Culture trumps cash as deciding factor for today’s top job candidates

Culture is more important to today’s job candidates than money. The younger generation is empowered by a culture centered on purpose, which gives companies that have clearly defined values and a culture that supports those values a powerful differentiator.
“There’s a war for top talent going on, especially in high-demand industries, so companies must differentiate themselves to stay competitive,” says Aaron Grossman, CEO of Alliance Solutions Group.

The hardest part for both employer and employee is neither ever knows if they’re a good fit for each other until a decision is made and an employee is in place. It becomes a matter of a company projecting the most accurate depiction of its values into the market so candidates can get a strong sense of what it’s like to work for that company before they step through the door.

Smart Business spoke with Grossman about the importance of culture on talent acquisition and retention.

What are the signs that a culture is good? That it’s bad?

Initially, in judging whether a culture is good or bad, a new employee will compare the picture the employer painted of the work environment during the interview stage against his or her feeling once in the door. If a company has managed expectations correctly, it’s a sign of good culture.

Other indicators of a good culture are high levels of employee engagement, employees who readily say good things about the company and employees who would refer their friends to the company.

High retention rates are also a good sign. When employees do leave, understanding why they left can give an employer a clue as to how employees feel about the work environment. Leaving isn’t always a bad thing. In a defined culture there will be some people in the organization, who upon reflection, realize they’re not in the best fit for their long-term career goals and they find another opportunity.

If it’s a bad culture, employees are doing the absolute minimum and there’s a lack of communication. Employees aren’t talking to each other or being candid and moving past issues to work together.

How might a company’s culture impact its ability to retain employees?

Good employees get offers from other companies. Whether they stay with their current employer in the face of another offer is often directly related to their current employer’s culture. Employees typically would rather be a part of a company with a great culture than leave for a few thousand dollars more.

It’s commonly understood that turnover has a high cost. It can take at least four months to get someone new producing at or near the level of the person who was replaced. That ramping-up period can cost an employer thousands of dollars, and that doesn’t include the search process and on-boarding.

A strong culture is important to a company’s productivity. When you have an aligned culture and people who are really connected to it, your productivity increases immensely.

How does a company’s culture get projected into the market?

Social media provides transparency around a company’s culture, showcasing what the work environment is like through pictures and text. This messaging allows a company to highlight what it’s involved with and the good things employees are doing.

Another way companies project their culture and values into the market is through community involvement. Supporting causes or otherwise being active in community initiatives gives prospective employees a sense of what the company sees as important.

What can employers do to nurture a great employee experience?

Having clearly defined company values allows leadership to manage employees to those values, which ensures every market interaction is in alignment. It’s important that business leaders who talk about culture can define it. When you can simplify what your culture is in a few words, it empowers and engages employees because they’re working under a clear purpose.

Insights Talent is brought to you by Alliance Solutions Group