There is a war for talented employees in the market. The recession incited many companies to let go of less talented employees as businesses adjusted to losses in demand and revenue, but they largely held on to top talent.
Today, as the effects of the recession wane and demand for products and service rise, there’s a need by many for talent. Because of this, counter offers have become far more common as companies hunt for the best employees and the job options for the most talented people increase.
There’s also a cultural revolution. Multiple generations are in the workforce today — baby boomers, Generation X and Generation Y. Each generation wants something different from the work environment than the others. This has led to a shift in how companies need to look at their business to acquire the top talent of the future.
How does a company determine what its workplace culture should be?
The first thing to consider is the core values of the business. They’re the roots of a tree that everyone in the organization must connect to. And every tree is different. Strong core values, properly defined, allow a company to create alignment within its organization.
The other aspect is having a purpose for your business — to look not at what you do but why you do it. People can connect to the what, but it’s the passion around the why that creates differentiation and establishes a company’s culture. And that’s what motivates people to come to work every day and be excited.
How does a company establish and realize the culture it wants?
A company’s culture starts from the top down. Senior-level managers protect the company’s values by living them: setting an example for everyone in the organization. However, mid-management plays a critical role in ensuring alignment. They perpetuate the message from the top and help maintain the established culture.
Once the culture and values are defined, companies need to hire people who embody those values. Company values should be assimilated into the application and interview process to accomplish alignment. Have multiple managers and other department stakeholders interact with an applicant to get more than one perspective on the person’s character and qualifications.
For current employees, it’s important to regularly share internal experiences and highlight those who exercised the company’s values. Also consider rewarding those folks who are exemplifying model behavior with prizes, cash or time off.
For those employees who have the skills but maybe not the right attitude, companies can use progressive counseling, or performance management, to help employees understand where they got off track.
Are there instances in which an employee may be very talented, but not fit the culture? How are those situations best managed?
Companies shouldn’t be afraid to part ways with employees who, regardless of skill, can’t align with the established values. It goes back to having open and honest communication with staff.
In a company with a strong culture, it can be felt throughout the organization when someone isn’t aligned with the established values. It’s important to have a conversation and let that person know where they’re falling short, teach them how to fix it and give them chances to improve through progressive counseling. If it’s not a fit, it’s usually a mutual exit and no one is too upset.
Many companies get so connected to the skills of a person that they don’t consider a person’s fit within the culture. However, skills make up only half of the picture, the other half is about how the person gels within the organization. When a person aligns to your core values and has the aptitude to perform the job you need done, the person’s, and the company’s, full potential can be realized.