As our new hires wrapped up their training, I asked what was the thing they would most remember about their experience after we flew them back to their home markets.
“Everybody in the company is just so cool…” was their biggest take-away.
As a company, you can offer a lot of things to lure talented workers… money, benefits, job perks, starting bonuses, etc. The catch with that is there will always be a company that can offer more of those.
The thing no other company can offer is your culture. When employees know they are working with a purpose, surrounded by other motivated, friendly people who are there to support them, those other things melt away.
Every company has a culture and a subtext to the culture. The subtext lives in the parentheticals, fleshing out the full culture. It looks like this:
Our company culture is based on Teamwork (but not across teams, only with the few coworkers in your trusted circle), Empowerment (but we do not actually trust you or want you to make decisions), and Integrity (but we have never looked that word up in a dictionary or defined what it means, specifically, to our company–it just sounds like a good, important thing to have).
Lofty words sound nice. As a new employee, I would assume the company I chose to work for believes in things like Honesty, Transparency, and Trust–but just because it is in the Mission Statement does not mean it is in the culture.
Creating a powerful company culture is a modern complexity and many (indeed, most) companies struggle with it, but it is super simple. Culture starts at the top, with the examples set by the company leaders.
If they live the culture they want others to follow, what fills the parentheses will take care of itself. In other words, a duplicitous leader creates a duplicitous culture. Leaders who show Teamwork, grant Empowerment and Trust before those things are begged for, define Integrity and demonstrate it, are Transparent about the what and why of decisions, and hold Honesty as high a value as proper hygiene… well, those leaders have employees who leave the corporate office saying, “Everybody in the company is just so cool!”
Be calm and stay cool, leaders.