Recently, it was released that banks including Goldman Sachs are adjusting their dress code to be less "stuffy". International companies like Nordea are hosting fashion shows, and a majority of us know of a company that has either a space for napping or a gym for working out.
The mission to start initiatives that will attract the right people and keep them forever is an important one, so here are two things to consider to be more deliberate about your attraction and retention strategies.
Establish A Clear Identity
Too often, companies go out of their scope and throw money at tactics they have heard work, but later get upset when they still aren't getting the talent or results they wanted.
Let's go back to the drawing board. What does your company do and why do you do it? What are the core values and top priorities? What processes can you improve? What types of employees do you need to these things? The answers to these questions can guide the opportunities or incentives that you provide and when you provide them.
For example, ice cream is delicious, but if someone is frustrated and upset with their coworkers or boss and the terrible printer they have to use, the soft serve ice cream isn't as satisfying. A better focus or solution may be to have places for conversations, easier access to their team members, and a nicer printer.
This is why we say "culture is not soft". Culture is an intentional set of habits designed to get the most out of your organization. It's not about 'getting people in the doors'. It's about finding the right people that can maximize your product, make a positive impact in your company, and leave better because of their experience. While you may think you do not have the time or resources for a high performance leadership program, strategic planning retreat, it is a much better investment.
Don't Throw EVERYTHING Away
About a year ago, I sat in a meeting with young college students, recent graduates, and top executives to discuss the trending topic of Attraction and Retention. After students and recent graduates discussed the value of following passions and using their strengths, one of the executives said, "We want to provide you with those opportunities and while all of this is great, we still need you to run the plays that we call."
This continues to stick with me because it is a very true and valid statement. You should not always feel the need to bend over backwards to appease your employees. Our team at People Centric constantly tell clients and partners that their job is not to make their employees happy; it is to help them succeed or fail quickly.
These two concepts do not have to contradict each other, either. We can create environments that reflect and keep our identify AND provide opportunities for employees. We sometimes refer to this as "Freedom to act or think within a set of guardrails". It is right to maintain the status quo and expectations because there is a job to be done, but it is just as right to provide opportunities that engage our employees.
All of the ice cream in the world and the tactics I mentioned in the first paragraph are great and will work in some cases, but the results won't last without an identity and set of expectations first. A work environment should be about purpose, play, and potential, and if you are not able to provide for those basic needs, you'll win a couple of battles, but not the talent war.