At a time of record-low unemployment, employers need to go above and beyond to stand out from competing job opportunities and attract top talent. And one of the major differentiators when it comes to job seekers accepting new roles--especially Millennials--is company culture.

When job seekers research company culture, they take several factors into consideration, including basic job satisfaction, employee engagement, work-life balance, opportunities for collaboration and growth, effective leadership, and benefits. You can learn a lot about company culture through career sites, Glassdoor reviews, culture-related awards, and more -- and that research can make or break whether someone decides to apply for an open role at your company.

Beyond driving job seekers away, a poor company culture can cause overall business success to take a hit. As outlined in a recent study from PwC, corporate culture problems have been in the news a lot lately--making headlines in relation hostile work environments, defrauding customers, and other issues. A strong company culture is not only important as a recruitment tool, but to ensure your business has a favorable reputation in the eyes of your customers, prospects, and investors.

The study found the top three factors that contribute to culture problems. These include, the tone set by executive management, the tone set by middle management, and excessive focus on short-term goals. Here are the three best ways to overcome them:

Exemplify your core values.

Many businesses make the mistake of listing core values on their websites or posting them on their office walls without actually living up to those values. Since the tone set by executive and middle management are two of the contributing factors to culture problems, your whole team needs to live and breathe core values from the top down to promote a strong culture.

At my company, Hireology, everyone from entry-level to leadership is expected to adhere to our core values--and our core values drive our decision making. For example, one of our core values is "No a--holes." This core value means all employees are expected to respect one another, and this extends to our customers.

If interviewees don't live up to this value, we won't hire them. And if employees disrespect fellow employees or customers, we won't hesitate to let them go -- and the same goes for customers.

If your executive and middle management makes it clear to employees that they're exemplifying your core values every day, this will lead to a stronger culture and keep employees motivated to do great work. And if you embrace core values to drive business decisions, it can help your business continue to grow and succeed.

Maintain transparency.

To maintain a positive company culture, your leadership team and middle management also need to create trust among employees by maintaining transparency. Leadership should keep all team members updated on the company vision and goals, and continue to update them on whether or not you're on track to meet goals.

My team hosts a weekly all-employee huddle, where we review what each team is working on and share where the team as a whole stands in relation to quarterly goals. Doing so empowers employees to work together toward common goals. Our leadership team also hosts quarterly town halls, in which we review quarterly and annual goals in more detail and open the floor to questions from employees, which takes overall transparency a step further.

Transparency is also important between management and employees. To be transparent with employees, your managers should have recurring check-ins with team members where they discuss what's working and what's not, and what employees can do to continue growing in their careers.

Focus on long-term goals.

The third contributing factor to company culture problems in the study is excessive focus on short-term goals. Goals that only focus on the short-term can leave employees feeling disjointed and frustrated. If priorities shift from week to week, it can lead to employees losing motivation, as they won't understand how their work is contributing to overall business growth.

Instead of exclusively focusing on short-term goals, your whole team should be aligned on long-term goals. To do this, your executive team can develop one-, three-, and five-year revenue goals, and outline other measurable goals you want to reach in the long run. This will create a more collaborative culture and excite employees to help your company achieve its goals.

Your company culture is key to attracting and retaining employees, as well as maintaining a positive reputation. What's your team doing to maintain a strong culture?

Published on: Nov 8, 2018