We have been talking a lot about company culture and the importance of employee engagement lately. In this post we will focus on what good company culture is and how the right culture is key to a good customer retention programme. It’s very easy to assume that good company culture is all about the perks these days, when we all refer to and are wowed by the impressive perks associated with the large technology companies in particular. And while perks do indeed attract employees to your organisation, perks alone do not get staff to stay. All the free food, yoga classes or office massages in the world would not keep many in an uncomfortable or high stress working environment. But having an established company culture will go a long way in helping. So if it’s not the perks, what does define a good company culture? 1. Core Values ‘Culture is the result of behaviours. Behaviours are guided by values.’ It’s incredibly easy to be cynical of company values and assume these are just well meaning words that don’t add anything to the day-to-day running of a company. However, when properly developed, communicated and executed, these values are the guideposts for company behaviours and no matter how much the company changes these will remain.Core values should be then embedded into every aspect of the business (hiring, performing, communication, recognition etc.) from the top down and this will guide how your employees work. When employees are passionate about the values and mission of your company, they are engaged in their job and want to help their company succeed. 2. Putting People First You can’t have a good company culture without putting people first. Your staff are the heart of your business, ignoring them leads to low morale and poor attitude and results in low productivity and performance. On the other hand when employees feel cared about, they tend to stay longer, work harder and have higher productivity so looking after your staff is a win-win for everyone.Employees want to feel valued, so you can’t underestimate the importance of recognition. And you don’t need an unlimited budget to do this, a simple company email recognising a team member’s achievement can do wonders for that employee’s morale. Or having a staff announcements section on your company intranet can encourage real camaraderie amongst your employees.As you grow if you can provide bigger perks such as free health insurance, onsite gym etc. that’s great but don’t forget the basics of recognition and camaraderie. And when rolling out perks, listening and identifying what your employees want creates a culture of understanding and openness making staff feel comfortable and valued. 3. Being Consistent Many make the mistake of seeing “Company Culture” as a one-time exercise. That once defined, that’s it done and it’ll be fine left to its own devices… Wrong! Now that you’ve defined your company culture you need to pay attention to it. Culture is constantly evolving so monitor it and be open to feedback from your employees. Some things might not work and may need to be reshaped as you grow. For more information on the importance of company culture and how to identify future employees based on cultural fit please contact Sigmar on 01-4744600
Most companies have a phrase to capture cultural fit, such as “no jerks policy”, “no egos”, “no a**hole policy” etc. and as crude as they sound they are very subjective and typically administered on gut feel. For such a subjective judgment call that’s critical to every hire, how do organisations apply this consistently? Here are three key principles to selecting talent for cultural fit; 1. Understand the Authenticity of Culture Culture is the collective behaviours in the organisation, influenced by beliefs and practices. It’s the heartbeat and pulse of the organisation which ebbs and flows as the personality and character of people change. It is organic and blossoms from the people in the organisation. It can’t be forced – it needs to be authentic as Zappos CEO, Tony Hsieh recently discovered when he introduced a new way of working to his organisation. The e-tailer bought by Amazon for $1.2bn in 2002 has long been admired for its unique culture, so much so that Hsieh penned a book on it called “Delivering Happiness” which has established him as an international guru on the topic. On March 24, 1,500 or so Zappos employees got a memo from Tony concerning their transition to a new way of working called “Holacracy” (a manager-free operating structure that is composed, in theory, of equally privileged employees working in task-specific circles, often overlapping). Hsieh began experimenting with Holacracy in 2013 as a way of maintaining Zappos’ lauded employee-centric environment as it continued to grow. On April 30th 2015, he offered an ultimatum: embrace self-management or we’ll give you a three-month severance package to leave. By May, 210 Zappos employees, or 14% of the company, had taken the offer. Although the jury is out on Holocracy, it was a costly lesson to learn (even for a guru) that culture can’t be forced – it needs to be authentic. The clearer it is defined, the easier it is to select for. 2. Values Have Value if they are Truly Valued and…Indicated If culture is the result of behaviours, what guides behaviours? Values alone won’t guide behaviours. Integrity, Communication, Respect, Excellence hung in the boardroom of Enron before its infamous collapse! Clearly defining indicators of values is what guides behaviour. Take Hubspot for example, who used one key guiding value, to scale from an MIT spin out to a $billion valuation in 2015, which was “use good judgment”. Understanding that peoples judgment varies, they gave a clear indicators of what they mean to act as a beacon around behaviours asking employees to remember the following hierarchy when making a decision: How does your decision positively impact (1) the customer (2) the company (3) your team and (4) you. Clear indicators align behaviour! Identify indicators of values and assess against the indicators. 3. Purpose Beyond Task Dan Pink emphasized the importance of purpose when he wrote about what motivates people to do their best work through his “Motivation Trifecta”: Mastery, Autonomy and Purpose! Author of the “Little Prince”, Antoine De Saint Exipery once wrote: “If you want to build a ship, don’t drum up the people to gather wood, divide the work and give orders. Instead teach them to yearn for the vast and endless sea.” Culture is sometimes a blend of what you are and what you aspire to be as an organisation. If you clearly understand what you aspire to be, there is a point where your value indicators and purpose meet and this is where authentic values meet purpose! Probe candidates impact on values that align with purpose beyond task. Look for points in their career where they influenced the dynamic of a team through reflecting values with a true sense of purpose. Call it what you like, apply consistently and never compromise on cultural fit.
Getting the recruitment process and candidate experience right has a significant effect on company’s branding beyond the immediate result of hiring a well-qualified scientist or engineer. Candidates who are unsuccessful but perceive themselves to be treated fairly, given timely and genuine feedback, will speak positively about the firm involved. If the candidate has a memorable experience, feels like they were listened to and given genuine consideration, the organisation is building a reputable company brand on the market. And the opposite is clearly true as well: candidates may speak to others in the industry about a poor experience in terms of waiting a number of weeks for feedback, or an interview that seemed disorganised. There are a number of key stages in the recruitment process which can influence what impression candidates have of your organisation. These can be particularly important in terms of sourcing life sciences candidates as the scientists, chemists, quality assurance professionals and others often stress to recruiters that they care about the values of a prospective employer. Among the important stages are: Initial stage; firstly if multiple hiring managers are involved, the requirements for the job itself need to be agreed before sourcing begins or differing views could hold up decisions mid process or even at final stages. Planning together will minimise later disagreement about what different candidates might bring to a job and also keep to a minimum the number of meetings required with preferred candidates. Interview process; this needs to be timely and efficient with again a minimum amount of delay. Feedback to unsuccessful candidates should be prompt (within less than a week ideally) and with something specific they can take as feedback from the process. At offer; hiring companies need also to get across selling points of the kind of career and organisation they offer. Not selling the benefits of your organisation to a top applicant could mean they decide in favour of another organisation which is providing clarity on career opportunities, benefits and so on. As the market becomes a more difficult arena to source talent in, the impressions a company makes on applicants can be a powerful tool for generating interest from potential future candidates. A strong company brand in the life sciences sector will have received good feedback, referrals from satisfied candidates and become a resilient name among professionals.
In an increasingly competitive recruitment landscape, there has never been a better time to develop an employer branding strategy to stand above the competition and target talent at the right frequency. Here we list the 5 steps needed to build your employer branding strategy. 1. Focus When developing an employer branding strategy a company needs to ensure that it has established clearly defined goals and aspirations in relation to the process. Do you want to improve brand awareness, are you doing this with a big recruitment drive in mind, are you focusing on improving retention rates? You need to be sure about your reasons for embarking on an employer branding initiative before you begin. You can then focus your employer brand strategy and tailor it accordingly. You need to be sure about what exactly you as a company offer your employees. This will be dictated by the employer value proposition (EVP). If you are not 100% clear about what you offer, you are limiting the effectiveness of your employer brand strategy. 2. Getting buy-in As already alluded to, receiving buy-in from the CEO and Senior Management is of paramount importance in launching an employer branding strategy. It has to receive support from the top down and have every level of the company on board if it is to achieve its maximum impact. Make sure that the departments principally involved in implementing the branding strategy like communications, marketing and HR know their roles and are on the one wavelength so that the entire company is pulling in the one direction. 3. Budgeting As with any initiative that a business commits to, it is important to know what the costs will be in advance. Undertaking research to define your EVP, then promoting it through your employer brand strategy will use resources so make sure you budget adequately beforehand. Defining the objectives from your employer brand strategy before you launch into it will help you put your resources to best use in the long run and assist you in in keeping the project on time and within budget. 4. Be true to your Employer Brand Do not underestimate the importance of projecting your true EVP through your employer branding strategy. Don’t try and be something you’re not. Put simply you need to be as honest as possible with your employer branding. This will definitely increase your chances of attracting and retaining people who are the right fit for your organisation. If people join your company under the impression that working for you will involve certain things, when in reality it won’t, the chances are they will become dissatisfied and move on again. Hires that are attracted by your genuine EVP will be more content in their jobs allowing them to flourish and produce amazing results. 5. Promoting your Employer Brand Typically the marketing and communications departments are entrusted with promoting a company’s employer brand. A whole host of channels can be utilised, such as your website, social media, print, events and PR. Contact Us For a confidential discussion on how we can assist you with your staffing and recruitment needs, please contact Kate McGuinness on +353 1 4744609 or email email@example.com.