Written for EO by Marina Byezhanova, co-founder and director at Pronexia Inc., headhunters for small- to medium-sized businesses and company culture consultants.
If you’ve been trying to fill a position in the last 12 months, then you’ve definitely noticed that it’s become more difficult to attract the same number of applicants that you once did. If your focus is on hiring A-players, then you’ve no doubt also noticed that this has become a more challenging feat.
The economy is booming (both locally and nationally), unemployment rates are at the record low (the lowest in over 40 years), and talented professionals can finally afford to be picky—joining only the organizations that attract them most. The incessantly talked-about “company culture” and “employer branding” are rapidly transitioning from fun-to-discuss and cool-to-brag-about concepts to being an essential part of any winning organization’s business strategy.
What I find fascinating as an entrepreneur who gets to talk to other business leaders from companies of all sizes is that while “company culture” is often talked about, few businesses actually do anything about it.
Consider this: 94% of executives believe that internal culture is of paramount importance. Now ask yourself: When did you last audit your culture and what does your company’s strategic employer branding plan for 2018? Apart from adding some new perks or proverbial bells and whistles to your office, what are you doing to support your culture and your branding?
The truth is that we can no longer afford to treat internal culture or the reputation of our organization in our industry as an afterthought.
If over half of our employees are disengaged (and study after study confirms this scary number), then the return on investment on your payroll leaves much to be desired. If over 80% of our employees are leaving because of us (and they are), then we are bleeding money to replace them when we could be investing that same money into … actually growing the business.
The good news? Internal culture can be audited using a well-defined methodology. A culture branding strategy can then be crafted to attract attention and to enhance hiring efforts.
The bad news? It takes both your time and your buy-in. Without both, you’re doomed to fail.
None of this work can be fully delegated to any internal department—not even a highly talented and digitally literate human resources team. Discussions surrounding company values, leadership training, and the purpose behind the work that employees are doing must be authentic and include the person at the helm of the organization.
Culture talk has been fluffy for so long that it has made all of us roll our eyes at some point.
“Culture is the organization’s immune system.”
“Organizational culture is civilization in the workplace.”
“Organizational culture defines a jointly shared description of an organization from within.”
Yes, I am also rolling my eyes. While these statements may be true, please understand one thing: These are yesterday’s proclamations and yesterday’s definitions.
Today, we have no choice but to get less poetic about culture, adopt a more strategic approach and roll up our sleeves at a micro level.
Over 70% of your company’s turnover is preventable. Over 60% of job seekers are more negotiable for companies with solid culture brands. 100% of your scaling plans are contingent upon the quality of your teams.
While you keep rolling your eyes at culture branding, your competitors aren’t. They are busy poaching your top performers. After all, more than 80% of your employees are open to jumping ship. Did you know that?
Marina Byezhanova is an EO Montreal member. As co-founder of Pronexia, Marina is a headhunter and recruiter striving to revolutionize the recruitment industry.