Why company culture is critical to prospective employees.
As difficult and challenging as the pandemic has been, the last year has presented significant opportunities over the last year. Businesses have experienced a necessity to innovate and implement new processes in a matter of weeks that usually would have taken years to deliver. Where does culture fit it into all this, and how does it influence the decisions of future employees?
Culture incorporates many factors, but primarily from a work perspective, it influences the attitudes of employees and directly impacts the output and performance of a business. Organisations with an established positive culture create an engaged and productive workforce that feels respected, valued and invested. Businesses like this often have lower turnovers, increased innovation and a better ability to hire due to a stronger reputation formed around their company culture. On the other side, a business that ignores culture often experiences higher turnover, increased levels of disengagement, lower productivity and more difficulties in hiring. Changing the culture in a business isn’t a simple task, but with the right commitment from leadership, it is possible.
To date, a regular theme in business strategy has tended to focus on operations and efficiency, more so than creativity and innovation. Investing in adaptation and reinvention has been overlooked in previous years, but over the last 12 months, the impacts of Covid-19 have significantly altered this focus, with more businesses actively reinventing and growing to survive and thrive.
As a consequence, there has been a shift in employee trends and priorities for businesses. Flexible working environments have become a significant focus as more individuals experience the benefits of balancing work and home life, and employers recognise remote working doesn’t have a detrimental impact on productivity.
Within this shift towards flexible working, people have taken the predominant position, in terms of creating an inclusive, healthy and diverse workplace. These factors have always been important, but right now, creating an inspiring business that enables people to thrive has become more critical than ever.
Studies in the talent management field suggest that the businesses that have succeeded during these challenging times have been those that have displayed a strong mission and purpose. Right now people are actively looking for a company that has risen to the challenge and delivered a culture that is both flexible and capable of responding to all of the changes faced. Culture is the secret ingredient that supports employee engagement, creativity and business success. A combination of the environment, behaviours and leadership is what matters in a business.
Once the impacts of the pandemic settle, there will likely be further disruptions that we will have to endure. It’s the businesses that create the resilience that will continue to succeed and grow. The focus today has been on shifting towards flexible and agile ways of working, empowering employees and providing them with the necessary resources to work alongside other team members. The working culture is critical to attracting people who have the potential to change, the ability to enforce the right attitude towards risk and to encourage further creativity and forward-thinking.
In today’s business world, senior leaders need to be capable of meeting the existing challenges faced, but at the same time, deliver a stable secure environment for their workforce. Businesses need to be innovative, authentic and remain conscious that a certain approach for one company, may not necessarily work for theirs. Organisations need to focus on their style, one that relates to their customers and builds on the culture needed to deliver their service. Having that core objective in mind, understanding what’s important to each customer, and incorporating that into a business plan is critical.
Diversity and inclusion also need to be included within the values of a company and in the way decisions concerning talent are made. Diversity directly impacts how attractive a business is for new talent and your bottom line. Studies indicate that over 60% of active and passive job seekers believe a diverse workforce is an important factor when considering a new company and job offers.
People will choose an employer for many reasons, but they generally commit to an organisation for its culture and values. As we continue to work from home or in a hybrid environment we have to remain inclusive and ensure everyone is part of this new working journey. With the UK beginning to ease lockdown restrictions, businesses are exploring new workplace models, some of which will include a return to the office environment. Aside from the technical infrastructure required to support this new style of working, strong company culture will remain critical in ensuring new ways of working are sustainable for the future.
Creating a great culture for a business is achievable for all organisations. A reputation for great culture supports businesses with recruiting and retaining employees and is directly connected to innovation, higher levels of productivity and a healthier bottom line.