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Use your corporate culture to attract top talent

Use your corporate culture to attract top talent

By: Dawn Papandrea, Monster contributor

Consider this:Only 31% of HR leaders say their organization has the culture it needs, according to research by Gartner, a research and advisory company.

In other words, most companies recognize that they are in the midst of a cultural shift (or need to start one) in order to attract top candidates in the coming years.

“What they’re thinking about is the culture they have right now is not necessarily the culture they need to succeed or support the types of people that they need in their organization,” saysBryan Kurey, managing vice president at Gartner’s HR Practice.

Today’s candidates, he adds, are looking for more than a job. “They’re looking for something that they can attach to, that represents themselves in certain ways,” says Kurey. This is why both employers and job seekers are on the lookout for that elusive “cultural fit.”

And in the current job landscape where it’s not unusual for a candidate to have multiple offers in front of them, culture becomes even more crucial.

So what if your culture isn’t exactly up to par?

“Having a desirable culture has a direct correlation to an organization’s ability to attract and hire the best talent,” says Steven Cates, an HR management expert and professor at Purdue University Global’s School of Business and Information Technology. That also means the opposite is true: a lackluster culture could be hurting your recruitment efforts.

 Do some culture soul-searching

First of all, do you even know what your corporate culture is?  Most people—and organizations for that matter—don’t.

“People generally don’t have a clear understanding of what culture is and what to do about it, says Josh Levine, author of “Great Mondays: How to Design a Company Culture Employees Love.” Here’s a hint:

 It’s not ping pong and pizza,” he says. “Instead, culture is all about your organization’s purpose, values and behaviors.”

“Why are you in business beyond making money? Why would anyone choose to join your organization?” asks Levine.

For example, Patagonia sells outerwear to make money, but its purpose is to encourage people to explore the great outdoors.

When you consider that the best talent is being wooed by other employers, you definitely want your culture to be the reason that candidates want to come work with you.

If you’re struggling with the state of your culture or how prospective hires are perceiving your employer brand, here are some ways to get it back on track.

 Start at home

 Do your employees know what the culture is, and can they articulate it when they talk with candidates, with their friends? That’s where values come into play.

If purpose is your “why,” values are your “how,” says Levine – how your culture comes to life in your workplace.

“Your employees are going to be your best ambassadors of your culture, as much as your PR organization or your company career websites,” says Kurey.

Making sure everyone within the organizations understands the culture that you’re trying to put into place is important, says Kurey, but it should be natural, not a robotic word-for-word recitation of your company values.

“As the candidate goes through this journey of trying to learn more about the organization, are they getting the same feeling across interactions, whether or not the words are different?” he asks. The answer, of course, should be yes.

Look for ways to infuse culture into the hiring experience

 “When you walk into a place you immediately get a feeling, a gut reaction,” says Levine. “You know if something is off, or if this looks like a fun place. That’s a symptom of culture.”

So what is the story you’re telling candidates?

“Oftentimes folks walk into relatively generic office environment, and we’re not creating those moments where we can reflect our culture back to candidates as we’re introducing them to our organizations,” saysKurey.

It could be as simple as posting your company values in the entryway, or a framed picture of the founders–something authentic that relates to your culture that can also be a conversation starter.

And even before they step foot into your office space, you can give them a tour -and a taste – of your culture using video. All of Monster’s job postings come with free video from Monster Studios to help bring your job and company to life. You can create a fun and engaging video right from your smartphone sharing the highlights of what makes working at your organization so rewrding Take a look at how Monster Studios works here.

Back up culture with action

In a perfect world, culture should influence everything including the budget, the staffing, the structure, and the policies that are being put in place. But sometimes there is a disconnect between the lofty visions a company has and what actually goes on, says Kurey.

“That’s the blind spot that many organizations have. They can get everyone aligned to say the right things, but what they’re often not doing is putting the structure behind that vision that then allows it to play out in the employees’ day to day work.”

When that happens, it creates cultural tensions.

“So you might say ‘we are an innovative company,’ but then in your budgets, you don’t fund innovation projects that don’t have a clear business outcome,” says Kurey. “Now there’s a tension between what you say the culture is, and what you’re actually doing, and that starts to erode the culture and how it gets reflected,” he adds.
See what new hires think about your culture

One of the best ways to find out what attracts candidates to your company is to conduct an entrance interview with new hires and ask, says Cates.

“This would provide great insight on why talented candidates say yes and exactly how many chose you based on your culture or brand or other relevant organization factors as a deciding factor,” he explains.

That way, if the candidate tells you they have heard wonderful things about the organization and its treatment of employees and their friends have all mentioned you as a great place to work, it can reaffirm that your culture is clear and working for you.

On the flipside, you can also have your recruiters follow up with candidates who don’t accept your offers to see if they could share feedback as to why.

Taking deliberate steps to either enhance an already positive corporate culture, or in some cases, work toward reshaping one that isn’t working, is imperative for many reasons, but especially for attracting and retaining talent.

Says Levine, “you must proactively design your culture – it’s too important to leave it to chance.”

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Monster’s employer branding solutions can help you reshape or build a brand that presents candidates and employees with an authentic, compelling, consistent story about your purpose, values, and culture. Learn more