• Cat Graham

Cultivating a Connected Culture

For companies to be successful at attracting and retaining exceptional talent, they must give their employees a purpose and motivate them toward a common goal. More and more, companies are believing that to be as attractive as possible to attract and retain talent, they need to create an active and engaging workplace, with ever increasing benefits and work spaces that look more like recreation rooms than offices. However, as evident from companies that are succeeding at the talent game, having a connected culture is truly what differentiates companies who attract and retain top talent versus those that don’t.

What is Corporate Culture?

Culture embodies the work style, attitudes and values of an organization. Successful companies instill values into their organization to engage employees and recruit and attract new talent. Culture reflects beliefs and behaviors that determine how a company’s employees and management interact with each other and manage their business. Sometimes a company’s corporate culture is organic and develops over time from the cumulative traits of the people the company hires. Now more often than not, it is a deliberate expression of the type of community, behaviors and belief sets that a company wants to cultivate, as a corporate ecosystem.

The Cultivation Process

Ask yourself if your company’s culture is reflective of your mission, vision and purpose. Does it bring out the best in your employees? Does it attract top talent? Are you attracting a diverse workforce or do you tend to hire the same ‘type’ of employee time after time? There are good exercises to build a self- and team-awareness strategy to help cultivate a more open and healthy culture. The result of looking critically at the health of your culture and how it lines up with your values, vision and purpose will help guide what you need to do make changes in your organization to foster a culture that is more aligned to your aspirations. You will find a healthy culture increases employee retention, employee engagement and productivity, and job satisfaction. It can also foster creativity by allowing risk-free dialogue and debate which will benefit your business.

Connected Culture

Connected culture means a culture that creates a sense of belonging. As with personal relationships, people generally perform better at companies when they feel connected. If you cultivate a culture where employees can feel a sense of belonging, they tend to exert more discretionary effort and are not only less likely to leave, but also more likely to refer their friends to join the company. Companies that spend time creating a positive employee experience can positively influence the culture and drive business results. When employees feel they belong, and are connected to the company, to the team, they will go the distance to not only do their job, but to get results for the overarching goals, and support their team members in getting there.

Take Good Care of Your Company’s Culture

Once you have created the desired connected culture, it is critical to ensure it is cared for as any living organization. Every culture is as unique as a thumbprint, and requires thoughtful management to ensure it lasts. A great company culture needs a vision, which clearly states your company’s purpose, and is an essential part of maintaining your culture. Your values should also be your guiding principles about how you treat your employees, customers and partners. If you have an open connected culture where employees have a sense of belonging and attracts top talent from a wide range of backgrounds and perspectives where team awareness is fostered, then your values should be an authentic reflection of your culture. The people you hire should as much be the right people for job as cultural fits. As Jim Collins wrote in his book “Good to Great,” getting the right people on the bus is more important than hiring for a specific job. Steve Hunt, PhD stated in his article, How to Hire with Company Culture, Not just the Job, candidates would even take seven percent less money for the right cultural fit. So as important as it is to an organization to maintain a healthy corporate culture, it’s equally important to candidates to work for companies that have authentic healthy cultures. If you invest in the employee experience, and the purpose and values of your company are transparent and authentic, the health of your culture and your bottom line will rise.