5 Workplace Culture Trends For A New Year

work job cultureBy Megan M. Brio


I've talked before about personality-culture fit on Glassdoor, and it hit a nerve with the community. Now that 2012 is here and hints of economic recovery are in the air, I'd like to look at five culture 'musts' organizations should adopt to attract job seekers as the market slowly improves.

It's been difficult for organizations to focus on culture fit with uncertain markets, wary consumers and business customers unwilling to make investments in new technologies or products. For job seekers it's also been a challenge to put culture fit at the top of the list when just getting past a phone screen was near impossible.

But 2012 is supposed to be the year when the economy comes back, at least to 8 or 8.5 percent unemployment. Some of the money companies had on the sidelines is moving into play in the form of hiring, improvements to infrastructure to support employee productivity, and most importantly, refocusing efforts to improve upon or repair tarnished corporate cultures.

For organizations, it makes sense to start rebuilding a compelling company culture by looking at five key attributes of culture, which go way beyond a mission statement:

  1. Culture is more than the personality of the workplace and its brand; it's about the collective experience of working in that organization. Is your organization positive overall? If not, you have work to do.

  2. Is your culture differentiated from the competitors'? Time to do that or face dropping sales and stepped-up employee attrition.

  3. Do you use culture to attract and recruit talent? If the answer is no, it's time for culture repair.

  4. Are company values clear to all employee groups? If not, you won't have alignment between line employees and strategic managers.

  5. Are employees compensated fairly and competitively? Include health and other benefits in this review; compensation and benefits reveal how well a company treats its employees, one of the keystones of culture.

Because a company's culture attracts and recruits and retains talent, which is differentiating, assessing your culture early in the year will not only help you learn why employees stay, but also what job seekers are looking for as they plan their next career move.

If you're a job seeker, look for these five culture red flags – it's a quick way to sort the great companies from the good or merely adequate:

  • Does the company have a mission statement? Does it include reference to strategic vision, the role of the company in the broader market, and how the company views and treats employees?

  • Does the company have programs which prove they value their employees? From employee of the month awards to bonuses and recognition on social media channels, demonstrating respect for the role employees play in the success of a company is an indicator of a positive culture.

  • Does the company have high turnover? Check on Glassdoor, LinkedIn and other social media sites to learn what others think. If possible find out average tenure.

  • Do your values match those of the company? This one can be answered by researching online and talking with several employees.

  • Does the company invest in growth - both employee and productivity? How long has it been since the website was updated? Look on the Wayback Machine for changes. Chat with employees via social sites and ask how the company invests in their growth and success.

I hope 2012 sees resurgence in companies investing in corporate culture. In my view, it will be the differentiating factor in retention and hiring in the New Year.

As always, let us know what you think below.



Next: New Year, Better Career? 5 Resolutions To Help Get You There



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