Culture & Community | By Tom Murphy,

Increase Employee Retention by Improving Company Culture

Worried about hanging on to your employees? So is everyone else.

According to a Korn Ferry study, a whopping 90% of executives said they felt employee retention was an issue. And many of them admitted to losing new hires because of issues with company culture.

In fact, nearly 20% of the executives surveyed said company culture was the primary reason new employees left within the first year.

Research by Right Management backs this theory up. When employee were asked their top motivations for changing jobs, 25% said they were leaving to find a better work culture. Let that sink in for a moment:

Nearly a quarter of all employee turnover may be due to company culture.

Companies can no longer afford to let culture simmer quietly on the back burner. Creating and nurturing a positive culture is critical to attracting and retaining employees. Companies that leave culture and cultural fit to chance are leaving their businesses to chance as well.

Is change possible?

Changing something intangible like company culture might seem overwhelming, time consuming, and maybe even impossible.

When it comes down to it, shouldn’t your main priority be making widgets or providing top notch service?

Yes and no.

Yes, you have to keep your core business running, but if you want to stick around for the long haul, you’ve also got to throw yourself into creating a business model that is actually sustainable— and a culture to match. To continue to be successful, you have to make your organization attractive to current and potential employees.

Making culture happen

When it comes to intentionally building your company culture, there are three basic steps:

1.) Know where you are

To improve on what you have, you must first understand the current company culture, including its strengths and weaknesses. Take a good (and honest) look around. You may also need to take off your rose colored glasses and develop a thick skin. Talk to people at all levels and listen to what they have to say. This is your starting point.

2.) Know where you want to be

If you don’t know where you’re going, you’ll never get there. You’ll need to get your leaders together and define the core values that will drive all of the decisions and behaviors your organization. The clearer you make this, the easier it will be to execute step three.

3.) Start moving

Once you know your starting point and your desired destination, the hard work begins. Don’t kid yourself into thinking that just talking about your culture is enough. Now that you’ve identified the discrepancies between where you are and where you want to be, you’ll have to actually address the issues you’ve uncovered. And it’s going to take real, tangible action.

It’s a marathon, not a sprint

Launching your culture makeover at full speed may sound like the best plan, but be sure to pace yourself. Tackling a big issue like company culture is a long and ongoing process. And even when you get there, the process of maintaining it never really ends.

Here are some tips for managing the process:

Play the long game. Should you get started? Absolutely! But unless your culture is extremely toxic, you don’t need to try to roll all of your changes out at once. Targeting one specific group, issue, or change at a time can seem much more manageable. And you may even get some quick wins to help build your confidence and resolve.      

Give people a voice. It’s much easier to get your employees behind you if they feel listened to, valued and cared about. Empower your staff to be part of the change. Involve them in the strategy and execution of your culture initiatives. Not only will you get some great ideas and insight, you will quickly see who is on board and who isn’t.

Find the bright spots. Okay. So maybe there are a lot of things going wrong. But there are probably also places where things are going right. Identify those areas and try to replicate that success. Are there particular locations or departments that seem to have a lot less employee turnover, or where the culture seems to be more in line with what the organization as a whole is trying to achieve? Put some effort into figuring out why so you can multiply the desired effect.

Examine your benefits. Employee benefits can be a powerful tool for building your culture. A great benefits program tells your employees that you value them, and that you are willing to invest in them. Not only that, but the benefits you offer are a good indication of your company values.

  • Vacation, flex time and PTO say you value work/life balance.
  • Offering childcare reimbursements screams family friendly.
  • Assistance with student debt repayment says you care about financial stability.

And so on.

Take a look at your newly defined culture and see if and how your benefits package is in alignment with your core values. If these things aren’t in sync, make changes until they are.

Continue the cycle

Company culture may seem like a magical, mystical thing, but the truth is it’s just hard work.

Even once you’ve achieved the culture you envisioned, you’ll still need to reassess your goals, vision, mission, and processes to make sure they all match up.

But all of this hard work will pay off. And when it does, you’ll wonder why you didn’t do it sooner. Because not only will you be able to attract and retain the kinds of employees you need to propel you forward, you will literally be working at the company of your dreams.

Recruiting and retaining employees is easier when you can proudly offer a comprehensive benefits plan that makes your team members feel as valuable as they are. Get in touch with Sonus to see how we can help your organization become a local employer of choice.

Print Friendly, PDF & Email