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What's culture got to do with it?

Purpose, values and why they’re important

Okay, picture this. You’re in the office and you walk over to someone in your payroll team and ask them what your company vision, mission, and values are. Can they tell you? Doesn’t matter if they’re one of your first employees and have seen you through from the start-up phase, or they only started last week, every person in your business should resonate with your vision, mission, and values. According to Forbes, good company culture can increase revenue by more than four times. 

How do you make this happen? Have a look at your vision, is it the light on the hill that we’re all working towards? Take your mission, is that what you do every day? Not just you, everyone that sits around you, works remotely, the candidate interviewing in the next room. Your values; are they the things to live by every time you open your laptop or walk into a meeting?

If you hesitated when answering any of those questions, you may need to press pause and reassess. This is a huge deciding factor as a scale-up. People want to work for scale-ups because they want to be on the journey, and it’s often one of your biggest cards when competing against the big banks, multinationals, and companies with a lot more cash to splash.

This should resonate through everything that you do, not just the day-to-day dealing with each other and your customers. Have you got your Corporate Social Responsibility sorted? Put together some tangible things that your company can have a positive impact on. A great place to start is committing to a strong ESG strategy. This also connects your people and potential candidates to a bigger purpose and can be a big draw card when competing for top talent, but most importantly just being a better company. 

So in short, nailing your purpose, values, vision and mission will set you up on the path to successful company culture. 

More than ever candidates are focused on finding a company that offers them a meaningful mission, interesting problems to solve, and a chance to work on challenging, impactful projects.- Kiri Evans, Senior Talent Acquisition Partner, Immutable, on site via Talent

What’s your reputation like? 

First things first, let’s just clear something up - Employer Value Proposition (EVP) and Employer Brand are not the same thing. Employer Brand often amplifies what your EVP is to your target audience but there’s a lot of things at play. 

Your EVP should be a true reflection of what your team is getting out of their day-to-day, not something that your senior leadership team has thrown together over a few glasses of wine. What attracts people to your company can be a big variety of things, from culture, to work environment, career and development, pay and more, and how you deliver on the commitments that you made will be a strong indicator of how healthy your turnover stats are. 

In its simplest form, Employer Brand is your company’s reputation as a good place to work. Think of this like lifecycle marketing. It doesn’t just happen around adoption (or hire), it’s a large funnel that starts with awareness and consideration. Your consumer brand can have a really positive (or in some cases negative) impact on your employer brand, if you’re doing really cool stuff as a consumer brand, likelihood is that people are going to want to get on board with that. However, this is definitely not enough. A couple of bad experiences and a change in consumer brand and you could be up the creek without a paddle.

Scale-ups have a buzz of their own, lean into that. Create a community around your brand and ensure that your EVP resonates with your people, and that you’re walking the talk. From there make sure your candidate journey and employee life cycle are second to none. 

Interested in looking into this a little more? Get in touch. 

Pay it forward

Rewards do not have to be costly, or involve additional payments and bonuses. They can be as simple as feedback loops and open communication about a job well done. Employers should ensure that any rewards provided to colleagues are appropriate to the individual. Not all employees exercise at the gym or are interested in a long lunch with the champagne flowing, therefore discounted gym memberships or extended lunches or dinners might not be a one size fits all. It all comes down to being inclusive. 

Not sure where to start? We’re going to sound like a broken record here but talk to your people. There are many different personas that make up a team, and there are lots of different tools that you can use to identify these differences to find out how best to reward. At Talent, we use a little something called the PI index, and we've found that it helps identify personal traits, thus building stronger, more sympathetic teams. Just like rewards, everyone communicates differently and being attuned to these different styles can help you in the long run. 

According to the Harvard Business Review, 82% of people surveyed feel like their supervisors don’t recognise them and an additional 40% added that they would do more work if they were recognised more often. In a scale-up where people are wearing a lot of hats just to make things happen, this can have a big impact. 

Moral of the story: A well-deserved pat on the back can go a long way. And it’s so easy to do without breaking the bank!

Different strokes for different folks

Open and honest communication from the top down can help to foster a positive culture within the business, where your people are kept informed of strategies, directions, outcomes, and significant changes. It’s a bit of a no-brainer that businesses that involve their teams in business planning and decision making are more likely to have an engaged workforce and retain valued employees. Your team will also feel a sense of recognition if their views are taken into account and they feel heard.  Check out our podcast on Internal Comms with Christie O’Toole from Salesforce - ​It's the Vibe Podcast if you want to delve into this in a bit more detail. 

Let’s get into it. How are you talking to your people; is the leadership team known for keeping secrets or are you an open book? Don’t get us wrong, there’s pros and cons with all types of communication, but the more open and honest the better off you’ll be in the long run. We all know the feeling of being out of the loop - it’s not fun! 

Different people like different communication levels, styles, mediums, pretty much any variable you can think of applies here. Having a single source of truth is incredibly important. Your people need to know where to go for important updates. Please don’t make this another email chain, this is 2022. 

There are a huge range of different communication channels that you can use, even company social media channels can be one. Our recruiters live on LinkedIn, so it’s no surprise that it’s often the first place they learn new information. There are about 1,000 internal comms channel providers, we work with Blink and Slack a lot if you need somewhere to start.

In the scale-up world, it’s safe to say that most of us are pretty tech savvy. Scaling a company around one persona never did inclusivity any favours. Have a think about how your communication style is received by different people across the business, and if you feel you aren’t cutting through, you may need to rethink how you deliver your message. 

Some people aren’t a fan of the social media style communication system, and that’s okay too. Make sure that your managers are across what’s going on so that everyone feels included, regardless of how they get their news. All hands meetings are a great way around this, and helps reinforce a sense of community within your scale-up. 

“The fastest way to get customers to love your brand is to get employees to love their jobs”- Tiffany Bova, Global Growth and Innovation Salesforce and award-winning author of Growth IQ.

If you want to dig into more insights, check out our 2022 More Than Money Salary Guide for market trends, regional insights, salaries, and more!