This article was updated on July 17, 2018.
Creating corporate culture is a top priority for HR leaders at global organizations. According to Forbes, culture, engagement and employee retention are considered key challenges. In fact, 86 percent of global businesses rate the development of culture as "very important/important," according to Deloitte.
Looking beyond total compensation to talent and engagement can not only help organizations recruit premium talent, but it can provide a strategic advantage against competitors. However, not every global organization has the budget for multimillion-dollar employer branding initiatives that include a series of microsites, well-publicized behind-the-scenes videos or other costly cultural promotions.
Therefore, HR leaders should work with executive teams to improve cultural efforts and emphasize the potential costs that come with poor culture. Organizations with "rich" culture have nearly 35 percent lower voluntary turnover than those with "poor" culture, according to Entrepreneur. As CHROs adopt the duties of a chief culture officer, it's important to consider tactics to build a competitive culture at a price your CFO can live with.
The following are three strategies that put culture at a premium but don't break the bank:
1. Hire Smarter
Southwest Airlines has built a legacy over decades of having happy staff, which is a key tool for customer satisfaction. Harvard Business Review attributes this to the company's longstanding credo to "hire for attitude and train for skill." Its success is built on the notion that "culture is the by-product of individual people."
Adopting Southwest's commitment to hiring for attitude won't solve your talent woes overnight. However, it can be a low-cost way to gradually improve your employer branding and improve your potential for talent acquisition.
2. Instill Your Values
Once your organization has established the framework for your corporate culture, including core values and cultural mission statements, inundate your onboarding and training processes with this knowledge. JetBlue asks its employees to "drink the blue juice" after being hired at JetBlue University, which is a training program for both employees and spouses, Entrepreneur reports.
In this case, the cost required for the airline to instill its core values in employees through presentations and storytelling is worth every penny of the investment — over four years, the airline's profits nearly tripled.
3. Invest in Communication
If your employees' voices aren't heard, your efforts at building an attractive global culture may not be successful. As TNW News highlights, negative employee reports around culture on employer review websites most often focus on a single point of failure: communication. If your employees feel their voices aren't heard or valued in the organization, they may lack the motivation to act as ambassadors for your workplace and values.
Building a culture of communication from both the top down and the bottom up requires a shift in managerial thinking for many organizations. Leadership teams must adopt and model an open-door policy for communication and actively work to both welcome and implement employee feedback. For example, according to Fortune, midsize accounting firm EKS&H prioritizes feedback at the end of a project or on a quarterly basis and asks its employees for upward feedback that is meant for their direct supervisor. It also encourages this feeling of transparency by grouping all employees, regardless of level, into office neighborhoods that are encouraged to get lunch or socialize after work as a group.
HR leaders must embrace their emerging roles as custodians and leaders in creating corporate culture. Although creating core values and a unique cultural identity is an important first step, working on disseminating your messaging in a way that inspires enterprise-wide change can require innovation. Fortunately, many of the most effective ways to build a positive culture don't require an enormous budget.
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