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Using Company Culture to Attract, Retain, and Engage Talent

by Beth on November 5th, 2012

Next week I’m moderating a conference, organized by the Northern Virginia Technology Council and sponsored by Invertix Corporation, entitled “Best practices for recruiting and retaining talent”. The panelists, winners and finalists of the 2012 Hottest Company Culture Hot Ticket Award, will discuss how company culture helps them successfully recruit and retain top talent.

In thinking about the importance of culture for organizations, I realized most of the research that I have done throughout my career has been related to company culture:

  • For my very first research project at the Universidad Carlos III de Madrid, a colleague and I designed a computerized tool that let HR professionals select employees based on the alignment of their values with the company culture. Selecting people who share the values of the company significantly increases the likelihood that they remain with the company. They will also be more engaged because doing work that is aligned with their values is more meaningful to them.
  • Another line of research that I pursued was knowledge management. At the time technology was being used to create platforms that let employees share information about their projects; what worked, what didn’t, what to do differently the next time. The problem was that the focus was on technology and not on the people who were expected to use it. My colleagues and I studied ways of motivating employees to want to share their knowledge. The solution was to create cultural norms that encouraged the sharing of information.
  • When I moved to Arizona I became interested in women’s careers. My research reveled that many women were leaving their careers in order to care for their children. It was clear that one of the main reasons they were opting out was because company cultures did not support their need to manage both work and non-work responsibilities. Until cultures become more supportive of employees by allowing them the flexibility needed to balance work and non-work demands, they will continue to lose talent. And this is no longer just a gender issue. Research on Generation Y shows that more men are demanding greater work-family balance than ever before.
  • Finally, my current research focuses specifically on how to create positive workplace cultures. Findings from positive psychology have made it clear that people who experience positive emotions are more successful. So companies with positive cultures will benefit from higher levels of performance. They will also be more successful at attracting and retaining the best and the brightest.

I look forward to learning how the panelists at the conference have created positive cultures. I truly believe company culture is the key to organizational success. It is vital for attracting, retaining and engaging talent!

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