How Attractive is Your Company Culture?

Today’s job seekers are interested in more than just the bottom line salary, benefits, and job titles – today’s candidates want to work for a company with an enjoyable company culture that they can be proud of.

When candidates seek out new employment opportunities they often want to know – before they are even hired – What’s the job really like, and what is the day-to-day energy of the company and the employees?

(HR Tip: You might want to do a web search on your company name + employee reviews. You can find online reviews of past employees and what they’ve think of your company and the culture. This would also give you an opportunity to write a response back and address any misinformation if required.)

Some questions to consider in the evaluation of your company culture include:

  • How well do employee’s work together?
  • How do employee’s and management communicate?
  • How does the company deal with new ideas and suggestions?
  • Have you recently undergone layoffs – how were these handled?
  • What does the company value?
  • What do the people in the company value?
  • How does the company cultivate culture?
  • How is conflict handled?
  • What is your turnover?

Company culture can be changed and improved, but it starts with awareness about the current state of the cultural dynamics.

Today’s candidates want companies that care about their people, foster opportunities, and offer a positive and balanced work environment. So, if you’d like candidates to clamor over your next open position place attention on your company culture and seek to improve it in all areas and functions.

What’s important to you in your company culture?

Creating an Employee Attracting Company Culture

Have you heard of those companies where the company culture is so good, so grand, that it’s written about in books and talked about in movies? Some companies just get it, they understand that culture goes beyond offering two weeks’ vacation and a company holiday party.

The younger generation of employees aren’t willing to work for just anyone anymore. They want companies that are cutting edge, care about their environment, and care about their people. If you think your people should work long hours, forgo their family life, and never take vacation…well, you may want to think again.

Imagine a company with a company culture so grand that productivity is up, morale is high, healthcare costs are reduced, and the employees are more loyal than ever. Sounds delightful, doesn’t it?

It can happen and there are many company’s who can prove it.

 Take Patgonia, an outdoor clothing store. This company cares about the environment and its people. Employees can earn paid time off for a sabbatical after so many years of service. Clothing is made out of recyclable material and old clothing is accepted to be properly disposed of.

What about New Belgium Brewery – a brewery with happy and loyal employees who receive their traditional bike imprinted on their beer labels after a few years of service, along with other great perks and benefits.

 There are many companies out there who go above and beyond for their employee. To make your company stand out in a marketplace of qualified candidates create a culture where people fight for years to get in, and then never want to leave.

Raising the Bar of Your Company Culture

Company culture is often a mysterious thing, it evolves as employees and managers move through the ranks, as people come and go, and new employees enter the scene. Company culture has the power to make or break company morale.

So how can you raise the bar on your company culture? Here are a few tips at keeping the culture high.

1. Avoid competing against one another. Using competition within the company can create conflict and resentment, instead use team competition and reward the company or group for meeting their goals. For example, instead of using sales people against one another make a team goal for all sales people to increase sales by 20%. Pair them up with the accounting department to decrease past due payments by 7%. Make the competition fun and light hearted and all around to support the overall good of the company.

 2. Encourage philanthropy. You can do this as a company or for individuals. Support and recognize employees who donate their time and money to charitable organizations. Offer additional “community service” days off to encourage employees to take time to give to others. This is extremely beneficial  to company morale., Employees who are happier with their company work harder, and are willing to go the extra mile when they know their company will go the extra mile for them.

3.    Listen to your people. Employees like to feel heard and understood. Unfortunately, many corporations make decisions and let them filter down without considering the people the decisions will affect. Simply asking for what the people think, how things can be done better, and what changes they think will have the biggest impact can significantly improve your company culture. There’s nothing worse than employees who feel that nothing they do or say matters within the company.

4. Celebrate successes. As your company reaches its goals, reduces overhead, goes a year without an injury or whatever it is – celebrate! If there’s a reason to celebrate at the end people may work harder to achieve what you (the company) wants.

5.    Values. Honor the company values and the employee’s values. Values like family, time off, and honoring religious or spiritual beliefs goes a long way. Work and life shouldn’t be separate and instead they should be integrated and balanced. Allow your employees to feel complete in all aspects of their work and life by allowing flexibility based on values.

Beating Procrastination in Your Job Search

Procrastination is sure to seep in when your job search begins to take months longer than expected. It’s important to recognize when you are avoiding searching for jobs and getting down on any potential opportunities.

If you feel procrastination coming on and notice “avoidance” setting in, there are a few things you can do to overcome this feeling and move into better territory so when that new employer does call, you are ready, confident, and eager to answer the phone.

  1. Take a break. When you are avoiding looking for new jobs you have the sense that you “should” be doing something else and guilt can set in. Give yourself permission to take a break, that way you can avoid some guilt-free downtime. If you allow yourself to take a day off to get outside, have some fun, visit with family or just “veg” out, you won’t feel guilty about scouring the internet for the latest job postings and in turn you’ll feel more refreshed when you come back to it.
  2. Do something for someone else. You can always find people less fortunate than yourself, and during a time when you are feeling down the best thing that you can do to life your spirits is to help someone else in need. Find a place to volunteer and create a habit of showing up to serve others. The simple act of giving can get you back into a positive mood and right back into the swing of things.
  3. Change your routine. While it may be hard to muddle up the energy to get out of the house on some-days, it’s essential to your well being. A simple change of pace like looking for jobs at the local coffee shop or visiting the library to brush up on your interview skills can do a lot of good. Don’t get stuck in a routine that weighs you down, change things up a bit and keep them fresh and fun.

What to Look For When Choosing Your Next Company

Usually when you start out looking for your next position we tend to worry more about the annual salary, benefits, vacation days, traveling or the drive to and from work; however, while all of these things are important there are a few more components of a company that could make or break your new position regardless of the glamorous (or not so glamorous) salary, benefits, and perks.

Here are few things to look out for beyond the stereotypical items listed above.

First, what does the new company offer? Meaning what is it they are selling, how do they generate revenue and bring in the money to actually pay your salary.  If you are currently unemployed a job in general could be a great thing regardless of what they sell, but a job can be very temporary if you take the wrong one and you will quickly find yourself back out on the search engines looking for the next best thing. Take some time to look into what the company is offering, what products and services they are selling and see how aligned you are with the offer. Are you passionate about it, skilled at it, do you know a lot about it or at least have a desire to?  While this may sound basic, believing in and loving what your company does will help you move up the ranks faster. Start off on the right foot and assess whether your new potential company and you truly are the right fit.

What’s their mission?  Most companies have a mission statement and while they vary in their use and implementation of it, it will still give you a good idea of what the company values.  If you know your values you can easily see how you and the new company may or may not agree on how situations are handled. Understanding the company’s mission statement helps to understand the foundation upon in which the company was built, and  hopefully you can add to their mission and help share their message as well.

How’s the company culture? The culture of a company varies greatly from one to another. Some offices are fun and creative while others are more serious and independent. While culture is hard to ascertain without being enmeshed in it, ask as many questions as you can about the office environment and the energy of the employees. You might find that some company cultures do not fit with your style and personality, leaving for a very unhappy employee.

How’s the turnover rate? If you want a position and a company in which you can grow and advance, take a look at the turnover rate of the company. Unfortunately, some companies have a “burn and turn” mentality – where they hire and fire fast just to fill the positions without thinking about the long term. To these companies it is more important that the have someone (or anyone rather) to do a job than having the right person at all.  They simply burn through new hires leaving a constant rotating door in the human resources office. If a company’s turnover rate is extremely high, it’s okay to question what’s going on within the company culture to create this and which leads us to the last thing to consider.  

How does the company feel about their employees?  While not all companies honor creativity and independent thinking like Pixar where employees ride around on skateboards, have a movie theater, café’s and other spaces that encourage creativity, it does show you how Pixar feels about their employees. Not all companies can afford the luxury of providing high class services and perks to their employees, but they can value them enough to think about their employees as a part of their “customers.” When employees are happier they perform better and treat customers better which in turn leads to higher revenue and greater profits for the business. Take a look at what, if anything, your new potential company does for its employees.

Overall, be sure to check out “all” of the company before deciding to take a new position. You want to know that you fit in and they fit with you and your desires as well.  You may not get all the perks and benefits that you want, but taking a smaller salary to have a great company culture, and an employer who really cares about you could mean all the difference in the world when it comes to waking up every day and loving your job!