Creating a good company culture can make your business thrive, and as research shows, having a strong corporate culture and values can demonstrate significant business impact. According to Deloitte’s research, organisations with a strong, mission-driven culture have a 40% higher retention rate than those who neglect or ignore their culture, which translates into higher productivity, and reduced recruitment costs. Culture is clearly important to employees as well. As Gartner cites, culture is the most discussed talent issue on earnings calls, with mentions growing 12% annually since 2010.
With culture clearly rising through the ranks of organisational and employee-level priorities, now more than ever, we need to ensure we’re promoting good company culture to new employees.
Discuss culture with candidates
It’s critical to get culture right, but where do companies begin? While sharing the specifics of a company’s culture from day one is a great start, many companies now communicate and share company culture initiatives before an employees’ official start date. Why do they do it? Well, while your long-time employees may understand and represent company culture, it can be challenging for new joiners to understand and embrace the values unless you start from the very beginning.
Promoting company culture from the start of the recruitment phase is actually hugely valuable, and connecting new joiners with key stakeholders and culture initiatives prior to day one has more impact than you may think.
At Wolters Kluwer, we continuously strive for an inclusive company culture in which we attract, develop, and retain high-performing, productive, and diverse talent. Through this, we’ve learned that sharing culture perspectives and values from the very first conversation with a prospective employee can ensure you get the right calibre of people who see eye to eye with your vision. It also helps candidates determine whether the fit is right for them – let’s not forget that this is a two-way street! It’s also the perfect chance to begin communicating the elements of a healthy working culture, such as how your organisation handles communication, feedback, equity, recognition, and accountability.
Think about the specific induction your new joiner needs
Once candidates have accepted offers, companies really need to ensure they are walking the walk as well as talking the talk. The employee induction phase really does need to be seamless and should feature organised introductions, briefings and meaningful conversations – all the while inviting feedback so that you’re not just claiming to have a culture focus. It has to be intrinsic to all that you do as a company.
Research shows just how critical effective onboarding is: according to a Glassdoor survey, highly effective onboardings make employees 18 times more likely to feel highly committed to their organisation, and 33% more likely to be engaged at work.
However, while culture should play a key role in the employee onboarding process, onboarding is, sadly, often limited to meeting HR colleagues and being provided with a laptop and entry card!
As a good employer, it’s essential to think beyond of the bare basics of onboarding. Think about the specific induction your new joiner needs and begin with their immediate team as a starting point. Take the time to educate the team on who is joining so that they understand their background, experience and qualifications too. These team members can become culture ambassadors for the business if the groundwork is put in to connect people effectively.
During the onboarding programme, ensure new employees are connected with those individuals who are passionate about company culture, so that they can be carefully briefed on your company vision, strategy and values. This doesn’t need to involve days of corporate videos, slideshows or organisation charts. Valuable, meaningful conversations with key team members will give your new joiner the chance to interact and feel part of company culture from the very beginning.
Help your new starter embrace wider company culture
Beyond coordinating internal chats among teams, it’s important to welcome your new employee into the broader company culture. This could include inviting them to ‘meet the leadership team’ sessions, whereby they are invited to speak to leaders and clearly understand their expertise and areas of responsibility. You can also welcome them by introducing them to the entire company via your intranet – or by introducing them at your next company meeting.
This culture of communication and recognition is especially important to new joiners, who can often feel intimidated or isolated. Today, loneliness is on the rise, with the Office for National Statistics reporting in April 2021 that one in 14 people in Great Britain claimed to be lonely, up 40% since the previous year. All leaders would agree that they’d like to think their workplace culture makes employees feel included, and having a warm, inclusive and vibrant company culture which makes colleagues bond can really help to combat loneliness.
Start as you mean to go on
It goes without saying: creating a good company culture is not an isolated exercise. It has to be continuous and work on a number of levels that also include wellbeing, mental health awareness and teambuilding initiatives. This may also include providing employees access to experts and Employee Assistance Programs should they be experiencing any personal or work-related challenges.
Ultimately, it’s in everyone’s interests to champion culture endeavours, but it must be supported and ‘lived out’ from the top. Business leaders must lead by example. The beauty of starting with every new employee is that these individuals will become your agents of culture within the business and will reflect a positive employer brand in every subsequent customer and candidate interaction.