As the competition for talent across the country intensifies in the wake of what many have termed “The Great Resignation,” organizations and candidates alike are continuing to look for ways to differentiate themselves in the eyes of the market and their potential talent pools. While compensation is always a driver of talent recruitment, the shift to hybrid work arrangements in a variety of industries means location and other in-office perks seeing notable decreases in importance.
As was true before the pandemic, one factor that continues to rank highly among candidates, and even more so today, is company culture.
Defining Company Culture
Ok, but what is a company’s culture? Most people would say that it’s the unique traits that make one organization different from another. That’s a pretty good—albeit basic—summary. However, if we dig a little deeper, we can say that a company’s culture is made up of the mix of three key pillars: mission and values, expectations, and practices. Mission and values are the principles that guide the company to success. Expectations are simply what employees have come to expect from the company and what the company expects of them. Practices are the systems and methodologies put in place to achieve the company’s goals.
Why Company Culture Matters
The interesting thing about company culture is that it’s going to develop whether you like it or not — formally or informally. While leadership, management style, and business practices can play a role in its emergence, the truth is that the entirety of the employee work experience over time creates the culture. It’s not one thing. It’s everything.
The company’s who’ve chosen to take an interest in their culture have seen it pay off in major ways. They’ve come to realize that a great organizational culture is the key to developing the traits necessary for business success.
Data has proven that a positive company culture pays dividends in the form of increased revenue and improved employee retention. But even beyond the tangible, measurable effects, culture is the underlying spirit of what makes a company unique. A great, authentic culture motivates leaders and employees alike to work through both good and hard times.
Resultant Cares about Culture
At Resultant, developing a robust, sustainable company culture that reflects the values of leaders and team members throughout the organization has been a well-crafted, multi-year, intentional process – a process that continues to this day.
And while the development and nurturing of the culture has been years in the making, one of the most important parts of it starts at the very beginning of the employee lifecycle: the talent acquisition and onboarding process.
I can attest to this personally, because, as someone who joined Resultant within the last year, I can say that this process made a huge impression on me and my integration into the organization as whole.
Here are my three key takeaways for creating a robust and successful employee onboarding process that both successfully integrates new team members into the organizational culture and creates the virtuous feedback loop necessary to ensure the process continues in perpetuity.
1. Onboarding Begins Before Candidates Even Apply
Here’s the truth: great company cultures shine through an organization’s brand and reputation in the world. When a company has a strong, positive culture, they know it’s an asset and will showcase it as part of their overall external brand experience. This means that potential applicants will have a flavor for the culture even before they actually become applicants.
Not only does this help your talent acquisition team find the right “fit” for each position as applicants often self-select based on cultural cues associated with brand, but it also means that marketing and communications teams have an opportunity to leverage their internal culture as a part of their external messaging.
Resultant did an amazing job of this by weaving this story into every contact point along the way—people and through a supportive digital campaign. With content focused on what it was like to work there, how the Resultant values showed up not just in client work, but in community service projects, and how much team members challenged and supported each other, culture is embedded into the brand by showcasing how the values of the company were deeply entrenched in every area of the organization.
2. Interviews are the Best Time to Set Up Expectations
Another key takeaway for me was the value of defining cultural fit during the interview process. While many companies say they do this, Resultant made it an explicit priority of every interview I was a part of. Not only did each person I speak with lead with the mission and values of the company as their conversation opener, but they used the rest of the discussion to expound on the importance of expectations—both what was expected from me as an organizational contributor and what I could expect of them. Clarity around week-to-week schedules and workloads, training opportunities, and an overview of benefits helped to flesh out the more tangible aspects of what working at Resultant would look like.
Remember: the interview process is a lot like speed dating. The fit should be right for both parties. The candidate has to have the right skills for the position, of course, but there is so much more to it than that. It’s being clear about work-life balance, expectations around delivery excellence and work quality, and what the organization is going to do to help support the long-term growth of everyone it hires. You see, these expectations run both ways, and finding that alignment early is key to helping a candidate understand what they are walking into before even officially taking the position.
3. The First Day Is Only the Beginning of a long Onboarding Journey
I bet everyone has a story about a “bad” onboarding experience—and I bet they all kind of sound the same.
It’s usually a whirlwind one or two-day slog where the focus is having you meet a bunch of people, set up your computer, fill out a ton of health and benefits paperwork, and hear from someone about the mission of the company. At best, it’s an interlude before you can actually begin doing real work. At worst, it leaves your precious new hire stressed and overwhelmed.
While all the individual tasks and activities associated with the “traditional” onboarding experience may be necessary, new employees often come away from this type of experience feeling like an afterthought. This doesn’t help build a strong culture. In fact, it ensures that these new employees end up with the impression that they are just another cog in the machine. Not a good impression.
So, how do organizations do onboarding differently?
At Resultant, the process is treated like a journey. Onboarding begins when your new employee kit arrives before the first day of employment and continues from there as an ongoing process of thoughtfully curated moments that come at just the right time; ensuring that a new team member gets the right information just when they need it. It’s a mix of meetings, emails, reminders, online trainings, personal introductions, documentation, test projects, and more. This program is personalized for each team member with some common components that each employee must complete and some aspects which are completely up to the manager. This mix of the personal and the programmatic helps ensure that every Resultant team member receives a baseline of cultural norms while being flexible enough to cater to each individual’s place within the overall org structure.
By far, the most impactful part of the journey for me was the 90-day check-in with our C Suite. Every week, a leader in the organization personally takes the time to meet with each new hire to see how things are going. No agenda. No pre-formulated questions. No filter. It’s just a chance to listen and to be heard.
While this type of structure takes more time for both the employee and the organization, it ensures a much better cultural integration over the long haul. It builds on both the mission and values pillar of culture, reinforces, and brings additional clarity around expectations, and layers in education and formal knowledge transfer with respect to organizational systems and practices, ensuring all team members are working from the same foundation.
Sustaining Organizational Cultural for The Long Haul
With the right employee onboarding experience, Resultant has achieved a genuine culture of people who love helping others. The power of such a culture is immense: every new hire gets the support they need to be successful, and that success continues to snowball as each hire converts into a brand ambassador for the business—both internally and externally.
Sound intriguing? Join our team today.