How to Build a Positive Company Culture to Attract and Retain Top Talent in the New Year

January 2 2024 Posted by Zing Professional in Blog

In the race to attract and retain the best talent, it’s becoming increasingly important for companies to create a positive company culture. People want to work for companies whose values align with their own, have a noble mission, and offer a supportive and engaging work environment.  

Attracting and retaining top talent is mission-critical for the success of any company, but the current competitive job market has made it more challenging than ever to find and retain the best employees. It’s times like these when competitive wages alone won’t cut it, and things like workplace culture can be the difference between an “absolutely yes!” and a “no thanks!” from candidates and employees. 

Wondering if your company culture is poised to attract and retain top talent? Read on to learn the steps your organization can take to create a place people want to work. 

The Importance of a Positive and Healthy Company Culture

Culture is a set of beliefs and attitudes about the way things are done in your workplace. It’s what cements candidates’ feelings about a company and employees’ confidence in their work and keeps them motivated and inspired to do their best. It may not be talked about every day, but culture is always in the background impacting every aspect of the business—for better or worse.  

Culture is what creates the day-to-day experience at a company. And when an organization has a good company culture, employees are engaged, committed, and excited to come to work. And that’s true of everyone—from entry-level employees to leadership. 

Consider these Gallup survey results. Those who strongly agree with “I feel connected to my organization’s culture” are: 

  • Nearly 4x as likely to be engaged at work 
  • More than 5x as likely to strongly agree they would recommend their organization as a great place to work 
  • Almost 70% less likely to feel burned out at work very often or always 
  • 55% less likely to be watching for job opportunities or actively looking for another job 

The data is clear: Company culture isn’t a fluffy, feel-good concept—it’s an undeniable driver of talent attraction and retention. But what even defines a positive company culture? 

What Does a Positive Company Culture Look Like?

It’s one thing to understand a healthy company culture in theory. But what does a healthy culture look like in practice? 

Companies that create a positive company culture set clear expectations around how work gets done, why that work is important, and how teams are expected to treat each other. There’s also a sense of alignment between the company vision and core values and how those values and vision show up in the workplace. 

There’s no one-size-fits-all solution to building a strong company culture, but there are some universal best practices. 

  • An environment that supports teamwork and collaboration 
  • Recognition and rewards for employee accomplishments, successes, and contributions 
  • Alignment between company language, values, and actions 
  • Opportunities for professional growth and development 
  • Strong compensation and employee benefits packages 
  • Workplace flexibility and a healthy work-life balance for employees 
  • A sense of trust, transparency, and accountability between employees and the leadership team 
  • Compassion, respect, and psychological safety for employees  
  • A diverse and inclusive workforce 

How to Evaluate Your Company Culture

You can’t move forward if you don’t know where you’re starting. Here’s how to assess your company culture so you know how to make improvements in the new year and beyond:

1. Ask leaders to describe your company culture.

Tap in company leaders to describe the company culture in their own words. Their perspective can provide valuable insight into the intended culture of the organization.

2. Ask employees to describe their experience. 

Employee experience is how workers think and feel about each aspect of their employment and their journey with the company—including their perception of the company culture, their direct role, interactions with leadership, lifecycle stages, and the physical and technological environment of the workplace.  

By understanding how the different touch points of the employee experience are received by workers, you can easily identify areas for improvement and opportunities to increase employee satisfaction.

3. Look at real-world examples of what your leadership team and employees described.

Make a concerted effort to monitor day-to-day operations to ensure that the company’s values, as described by both leadership and employees, are coming through in work processes and employee interactions.

4. Look at employee engagement and retention metrics.

Review employee engagement and retention data for trends. If you consistently see high rates, these are great signs of having a positive culture. Fluctuations or consistently low rates may indicate underlying issues. Either way, there are always areas for improvement. 

Now That You’ve Taken Stock, It’s Time to Act

There are a number of things you can do to improve your organization’s culture. There’s no one “right” way to do it, and it doesn’t have to be a huge undertaking or major overhaul. Improving your company culture can come down to making small changes that drive big impact. 

How to Make Lasting Culture Improvements

1. Define and communicate your core values: Every organization has core values, whether they are explicitly defined or not. Identify the values that are fundamental to your company’s mission and identity. These values should serve as guiding principles for decision-making and behavior within the organization.

2. Set goals: Just like you may set business-performance goals, you should set goals for your company culture too. Culture is only a concept until you make it actionable, so defining SMART goals around it will keep your organization accountable to them.

Think about the core values you defined in the step above and how you want to embody them in your workplace culture. Then, translate this into clear goals. For example, if your organization is focused on expanding collaboration across teams, set goals to increase cross-functional projects and establish regular interdepartmental meetings to foster stronger teamwork and knowledge sharing.

3. Go back to the source: Gather feedback via anonymous surveys, stay interviews, or ask management to put it on the agenda for 1x1s with their direct reports. Try to pinpoint the aspects that are working well for your employees and areas they want to see improved. Then, use their feedback to drive your organizational culture strategy. That way, you can build a culture that not only works for the company but also works for the employees.

4. Write a culture code: Once you’ve identified your core values, create a clear and concise cultural statement, or a culture code, that reflects these values. This statement is essentially your company’s cultural compass for everyone within your organization to follow to make everyone feel unified as one team. It should be easy to understand and communicate with all employees.

5. Constantly evaluate and make meaningful improvements: Culture isn’t a set-it-and-forget-it type of thing. It’s a constant work in progress and an evolution. Regularly revisit your core values, goals, and gather employee feedback regularly to ensure your company culture continues to grow and adapt in a way that benefits both your organization and your employees.

Measuring the Impact of Company Culture Initiatives

Once you’ve taken the steps to develop and improve your company culture, it’s essential to measure its impact on talent attraction and retention. After all, what gets measured gets managed. Here are some effective methods for evaluating the influence of your culture. 

Spoiler alert: Some of these will look familiar to the evaluation methods mentioned above! 

1. Employee Surveys: Conduct regular employee surveys to gauge their satisfaction, engagement, and perception of your work environment. Ask questions related to their work experience, alignment with company values, and overall job satisfaction. Analyze the survey results to identify trends and areas that need improvement. 

2. Employee Retention Rate: Track your organization’s employee retention rate over time. A high retention rate suggests that your culture is resonating with employees, as they are more likely to stay with the company. Conversely, a high turnover rate may indicate culture-related issues that need addressing. 

3. Employee Referrals: Measure the number of employee referrals in your recruitment process. A strong company culture often encourages employees to recommend friends and acquaintances to join the organization. An increase in referrals can generally be interpreted as a sign of a workplace culture your employees are proud to share and feel confident in vouching for. 

4. Time-to-Fill Metrics: Assess the time it takes to fill job vacancies. A positive company culture can expedite the hiring process because candidates are more likely to accept offers from organizations with appealing cultures. Shorter time-to-fill metrics may signify a culture that attracts talent efficiently. 

5. Candidate Feedback: Collect feedback from job candidates who have participated in your recruitment process. Ask about their impressions of the company culture during interviews and interactions with employees. This information can provide insights into how your culture is perceived externally. 

6. Performance Metrics: Monitor key performance indicators (KPIs) related to employee productivity, innovation, and customer satisfaction. A thriving culture should positively influence these metrics and lead to better business outcomes. 

7. Exit Interviews: Conduct exit interviews with departing employees to understand their reasons for leaving. Workplace culture-related issues can often be identified through these conversations and help you make any necessary adjustments. 

Your Future Begins With the Culture You Create Today—Let’s Build Something Great Together

Are you ready to enhance your company culture and become a magnet for top talent in the new year? Get in touch with our team for expert guidance and support. Together, we can ensure your organization thrives with a culture that attracts and retains the best in the business.