Whether you acknowledge or cultivate it, your company has a culture. In a nutshell, company culture is the cultivation of your company’s environment, mission, values, ethics, and goals. It’s your company’s personality that represents who you are to prospective clients, new talent and current employees.
Beyond motivational phrases or a vague list of values, creating a deliberate culture within the workplace acts as a guide as your company grows and will help to attract people with similar values. Even more, a strong culture can improve productivity and employee retention.
Culture is also an effective recruiting tool. Despite the talent shortage and widening skills gap, candidates have more options for employment as baby boomers begin to rapidly retire. Meaning company culture is often a make or break factor during a candidate’s job search.
Zappos CEO and company culture advocate, Tony Hsieh, made a great observation when he said, “At Zappos, our belief is that if you get the culture right, most of the other stuff — like great customer service, or building a great long-term brand, or passionate employees and customers — will happen naturally on its own. While defining your company culture to will take a bit of groundwork, we’ve outlined some of the most important action steps to consider in this post in order to create a culture that represents you best to customers, employees and future talent.
First and foremost, it’s important to define what company culture isn’t. We’ve all heard about the company culture perks of tech giants like Facebook and Google but culture is more than beer on Fridays, pool tables, and an orange wall. These things may be exciting for a while but ultimately people are searching for meaning in the work they’re doing.
This is especially true for millennial talent, who by 2020 will make up nearly half the working population. Millennial talents’ values are drastically different than employees of the previous generation who placed more value on salary and traditional benefits. While those things are still important, this generation of talent wants to know why they’re doing what they’re doing, where the company is headed and how they fit into the bigger picture. In fact, 80% of millennials say an emphasis on personal growth is an essential quality of a company's culture and that they prefer to work within a culture that allows them to become their best selves.
Overall, the values your company holds today should reflect who you want to be tomorrow. When these foundational pieces aren’t clearly defined people become disconnected from their work—one of the biggest reasons employees leave a job—and attracting and retaining top talent is difficult.
Clearly defined core values are the foundation of your company culture. Many of our established manufacturing clients already have values in place but it may be time to revisit them to determine if they still are relevant to their current growth goals. Core values are a necessary part of building a company culture that honestly represents your business. These values also help to tell your brand story and clearly communicate your value in today’s competitive market to both potential candidates and customers.
Gather your leadership team to revisit, refresh, and rejuvenate your core values. Discuss what makes your business and team unique and aim to have between 3-6 core values that represent your business. For each of your core values, write a simple sentence to explain what it means to you and your team.
If you have core values in place already, some questions to ask during the discussion are:
Do we embody these core values today?
Do they align with our growth goals?
To dive deeper into who you are as a company consider these:
How do we want our customers to describe our business?
How do we want our employees to describe our business?
What traits do we reward within our company?
What makes our company unique?
What words come to mind when we describe our work to others?
What do we find rewarding about our work?
Seeking insight from those beyond the leadership team is also highly effective. Whether you use an anonymous survey or schedule one-on-one meetings, ask your team what they enjoy about working for your company and how they feel their work contributes to the company mission. You just might be surprised at the answers you receive.
Additionally, this information is highly insightful for putting yourself in a potential candidate’s shoes and uncovering what has attracted your current talent or what you’d like to see more of.
As an industry, manufacturers are in need of a rebrand. When considering the value you offer future employees, think about how you can promote the benefits of working in the manufacturing industry along with the benefits of your specific company. This is especially important as more job seekers look beyond traditional benefits and have begun looking for cultural benefits such as career growth options, education opportunities, and schedule flexibility.
Some cultural benefits that the new generation of job seekers may find attractive include:
Access to Leadership
Competitive pay and benefits
Flexible work hours
Student loan programs
Promoting a well-defined company culture that speaks to the modern job seeker helps to change the perception of the industry from dirty, dumb, and dangerous to a viable and lucrative career path with high growth potential.
Core values can be aspirational, as long as they are attainable. They don’t serve any purpose if they are just words with no action behind them. Once defined, it’s time to bring your core values to life by documenting, sharing and promoting them.
Using the feedback from your leadership team and employees, we recommend creating a culture deck that can be used as a point of reference for company culture documentation. It’s something that both current and potential candidates can utilize. At Strategy House we’ve used the Culture Code template for a guide on documenting our company culture.
Beyond a culture deck, it’s important to let customers, candidates and employees alike know who you are and what you stand for by sharing your story. Here are a few additional ideas on how to put your core values to work:
Create posters of your core values and statements to post throughout your facility
Add your core values to your website and social media platforms
Discuss core values in the interview process
Create an employee spotlight where employees are commended for demonstrating a core value
Create programs where employees can commend coworkers for ‘living their core values’
For a personalized approach, feature your team on your website and social media with photos of current employees. Asking employees to review your company on job sites like Glassdoor or Indeed can add an extra level of social proof as well—especially important considering that 79% of candidates use social media in their job search.
Knowing who you are as a company is the first step in building a culture that others want to be a part of. From there, aligning your current team with your core values and creating a content plan to promote them will put you in front of future talent. If that sounds like something your team could use a hand with, Strategy House can help.
Contact Strategy House to discuss how we can leverage your culture and create a talent attraction and retention content strategy that tells your brand story.
Post by: Bridgette McCormick
Bridgette has developed a career around content. Her work as a writer and editor began nearly ten years ago, and since she has harnessed her experience working as a ghostwriter for business owners to develop marketing strategies that connect businesses to their ideal audiences through content. When not devoting her eye to content revision and development, she can be found reading, enjoying the diverse and delicious Milwaukee restaurant scene, or taking long road trips to explore America.