2017 has brought to light numerous problems in the workplace. Diversity, inclusion and retention have jumped to the top of every company’s priority list. Silicon Valley workplace culture, the #metoo movement and numerous other social issues have showcased how important it is for senior leadership to take charge in setting corporate culture. However, if we take a step back and look at what influences culture, we see that it’s a two-way street.
Culture is the social behavior and norms found within an organization. It dictates how a company behaves and provides a blueprint that helps employees make decisions that are in line with the company’s values. At scale, culture is what pushes employees forward in the same direction and is made abundantly clear during interviews and on boarding. Similarly, the types of employees that a company brings in will directly influence the work environment.
Moving forward with the assumption that the types of people you bring into an organization directly influence culture, we can safely assume that talent acquisition is a big part of the equation. Over the past few years, there has been a glorification of “startup culture”, which conjures up the image of young people working together late into the night surrounded by ping pong tables, beer fridges and nap pods. Peeling back the layers behind young employee work ethic, we find that their motivation is inspired by how much they are learning and the impact they are making. For many young people, taking a pay cut is a small price to pay for an experience that will pay dividends farther down in their careers.
Advice to businesses: Find the best talent, mentor that talent and give it the opportunity to shine. Create an environment that fosters a culture of mentorship by having senior management lean in and invest in young talent. Educate young people about the business so that they understand why they are doing what doing and don’t just feel like a cog in the machine. The CEO taking one hour to have lunch with an analyst will not only impact that analyst’s career but will also spread like wildfire amongst the other analysts. Culture starts at the bottom and moves its way to the top as employees advance through the organization.
This is the first in a series of HR pieces that we’ll be writing as we explore the recruiting space, with a focus on campus recruiting and millennial retention. In the spirit of full disclosure, this is a learning process for us as well. Homi started as a way for us to meet cool alumni and figure out what we want to do with our lives. We never expected to be in the talent acquisition space but the more students, alumni and HR professionals we talk to, the more we learn.
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Originally published January 23, 2018