Attracting Top Talent: The Importance of Company Culture

It is no secret that talented people are a critical driver of corporate success. All companies need top talent to drive business, create efficiencies and provide the utmost value in their position. With unemployment at record lows, employers must focus their search on passive candidates, i.e. those that are currently working but looking for a new opportunity.

So how do you attract these top tier employees?  What are the “tricks” to have these people knocking on your door or better yet, waiting on a list to be hired? Think of Google, which has 2 to 3 million applicants a year in additions to those recruited directly, referred or from job fairs. Google has been chosen as Fortune’s No. 1 employer for five years running. So what got them there? Clearly this is a unique company and situation, but by duplicating similar efforts on a smaller scale, your company can see the same advantages in the hiring market.

Company Culture

In today’s economy, creating and maintaining a great company culture is crucial. Having a good brand will not only help you keep current employees, but it will also bring new employees to your door. Company culture includes everything from the mission and values, to goals and expectations, to the work environment itself. It may also incorporate fun things, such as social events and free food. Ultimately, the core of the culture should shine through and reflect the true meaning of what the company stands for. Characteristics of businesses with strong company cultures include open communication, mutual respect, integrity, positive energy, work/life balance, strong leadership, customer-focused attitude and a strong sense of trust. These are things that will retain employees and draw new ones to your workforce.

The Importance of Branding

It is important that employees know your company branding. Often, people are asked the question, “What do you do?” This is an excellent opportunity for an employee to share the company brand. For instance, here at vcfo, our consultants might say, “I am a Consulting CFO with vcfo. I work with clients as an interim fractional CFO.” This leads to further questions about the individual’s specific role or what makes the company different from competitors. It is important to make sure that all employees are well-versed in the company “pitch” or branding message.

Employee Awareness of Culture

Google was one of the first companies to really create an unusual, vibrant and outstanding company culture. This immediately set them apart in the market. What sets your company apart? What makes your employees unique? Employees want to feel part of something bigger—a mission, growth, dynamic culture—where they can grow their experiences and skills.

The history, vision and culture are what drive the company and mission forward. Every company has its own story and place in the market, and this needs to be shared with each employee. Starting with the on-boarding process, it is crucial that new employees become a part of this culture. What does your company stand for? How are you different than your competitors? All employees should be able to answer these questions with conviction and dedication to the branding and culture of your organization.

Finding Candidates Who Match Your Culture

When searching for new hires, look for people who share your attitude and a connection to your vision and culture. Assessing this is just as vital as evaluating their skills. It is not enough to do a skills interview, a one-hour in-person interview and then sign the employee paperwork. All potential hires should meet with at least three other people in the organization to gauge their match to the culture. Do their goals and values match the position and team that you are building? More than ever, hiring is about matchmaking. If you bring on people who aren’t well-aligned with your business and your company culture, you’re going to lose them. Your goal is to hire those people who believe your company is the best because it is the best fit for them.

Company culture happens regardless of whether it is intentionally shaped or comes about naturally. Outstanding organizations take great care in intentionally shaping their company culture. This is a conscious and ongoing effort that starts with the CEO and management team and flows throughout the organization. Company cultures must also adapt over time in order to stay current with employer trends, best practices and the natural evolution of the organization.