll by Gallup found that 59% of millennials say opportunities to learn and grow are extremely important to them when applying for a job. It is also hugely important for existing employees, with talented people more likely to leave if they feel they are stagnating in an unchallenging working environment.
Employers can have a section of their Website showcasing some success stories of employees who have progressed through the company. Showcasing this potential for advancement will mean prospective employees will consider your organisation a good place to develop their career over a longer period of time.
Make continuous career progression and personal development a key aspect of your company culture in order to retain and attract new talent.
A trusting employer-employee relationship
Many younger people also value a trusting relationship between the employer and employee when looking for a new role.
In the digitally-connected world with 24/7 email and mobile communications, the traditional distinction between working in an office and relaxing at home has become blurred. If employers want to get the most from their employees, they need to trust them with a flexible working timetable that can suit their needs.
This may mean making your working environment more casual, with the potential for flexible working hours; taking breaks to suit their working needs; and the ability to work from home all being valued highly.
Whilst it may not work for all employees, these measures will help show more autonomous employees you trust in their ability, which in turn will create a positive company culture for attracting new talent.
Instill a sense of purpose
Although true for most employees, many millennials place an even greater importance on having a sense of purpose in their work, often valuing this even over material benefits such as a large pay packet.
When advertising a role to a potential new recruit, make sure you outline how the company will value each individual’s ideas and input into the direction of the organisation. Describe how the day-to-day working timetable looks and how their actions will help the company develop in achieving its goals.
Expressing the importance of the role to the candidate at an early stage in the recruitment process is a great way to instill a sense of purpose and make your company culture more attractive to new and existing employees.
Perks of the job
Rather than simply offering generic employee perks, think about how rewards, benefits and incentives tie in with your over-arching company culture.
While a bonus will always be appreciated by any employee, a unique benefit linked to your company culture will help to foster a sense of belonging and purpose in the workplace, something that is becoming more and more important for retaining and attracting new staff.
For example, if you are an employer whose company culture focuses on sustainability and green initiatives, you could highlight how your company participates in the cycle-to-work scheme or even provides a monthly voucher for organic food.
Giving something back
Today’s job hunters and employees often highly value the social responsibility credentials of their workplace so ensure the company showcases any important work undertaken in these areas.
Whether it’s an annual charity fundraiser, supporting local community initiatives or reducing the environmental footprint of your organisation, being perceived as more than a corporate ‘money-making machine’ is a great way to attract new talent.
If you do participate in any of these activities, don’t be shy about them! Publicise your company’s social responsibility credentials through your Website, social media, industry publications and even through applying for business awards related to social responsibility.
Existing employees help illuminate your positive corporate culture
Current employees are the greatest asset for providing social proof of a positive company culture. Potential employees want to hear from the existing workforce on what it’s like to work for your company, with many candidates now checking employer review sites such as Glassdoor and Indeed before they apply for a job.
In the same way consumers check independent user reviews before buying a product, prospective employees are using employer review sites to pre-screen their workplace. All it takes is a few disgruntled employees posting negative reviews on the sites to fatally undermine the attractiveness of an organisation. If possible, make sure these platforms have more positive than negative reviews by encouraging current employees to leave good feedback about your company culture.
Whether it’s through social media, a Website Blog or asking employees to write a review of your company culture, it’s important to showcase your positive working culture to the wider world.
In conclusion, many more young people are valuing company culture over traditional job perks such as a high salary and other material benefits.
A positive working environment, career progression and social responsibility initiatives are becoming more influential in choosing where to work. Due to this shift in attitudes, employers need to make sure they have a strategy to provide a harmonious workplace culture which appeals to not only their existing workforce but also potential new recruits.
In many cases businesses are already implementing many of the aspects that go towards creating a positive company culture, however they are failing to effectively communicate them to prospective employees.
In order to convince new employees your business is a great place to work, you should effectively publicise the positive aspects of the company culture through the company Website, workplace review sites and through social media.
About the Author
Matthew works for recruitment agency Anderson Hoare, a London-based firm specialising in the recruitment of administrative staff. When not blogging about recruitment, you will find Matthew as far away from a computer as possible – wild camping or hiking in the mountains.