happy office culture

Editor’s Note: This article on company culture in a employee’s job market was originally written in 2018. The statistics have been updated to reflect current trends.

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, last month the unemployment rate was 3.6 percent, for the third month in a row.

What does this mean for you as a nonprofit leader?

It’s an employee’s job market. The economy is strong, and opportunities for talent abound. Salary and compensation benefits aren’t enough to entice the kind of talent you want to hire.

Today’s top talent is seeking an employer with a strong reputation and a healthy workplace culture.

Job seekers have the upper hand

On Glassdoor, employees and former employees anonymously review companies and their management. With such information at their fingertips, job seekers are more educated than ever when interviewing. Today, many potential hires finally see that they are interviewing the company as much as the company is interviewing them.

Social media and crowd sourcing tools have given job seekers the upper hand. The values and norms of your organization can be exposed before a new employee walks in the door.

Your organization may need a culture facelift for one reason or another, such as enticing new employees or retaining current talent. However, as this article from Harvard Business Review astutely notes, “you can’t trade your company’s culture in as if it were a used car.”

What can you do?

From culture transformation to culture impact

For years, when talking about workplace culture, we’ve used big words like “transformation” and “evolution.” Leaders tend to feel overwhelmed at the prospect of culture change because it’s been painted as a huge and scary endeavor. What if there were a new goal: culture influence? Taking small steps to influence your culture today can have a big impact tomorrow.

Just like with any personal resolution, the hardest part is getting started. Don’t wait until you have a grand plan in place to act. The following are three steps you can take today to create a stand-out nonprofit culture.

Build on a firm foundation.

Your organization has certain underlying beliefs, assumptions, values, and ways of interacting that are worth celebrating. There always is room for improvement, but it’s important to build on the good that exists today. As a first step, identify those cultural norms that you wish to uphold. Then, using your organization’s mission as a guide post, write new values that you can envision your organization emulating. These values should align with and support your existing business strategy and performance goals. Describe in detail the behaviors employees will exhibit and the practices the organization will endorse if these values become part of your agency’s culture.

Recruit leaders to teach.

Influencing culture is not possible without the buy-in, support, and action of your leaders. Not only should leaders be involved in culture creation conversations, they must commit to communicating and living the norms deemed desirable by your organization. Recruit senior leaders to teach culture workshops to new employees. Senior leaders should be involved in ongoing training for existing employees.

Hold all employees accountable.

Finally, incorporate goals into each employees’ performance scorecard to help them live the organization’s norms. Reward employees who routinely show desired values with compensation increases and public recognition. When you celebrate culture, more employees will join the party.

As you think about these first steps to influence your organization’s culture, could you use some extra guidance, a trusted partner, or simply a jump start? Brighter Strategies is here to help. Contact us today to learn more.

Inclusive Hiring Framework

Attracting, hiring, and retaining talent are critical elements of any Diversity, Equity & Inclusion plan. But having a diverse pool of candidates to choose from doesn’t just happen. Paying attention to sourcing techniques, the interview process, candidate evaluation and onboarding is necessary to developing a well-rounded workforce.

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