Attracting great talent is more of a challenge than ever. With boundless opportunities in reach through the internet, a jobseeker with in-demand skills can afford to be very selective. Financial compensation is vital, of course, as are related circumstances such as promotion prospects — but culture has emerged as a dominant factor for both jobseekers and employers.
Top candidates want to work in environments that suit their personalities and capabilities. They want to get along with their colleagues, working alongside them to achieve great things. They want to be granted the freedom to be creative and as much responsibility as they can handle.
So when you’re trying to turn your business into an attractive destination for ambitious professionals, you need to establish a meaningful company culture. How? Let’s take a look at 5 companies that are nailing it, demonstrating just how much culture matters:
HubSpot is a leading marketing site, and you’ve likely encountered its invaluable content if you have any interest in that field. Not only does it have some of the best guides and insight around, but it also pioneered a hub-based approach to SEO — bring related content together to benefit both the readers and the search rankings.
Since there’s no shortage of places to work in the digital marketing world, any company that wants to excel must go the extra mile to bring people in. HubSpot does just that, being named as one of the best places to work by Glassdoor in 2018 (behind a company we’ll look at later).
Most notably, it allows employees to proceed in whichever directions they feel are justified. Need extra resources? Want to run something by the most senior staff members? You’re encouraged to take initiative, and rewarded for it. You can check out the culture code here.
Zappos, a shoe and clothing retailer, has a great way of rooting out new employees that aren’t long-term prospects: it offers to pay them to quit after the initial training program that every new hire has to attend. Anyone who simply wants to make some money can leave with full payment for the training plus an additional lump sum — no questions asked, no strings attached.
This is just one of the reasons why it’s such a popular place to work. All the employees who stick around know that their colleagues are committed to success, or at least not likely to look for an exit from the company at short notice.
The fact that even the most senior hires must do the training (complete with two weeks of over-the-phone customer support) may push some people away, but it shows the root of the company culture — that everyone in the company has an important part to play, and success is about more than just ROI.
Shopify has cornered the market in making ecommerce accessible, providing a store-building tool to help aspiring merchants start selling online as quickly as possible, and key to that growth has been a company-wide initiative to building an amazing team culture.
Core to that is a resolution to have every employee make a meaningful impact, as evidenced by the approach to getting new hires up to speed. Within a month of starting, every staff member is given the opportunity to make a real change to the live system. This shows prospective candidates that they’re going to be given genuine opportunities.
What’s more, the early move towards colleague-driven rewards (using a system called UNICORN) showed that candidates wouldn’t need to worry so much about being recognized by their bosses — they’d just need to get results. To use the company’s phrasing, it trusts employees to “define how [they] want to make an impact”.
Needing no introduction, having vast resources at its disposal, and getting bigger all the time, Google selects from the best of the best — and anyone capable of being hired at Google isn’t going to be short of offers. They pay is good, and there’s a level of excitement attached to joining one of the biggest companies in the world, but the culture plays a big part.
In essence, the Google culture can be described in this way: employees are given as many perks, bonuses and rewards as needed to keep them innovating. Doing work on that level isn’t necessarily a consistent process, so there’s no sense in expecting constant output.
Workers who are healthy and relaxed do the best work, and Google has the time and patience to give employees space. It’s no wonder that it’s ranked as one of the best places to work — even if it weren’t a household name, it would be immensely appealing.
There are some jobs that people really need to be passionate about, and Whole Foods understands that. Its entire purpose is to sell natural, healthy and ethically-sourced produce, and anyone apathetic about the subject is going to be a difficult fit for the company.
To ensure that it does as much to advocate for healthy living internally as it does externally, it not only gives employees a 20% discount on store purchases, but also bumps up the size of that discount for anyone who meets company health recommendations (and helps them track their progress through a company site).
To some people, this would seem pressuring, but it works to the company’s advantage because it understands what its best applicants care about.
Each of these companies is doing a great job of attracting great talent, and that largely comes down to their impressive cultures. If you want your company to bring in the best, you need to think carefully about how you’re going to deserve that kind of attention.
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