- Speaking on a Robert Half webinar panel last Tuesday, Jan. 29, Microsoft's Head of Global Talent Acquisition Chuck Edward advised HR professionals to approach organizational culture as a storytelling opportunity — one that illuminates the meaning behind their organizations' work and shows new hires the greater purpose for them within that architecture. "Will they have an impact? Will they have purpose? Will they have scale to their work? Will they have meaning?" Edward asked. "To candidates with multiple offers to consider, it can be a differentiator."
- One way to accomplish this, according to Edward, is to embrace a "learn-it-all" attitude that places change, growth and new knowledge at the center of company culture. "We used to pair up with PR to promote a crisp, know-it-all type of culture message," he explained. "Now it comes down to, how do you share a work in progress?"
- Panel speakers also said that embracing flexible work arrangements, prioritizing diversity in hiring and ensuring senior leadership and employees have the same understanding of an organization's culture can make a workplace more attractive to new talent. "If culture is the new currency, then you better believe people are holding the senior leadership accountable," Edward said.
Two key statistics from a Robert Half report released last November anchored the panel discussion. The report found that for 91% of the surveyed executives in the U.S., a candidate's fit with their company's organizational culture is of equal or more importance than the candidate's skills and experience, and that more than a third of surveyed U.S. workers would not accept a job that was a perfect fit for them if the company had a corporate culture they couldn't get behind.
Culture fit is no longer an afterthought for employers and candidates, but rather a major hiring consideration in line with skills fit and work experience. With turnover at an all-time high, crafting a culture that resonates with current employees can also be crucial to retaining them. While competitive pay factors into retention, specific cases at Google — like the employee walkout in protest of the tech giant's handling of sexual harassment and the Project Maven uproar that resulted in the resignation of several employees — show that many employees value a work culture that reflects their ideals, too.
Employees are a trusted source among new hires, so HR could benefit from coaching them on promoting their employer's organizational culture as brand ambassadors. Sharpening a commitment to diversity and inclusion could also aid the development of a better organizational culture. Not only do candidates value this commitment right now, but building out diversity and inclusion initiatives can bring value to a company — strengthening the culture as it evolves over time and furthering business goals.