BLOG VIEW: Company culture has always been important – both for employees and employers. It’s possible that it is even more important now in response to the pandemic.
However, pandemic or not, companies must assess who they are and what they offer in order to attract the right talent and retain trusted employees.
When looking at company culture, the first and most important element is intentionality. Everything a company does should tie back to a core mission, vision or value. No company can be everything to everyone. Companies have to decide who they want to be – and, just as importantly, who they don’t want to be. A company’s culture and identity is determined by its mission or values. If an organization does not already have a guiding statement to work with, it should start there.
It is key that the culture a company creates is unique. It is easy to get sucked into doing what other organizations have done, but if it is easily replicable, who’s to say that your competitor down the street will not copy it and draw talent away? It is crucial that each company stay true to its own unique values, as this creates a strong culture from top to bottom.
Employees all have choices they must make when selecting a company to work for. They can choose in-office vs. remote work, expected level of work/life balance, benefits and so much more. It is critical, as an employer, to understand these choices. What draws people in? What makes them stay?
What you offer will impact who you attract and retain. More seasoned employees who are closer to retirement may value your retirement benefits most, while employees with children often value a consistent work/life balance that allows them to spend time with their families outside of work. Additionally, younger employees who’ve recently graduated may be more attracted to student loan repayment programs. Think about who you want at your company so you can build a culture that appeals to them.
Do not just focus on one generation, either. Think of how to strike a balance between benefits and overall employee experience in order to create a diverse, multigenerational workforce that mirrors the world we live in.
Like everything, the focus of company culture shifted during the pandemic. Though company values remain the same, the environment in which each company works is now very different than it was pre-pandemic. Remote work cast light on some holes in company culture when it came to in-office vs. remote employees and it became apparent that remote associates found themselves on the outside looking in on many in-office company perks or events. Now, companies have had to find more creative ways to keep everyone engaged and morale high, no matter their location.
Most companies also made the shift to video calls over phone calls and remote events over in-person ones, in an effort to help connect everyone in a more personal way that was previously reserved for the office.
Remote work also has made hiring more competitive. Instead of competing with local companies, many are now competing with national employers because of how prevalent remote positions are today. This is another reason why it is so important to focus on building a culture rooted in your company’s unique values.
However great the culture is, it is not so great if employees are not aware or do not understand it. Employees should know the company’s values, so they are aware of what they are expected to demonstrate. Any decision a company makes, any benefit they decide to offer, should be communicated openly and honestly. Whether the sentiment is good or bad, companies must be open and transparent with their employees if they want to build a strong culture, whatever that culture is rooted in.
Erica Campion is director of talent and culture at Enact (formerly Genworth Mortgage Insurance) where she leads her team in training & development, talent management, employee engagement, community relations and volunteerism. The statements provided are the opinions of Erica Campion and do not reflect the views of Enact or its management.