Company Culture: The Magnet to Attract Great People

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Many of you have told us that your hiring process is the biggest thorn in your side when it comes to getting and keeping good people who are aligned with your company and invested in your mission. In our last post, we outlined the seven important things you can do to get a grip on your hiring. One of these was creating and articulating your company culture. 

What does that mean, and how does it apply? That’s exactly what we’re going to dive into in this post!

The words “company culture” get tossed around a lot these days in startup circles, but for busy entrepreneurs who are more “doers” and less “navel-gazers,” you may have given little thought to what company culture means and it’s impact on your ability to attract best fit employees. Maybe it even sounds a little fluffy to you…

But hear us out: taking the time to nail down your company culture actually saves you time (and money), by ensuring you’re attracting best-fit candidates and making the most of your ability to filter and vet them before investing a single penny in people who don’t work out. 

What is company culture? In essence, it’s about values and how the people interacting with or within your company feel when doing business with you. Anyone who crosses paths with your business is entering into your company culture, and in one way or another, is going to receive an impression that reflects what you hold important as a company. 

And while it’s not necessarily something that can be objectively measured, it’s certainly something that can be subjectively felt and that matters more than you’d think. After all, a company is not just a physical structure; it’s comprised of people, and the way people interact and engage within systems matters immensely.

Company culture is also more than just pulling a few good-sounding words out of the air (does a We Value Achievement memo make you excited to come to work, anyone?Crickets.), and slapping them on an inspirational poster like in your high school counselor’s office. 

Take the time to really deep dive into what your company truly values at its core and why. How do your policies, attitudes, and organizational principles reflect them and support them? Here’s an Ouch one: Where are your values not reflected? Why?

This cool MadLibs style worksheet from xplane.com will get you thinking and capturing the nuances of what it’s like to work at your company. You can fill it out solo or get a group from your team to join you. 

You may be surprised at the varied answers if your culture hasn’t yet been clearly defined. Either way, it will probably reveal some key insights into what your culture is currently like and help you move towards your ideals. 

Once you’ve assessed what you want your company culture to be, ask yourself what could be standing in the way. One of the best ways to see if your values are played out in the everyday is to ask your employees, anonymously if you have to. 

For example, if one of your core values is innovation, but employees feel afraid to make mistakes, try new ways of doing things, or challenge their team leaders, you have a gap in your values being lived out. As the leader of your company, you’re in charge of facilitating company values and making sure everyone on board is empowered to live them out. 

Ok, you’ve locked down your company values. Great. How does a well-defined company culture help you attract rockstar employees, exactly? 

Well, think about it. If you want to attract the best of the best, how are you putting your company out there in a way that resonates and attracts the qualities you value in team members? How will great people know how awesome it is to work for your company if you can’t articulate it to them? 

That would be like creating a dating ad and filling it in with the same ‘ole “I’m nice, friendly, and like long walks on the beach” drivel. Nothing in that expounds on what it’s like to really know and be around you. 

People are attracted to authenticity, and you’ll have the greatest hiring filter available if you can apply that authenticity to your job listings.

In the next post, we’ll show you exactly how to create stand-out job listings to score stand-out talent.

Stay tuned!