Nurture culture, attract talent

It is a well-established fact that people can either make or doom a business. The process of finding the right people for a job is a mammoth task founders spend hours, days, weeks, and even months searching for the right people to join the business. Attracting people to apply for a position in your business is relatively straightforward.

However, attracting and then hiring great talent is  rather tough. Tiny Owl, and Housing.com were amongst the startups which made headlines last year for firing large numbers of employees. Reasons such as streamlining and cost reductions were said to be behind the mass job losses.

Why do so many companies get it so badly wrong?  Hiring on the skill set, experience and test results of the applicants who apply is relatively easy, but how do you attract great talent?  The answer is quite simple; by building a magnetic culture. The office culture has the power to determine your hiring fortunes and reward you with an inimitable brand differentiation advantage. A great culture creates unique value for your company and its people and attracts the right talent, skilled employees who fit into your working environment.

Three amazing outcomes of a magnetic culture enables you to: Attract and retain great talent; Inspire your team to innovate and create new things; and, Actively communicate and learn from one another.

Your culture consists of many things. A culture has the power to inspire, energise and enable your team and bring out greatness in your people. It compels each and every person to ‘go the extra mile.’  It can be the secret ingredient that gives you and your brand a unique edge in the market; something that your competitors cannot replicate.

Google is revered for its company culture, its employees boast of free food, access to gyms and spas, ‘bring your parents/or kids to work day’, management focus on employee development, education and career progression and much, much more.

This makes Google one of the most desirable places to work. Twitter employees rave about being part of a company that is doing something that matters in the world highlighting that perks and benefits alone do not constitute company culture.

How can culture become your biggest asset? Since culture is an experience, in reality all businesses do actually have a culture – although not formally defined, articulated or documented. Often, your 'way of doing things' is a reflection of your values and beliefs and can become the cornerstone of your culture.

Valuing health, safety

Many startups have a flat structure (omitting hierarchy and promoting inclusiveness), while some focus on valuing health and safety, by encouraging regular breaks to ease stress or offering holiday entitlement for paternity and promoting a happy working environment.

Culture binds people and creates commonality. On the flip side, it can also divide. As you grow and evolve, so does your culture. Keeping honest and true to your culture becomes harder when growth and scale happens. This is why there is so much written about corporate culture. For startups, culture is actually of huge importance. It is, undeniably, one of the key differentiating assets that define the DNA of your company.

Measure the consistency, and common understanding of your company culture, by having a one-on-one chat with each individual in your team. Ask each person what they think, believe, and feel your culture stands for?

Do you and your team live and practice this culture through their/your actions, words and mindset? This is a great starting point, and will help you to refine your company culture. Remember, a magnetic culture attracts great talent. It is the energy source that powers your people, purpose and brand.

What are you doing to attract great talent to your company? A culture is not created overnight. It takes time, and most importantly, it takes people. Don’t rush it. It’s a sensory experience and does not require a huge budget.

For example, RMSI, a Mumbai based IT firm, was recognised as the ‘best company to work’ in 2015 (ahead of Google India which took the second place). The RMSI provides its employees in-house yoga to combat stress, life and lifestyle workshops and even have an in-house band! All achieved with a relatively modest budget.

To attract great talent, you must build a culture that becomes your biggest selling point, as a company.  Today’s born-digital talent force will choose an appealing culture over an attractive package. Times have changed. Have you?

(The writer is Co-Founder, GrowthEnabler@Afmalhotra)

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