By Rachael Allen, Head of People and Culture at BPS World
The culture of a company is its unique identifier, setting you apart from your competition, attracting new employees and ultimately a key differentiator in making employees stay. Therefore, it is crucial to get your culture right, but where does it start? How do you make it successful and work for your company?
When looking at your culture, it’s important to understand the demographic of your workforce. The workforce is changing and your company culture must reflect that you’re aware of this change and have adapted to attract new talent. As noted in a recent article in The Drum “millennials will account for 75% of workforce by 2025.” The millennials have grown up in a very different environment to the older workforce, which has created a shift from the traditional to the new and this must be reflected in a company’s culture.
So the big question is – how important is company culture to millennials? A recent survey from Global Tolerance identified that millennials are looking for employers that have a clear culture, ethos and are not just profit centric. As the Guardian noted, “44% thought meaningful work that helped others was more important than a high salary and 36% would work harder if their company benefitted society.”
A great way to find out about millennials is to invest in an apprenticeship programme. This will provide you with first-hand experience of what you need to change in your company culture to adapt to the needs of your employees i.e. you might think that classroom teaching would be the best way for them to learn but we’ve found that they might prefer to do more on the job training. Millennials now expect to be developed and are very receptive to feedback and are looking for this in a potential employer’s company.
Although the millennials are fast accounting for most of the workforce, you must also remember that they are not the whole workforce. There will be some employees who valued your traditional company culture that attracted them to work for you. It is the responsibility of the whole company, not just HR to ensure that your current employers are receiving the benefits that they value, whether its medical cover or flexible working. There will most likely be overlaps in the expectations of all employers and these are the ones that you should focus on to ensure the culture of the company remains reliable as well as current.
It is important to have clear values in your company that will be visible to prospective employees as well as your current staff. These values must be ingrained in all activity from training, to management and even to company events and internal awards. Having these clear values creates a transparency within your company, allowing potential employees to get a deep insight into what you stand for and strengthens your current employees’ engagement by having clearing defined values guiding their decision making process.
In conclusion for a culture to be successful, it needs to be real and lived throughout your company. When looking at your own culture my advice would be to focus on what makes you unique and build your culture around that.