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Masha Masha is a content developer at IceHrm. You can contact her at masha[at]

Building a Strong Company Culture

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Hubspot was named the second best place to work in the world by Glassdoor last year - and that success is thanks to its culture. “Culture is to recruiting what product is to marketing,” says Hubspot’s culture code. "We believe that work is not a place we go, but a thing we do. Work is a verb, not a noun."

And of course they are right. Can you imagine an HR manager trying to do their job without a culture to lean on? It is the foundation of all operations, and yet HR leaders often create strategic plans to improve culture rather than seeing it as the foundation of all operations. Culture is your company's ecosystem.

For those who missed the event, here are the key takeaways about building and maintaining a culture that works for you.

1.Building: a community, not just a workplace

One of the goals of HR should be to create community. In an environment where employees enjoy working, where they feel supported and valued, they are more likely to stay. As the Harvard Business Review reports, companies that don't embrace workplace community experience lower job satisfaction, fewer promotions, more frequent job changes, and higher attrition rates.

The numbers are indeed shocking. Team Stage found that employees with a strong emotional connection to the company perform 69 percent better, while those who are committed are more committed and do their best to achieve the company's goals. One way to strengthen this emotional commitment is through upskilling and retraining. Adena White explained this in her excellent talk: "Studies have consistently shown that employees who feel their company is investing in them are 73% more likely to report positive workplace experiences."

Strong workplace communities are also beneficial for people. For example, teams are more motivated and productive. But if they know that their company has their back, they are likely to want to stay.

As White pointed out, replacing an employee can cost a company half to twice their annual salary. Of course, there are the direct costs of job posting and recruitment fees, but employers also need to consider the hidden costs such as time and knowledge. Given the tight talent market, it has never been more important to focus on building communities.

2.Nourish: a bottom-up approach

There is a lot of research that highlights the benefits of a bottom-up, employee-focused approach in the workplace - this also applies to HR leaders and community building. Actively listening to your employees about what they want and how they feel can lead to an authentic and positive change in company culture. This is very encouraging for professionals, especially when they see their employer implementing the changes they demand.

I have experienced the benefits first hand. At Recruitee, owned by Tellent, we took a bottom-up perspective and introduced two new strategies to better understand and improve employee experiences: engagement surveys and retention interviews.

Engagement surveys

Twice a year we conduct a survey that gives our employees the opportunity to communicate with HR and tell us how they feel about the culture at Recruitee. We've found this survey to be invaluable because it allows us to introduce perks and incentives that really matter to our teams.

Last year, following the pandemic, our teams wanted to spend more time outdoors and invest in their physical fitness. We listened and introduced ClassPass to the company - and the response was very positive. Slack channels were set up for group training, and some of our colleagues started doing hot yoga or bouldering together. By listening to our employees, we gained a new benefit and together we are strengthening our community.

To hold an interview

We're big proponents of interviews at Recruitee. Through surveys that ask the right questions and one-on-one conversations with team members, we have the opportunity to truly listen and understand their experiences and the areas where we can improve as a company. This is a kind of check and balance for us, a cultural health check.

As HR leaders, we often overlook the importance of asking the right questions when it comes to improving company culture. Who better to provide information than our own employees?

3.Grow: Be a gatekeeper

Talent acquisition employees are the gatekeepers of the company. They play an important role in maintaining and developing the corporate culture. A lot of people talk about cultural fit, but I really believe we should always focus on culture.

We want people who identify with our culture, who fit our values and - this is important - who are agile and bring something new to the company. Without that last part, you're just setting up mirrors: mirrors of you and your team. Mirrors reflect, but they do not promote growth.

The gatekeepers also ensure that your company is diverse and inclusive. For real growth, you need different perspectives and opinions, all working towards a common goal. The right attitude is crucial, and the people you welcome into your community and culture must be considered, as well as the skills and characteristics they bring with them. Disagreements can have a negative impact on business and culture, but gatekeepers must act proactively because culture should not be viewed as something fixed and static, but as something fluid and adaptable.

One way to mitigate risk is to collaborate on hiring. I had the pleasure of working with Recruitee and learning about their collaborative hiring process, which is not only an ATS that helps you grow, but also one that allows you to do so together as a whole team. It makes the hiring process much easier and more effective, helps reduce unconscious bias and also helps promote our company culture through the bottom-up approach.

4.Maintain: Stay consistent

Consistency is the queen of culture: everything you publish on your website and social media channels must reflect your internal values. Inconsistency can lead to weakness. How your company is perceived externally can be crucial to attracting the right talent. Recent research from Jobvite found that as many as 86% of job seekers avoid companies with a bad reputation.

Transparency is crucial, and in most cases the job description is the first point of contact for potential applicants. After all, they may have never heard of your company before finding you on job boards. The way you describe your company and the position must be reflective and honest - and all of this is conveyed through the written word.

Copywriting is not always one of the top skills of an HR manager. That's fine, especially these days with the help of AI, which can act as a helpful co-pilot when creating job descriptions. It's a new tech tool that hiring managers and recruiters can use to achieve the big goal of consistency.

I firmly believe that the added value of corporate culture cannot be overestimated - it simply cannot. It's so important to build a community from the ground up, see your talent acquisition team as gatekeepers, and continually nurture your culture as it grows and thrives.

In conclusion, cultivating a strong company culture is paramount for success. From building a supportive community to nurturing it through bottom-up approaches, being gatekeepers of culture, and maintaining consistency, HR plays a crucial role. Embracing tools like IceHrm can streamline processes and foster a thriving workplace ecosystem.

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