Why do people flee from certain companies and build lasting careers with others?
The answer to this question is: Culture.
So, what is Culture?
Culture has many definitions depending on how you look at it.
To me, culture is the glue that makes people stick around. It’s the bonding agent that brings everyone together and provides answers to a question every employee asks, “Why am I working here?”
The truth is, employees today aspire to build a long-lasting career with one company. People don’t want to job hop or constantly be looking for their next opportunity. People want to be a part of something meaningful.
The days of attracting talent with high salaries, ping pong tables, cold brews, and other fluff are never going away. It works….kind of. People like money and fluff. However, that method doesn’t guarantee retention or happiness, and not every business can compete in that way.
No matter the business, building a culture that retains great employees, attracts top talent, and instills a high level of satisfaction is vital to the long-term growth and success of any organization.
How To Build A Retention Culture.
For the past 10 years I have helped companies build sales teams and develop systems & strategies to build their cultures. More recently, I participated at an event called CultureCon where I spoke with different business leaders about how they built and use their culture to retain talent, keep employees happy, and ultimately, improve performance.
Here are some of the key takeaways:
1. Have a clear vision.
Successful companies know what they are fighting for.
They don’t just have a clear vision, they have clear expectations, detailed goals, and a system to track everything. If you can’t measure something, you can’t understand it and improve upon it. Successful companies track their culture in a meaningful way.
Clear vision also gives purpose, and humans crave purpose. Lack of purpose makes us vulnerable to boredom, anxiety, and depression. Making sure each team member understands their role and their purpose will help them focus, increase their work flow, and improve their outlook (happiness) with their situation.
2. Hire the “right” people
The best thing you can do for your team, a perk better than any cold brew or ping pong table, is hire only “A” players to work alongside them. An “A” player is more than just their skillset. It is someone who will put the company’s interests first, and who understands and supports the desire for a high-performance workplace.
Just as important of hiring the right people, is getting rid of the wrong ones. Nothing can erode a culture faster than employees who don’t embody the character the company.
Excellent co-workers trump everything else.
3. Transparency & Open Mindedness
Successful cultures are extremely open minded and transparent in nature. They allow their teams to speak freely (respectfully) without fear of repercussions, give everyone a voice in decision making, and let them know it’s okay to make mistakes as long as they address and correct them.
Companies that are honest and transparent about everything, good or bad, develop a stronger level of trust with their team and in return, the team is more committed to the company.
4. Career Roadmap
Not everyone wants or is built for the same career path. Some people want to become a leader, some want to manage accounts, others just want to produce with little else added to their responsibilities. A company that offers their employees multiple growth paths with clear benchmarks/goals of how to get there, have shown to have higher retention and more motivated employees.
5. Show Appreciation
When employees were asked why they quit their job, an overwhelming amount cited “a lack of appreciation” as the key reason for leaving. Appreciation can be shown in many ways. Some companies reward personal success, acknowledge positive actions, and share the company’s success with everyone on the team. Other companies support continued education (professional or personal) and offer ongoing growth training. When these companies showed more appreciation, they once again were able to improve employee happiness and retain them longer.
Andie: I want you to respect me.
Ben: I do. And, I want your respect.
Andie: I respect you for respecting me.
Ben: I respect that.
6. Provide Meaning Outside of Work
People want to feel like they are apart of something bigger than work. Companies that host team events create the sense of a family and help people feel that they are not just a cog in the machine.
Philanthropy and community involvement has also shown to be a large factor in successful cultures. When people get involved in their community, give back, and make a difference outside of work, they feel a much stronger sense of pride and connection to their organization. When people do good and feel part of a positive community, they are less likely to leave the organization.
Wrapping It Up:
Culture is often referred to as “the way things are done around here.” But to be useful and effective, it needs to be more specific than that. The strongest companies have a very clear purpose guided by a strong set of values. A great culture is developed by leadership, nurtured by the team, and must be protected at all costs.
Companies that don’t manage their culture, end up with a culture that manages the company and it can steer the ship off course without even being aware of it.
Don’t lose your top employees in “10” days. Build a strong culture and help them build a career.
Thanks for reading!
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