Talent and HR News Weekly Update: Company Culture

It's been a little while since we highlighted company culture in our Talent and HR News Weekly Update. There was a lot of news around this topic this week so we included a little more reading than usual. It's the middle of February with not much going on, so we thought you'd probably have the time to indulge! Have a great Friday!

1) A 7-step plan for improving your company’s workplace culture from HR Morning

Workplace culture can be similar to the weather — everybody talks about it, but who actually does anything to change it? Guest poster Sandeep Kumar offers seven steps employers can take to improve their day-to-day working environments. Most of us spend too much time at work. When you account for the commuting to and from the office; the time spent at night and on weekends preparing reports, presentations, and other work-related projects; and even the time we spend thinking and worrying about work, it’s fair to say that we spend most of our time working.

2) How to Build a Passionate Company from Harvard Business Review

"Executives have begun to understand that to build a great business, companies need a larger goal, one that transcends the traditional bottom line. The best and brightest talent are attracted to organizations that offer a broader purpose. But simply defining a purpose is not enough. It’s just a first step, your organization’s ante to get into the game. What sets companies apart, the companies where people love to work, is passion. People want to be passionate about what they do, and they want to be surrounded by people who are also passionate about what they do. Unfortunately, the challenge for leaders is that there is no formal management theory for how to build, leverage, and measure the level of passion in your employees. It essentially falls into that ambiguous category of “you’ll know it when you see it.” For me, a passionate employee is someone who pays attention to the whats and the hows of the company’s strategies and tactics, someone who is involved and curious and who constantly questions what the company is doing and their own role in making it successful."

3) 10 Principles of Organizational Culture from Strategy + Business

"Companies can tap their natural advantage when they focus on changing a few important behaviors, enlist informal leaders, and harness the power of employees’ emotions. How often have you heard somebody — a new CEO, a journalist, a management consultant, a leadership guru, a fellow employee — talk about the urgent need to change the culture? They want to make it world-class. To dispense with all the nonsense and negativity that annoys employees and stops good intentions from growing into progress. To bring about an entirely different approach, starting immediately."

4) Meaningful Work Beats Over-the-Top Perks Every Time from Harvard Business Review

"A few years ago, I visited a Bay Area startup, and when the receptionist greeted me in the lobby, she asked a standard question: “Would you care for something to drink?” I asked for a water, but she responded with a counteroffer: “We’re pouring a very oaky Chardonnay today.” It was just after lunchtime — a little early for wine, at least for me — but when I raised an eyebrow at my would-be sommelier, she continued: “We also have a bartender who comes in at 3 pm every day, and he makes a mean mojito.” When I made it past the lobby and into the CEO’s office, I asked about the daily booze service. The CEO talked about how difficult it is to recruit top talent. For a startup, differentiating yourself with pay and stock options isn’t enough anymore, he said, so over-the-top perks have become the coin of the realm. The afternoon cocktails make people happy, and they’re something few competing employers are offering. To him, it makes sense."

5) 5 Ways to Depict Company Culture Through Periscope from Talent Management

"Aside from the job description, how does your company communicate its culture to prospective candidates? Many struggle to define what exactly their culture is, as it is often intangible and something to experience. According to new iCIMS research, 53 percent of job seekers indicated that company culture is one of the most important factors during their search. What better way to depict company culture with the masses than to share video footage of the office and its workers? After just over a year on the market, Periscope, a video streaming and social network platform, features more than 10 million users worldwide. When all that you need to use it is a smartphone and a Twitter account, it’s easy to share “scopes,” or videos with a broad audience."

6) She Created Netflix's Culture And It Ultimately Got Her Fired from Fast Company

"During her 14 years at Netflix, Patty McCord kept a head-down approach, isolating herself within Netflix’s walls, to eventually come up with the brilliant 124-page document called "Netflix Culture: Freedom & Responsibility." So far, it's been shared over 13 million times on Slideshare and has been called "the most important document ever to come out of the Valley" by Sheryl Sandberg. So when the streaming giant’s former chief talent officer was asked to "move on" from the company in 2012, there was a lot of speculation as to why she left. Steve Henn at NPR attributed McCord’s departure to her backing a plan that split the company into two: one for DVD services and the other for streaming. The plan also increased subscription prices, which led to 800,000 cancelled subscriptions."

7) Company Culture Is Not The Office Foosball Table from Forbes

"Quite often, we hear about great company cultures, but many of those times, we’re highlighting the wrong things.  Yes, it is cool to talk about free employee lunches at Google or paying employees to quit like at Zappos.  Yet culture is really about the environment we create that allow our employees to achieve theirpersonal visions, not just the company version.  And as leaders, when we deliver on the promise that our company exists to enhance the lives of the people that work within it, the real magic unfolds. I want to dedicate this blog to a meaningful discussion of culture, both in small business (where I’ve spent thirty years), and in big business (where I’ve spent the last three).  What I’ve discovered is that while the challenges around execution are different, the goal is universal – to institutionalize a place where people experience purpose, feel valued, and have opportunities to learn and grow."

Lexi Gordon is a Lead Consultant for exaqueo, a workforce consultancy that helps organizations build their cultures, employer brands and talent strategies. Contact exaqueo to learn more about our employer brand innovation, workforce research, and recruiting strategy offerings.

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