3 Steps to Attract Top Talent Through Culture

This post is Part 4 in a Salesjournal Series on “Making Your Business Attractive to Top Talent.”  Part 1 asks “Is Your Business Attractive to Top Talent?”, Part 2 describes how to “Market Your Company and Positions to Attract Top Talent”, Part 3 outlines ways to “Cultivate Your Network to Attract Top Talent“, and Part 5 asks Want Top Talent? Rethink Benefits“.

cultureWhether you know it or not, your company culture may be the single biggest factor affecting your ability to hire and retain top talent. More than 30% of employees believe they’ll be working someplace else inside of 12 months, and more than 50% say they have different values than their employer, according to the article “10 Reasons Your Top Talent Will Leave You” on Forbes.com. High performers are attracted to organizations that match their drive and values.

To ensure your culture can play an instrumental role in improving the talent level in your organization, follow these 3 steps:

  1. Consciously Define and Describe Your Culture
  2. Embed and Reinforce Your Culture
  3. Promote Your Culture Publicly

Consciously Define and Describe Your Culture

When defining your company’s culture, ask yourself “What characteristics of our organization help to serve our customers best?” and “What makes our company unique?” Top performers are inspired to work for companies with an innovative and unique culture and defining these variables will help candidates find the environment in which they will best succeed.

Get your team members and leaders involved in this process. Having input from others will help you clarify the type of culture you are trying to build. Defining the culture you want needs to be a conscious action – it won’t happen naturally. However you decide to do this, make sure you are precise and explicit about who you want to be – and write it down!

Embed and Reinforce Your Culture

When potential candidates walk into your company, what do they see? Is the culture you desire evident in the workplace environment?

Once you have intentionally defined the culture you want, the next step is to embed it into your organization. Communicate to your employees the culture you desire and their role in it. Weave your cultural message into meetings, informal conversations, and even company emails. The more your employees know about and understand the cultural values you desire, the more likely those values will be honored and reflected in their behavior.

Your employees should demonstrate the values and characteristics of your company every day. If you chose for your culture to be more respectful, make sure people are treating each other with respect. If you want a more playful culture, make sure that people are infusing fun into their work. Leaders, set the tone and live it yourselves!  If specific employees aren’t a match for your desired culture, don’t be afraid to make changes – it only takes a few detractors to derail your plans.

As you bring in new employees, managers and leaders into your company, make sure that they are compatible with your company’s message and values. Equip your team with the knowledge to screen candidates based on who will be the best fit within your culture. If you use third-party recruitment services, verify they are using cultural match as a key criteria in their selection.

 Promote Your Culture Publicly

Don’t just tell potential candidates about your company; show them.

Who better to demonstrate and share you culture than your employees? Encourage your team to promote your company’s culture to their connections through posts on Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn. Posting pictures of company outings or community service projects will help potential candidates get a sense of what it would be like to work for your company. Make it easy for employees to share by including social media links in newsletters or announcements.  For example, NPR has established a tagboard where employees use a custom hashtag, #NPRlife, to post pictures and comments about what it’s like to work at NPR.

Your company website is also a great place to highlight the things that are unique to your culture. For example, post pictures of your team’s involvement in the community.  Include content featuring what it is like to work for your company, including social events, special projects, or unique dynamics that will be of interest.  Make sure all jobs listed on the career section of your website contain a description of your company’s culture and values and the types of candidates that you want.

Defining and embedding your culture is not something that can be done overnight. It will take a lot of planning, communicating, and most importantly, patience. The long range payoff of attracting and keeping the right people will be enormous.

Share with us how you create, encourage and share your culture to get top talent.