Toxic culture is driving the Great Resignation – here's how to change your values

Creating company culture is the CEO's concern, not just HR's

Toxic culture is driving the Great Resignation – here's how to change your values

Leading management consultants will often tell you that changing an organisation’s culture is one of the hardest tasks there is in business. Undergoing a transformational shift throughout a company requires dedicated, consistent and planned messaging where actions have to be implemented to have any real effect.

If meetings and bonding sessions are held yet everyone reverts to the same type of behaviour immediately afterwards, then your chances of changing that culture are very limited.  A good culture can attract new quality staff and a bad culture will encourage most staff to walk out the door.

“Eighty percent of managers believe that culture has a massive or substantial impact on employee attraction,” Shane Michael Hatton, coach and trainer, told HRD. “Gallup has been studying organisations and teams across the world for more than 80 years. Drawing on this research, the article ‘Culture Wins by Attracting the Top 20% of Candidates’ by Nate Dvorak and Ryan Pendell point out two compelling reasons why culture is your best attraction strategy.

“Strong culture is how we create ‘employees that become brand advocates’, with 71% of employees saying that the way they learn about job opportunities is through a referral from current employees of an organisation.

“Your team culture may not have a LinkedIn profile, it’s not at barbecues on the weekend talking with prospective employees and it doesn’t speak at conferences about how great it is to work in your team – but your people are, and they are talking about your culture. It’s why you should never underestimate the reach and influence of a raving fan or the damage that can come from a disgruntled employee.

“Their second insight is that talented people proactively seek out organisations with exceptional culture. That is, the top 20% of talent are more likely to ask questions relating to your culture.

“Dvorak and Pendell found that the most talented candidates ask questions like ‘Who will my manager be?’, ‘How will I learn and grow here?’ and ‘What does this company stand for?’ In contrast, they found that less talented prospects will ask transactional questions relating to issues like pay, perks and hours.”

When you arrive at a company you expect the basics of a good culture to exist – helpful colleagues, supportive environment, functional workstation and a planned learning or training program depending on your position. And it’ not just up to HR – a culture should always emanate from the CEO and the boardroom.

It is not hard for companies to get the little things right but surprisingly they often get them wrong with areas such as IT set-up and clear communication of work priorities the biggest areas of new employee frustration. A lack of company direction or if an employee doesn’t feel included in team meetings or either informal gatherings within the office, can also have a big impact.

“Of all the areas managers believe culture has the greatest impact on, employee engagement is at the top of the list, with 83% saying it has a massive or substantial impact,” Hatton added.

“From a study of nearly 4000 skilled employees, the Hays Salary Guide FY21/22 revealed the top reasons employees are looking for another job - alongside a lack of promotional opportunities and a competitive salary - was ‘poor management and workplace culture’ that made it into the top three for more than a third of respondents.

“Culture isn’t just your best attraction strategy, it’s also your most valuable retention strategy, because it’s a driving factor in employee engagement. Engaged people don’t just perform better, they also stay longer. While an attraction strategy may entice great people through the front door of your organisation, strong culture will prevent them from slipping out the back.

“Success starts with finding and keeping the best people. A pay cheque and perks might get their attention, and a ping-pong table in the break room might make lunchtime more enjoyable, but the culture is your team’s best unseen competitive advantage.”

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