How to create a culture that attracts AND retains

The culture of an organisation has become a competitive advantage for not only attracting top talent but retaining it too. But, in today’s labour market, half of the world’s future workforce – millennials – are open to the idea of a new job opportunity and 38% expect to move on from their current employer within two years.

We know creating a thriving workplace culture is one way to prevent employee migration, but what does that look like? And where do organisations start when looking to develop this highly sought-after culture? 


Ultimately, companies want a culture that’s so good employees don’t want to leave. 

The ethos of an organisation is its character and personality, made up of shared beliefs and values, and this personality needs to be lived and breathed by everyone within the business and projected outwardly. Done successfully, it’ll help secure top talent – old and new. 

Be employee-centric

Since employees are your organisation’s best asset, top-class cultures need to be employee-centric and to achieve this, the environment needs to honour and take care of the employees so they can take care of your customers. 

So, here are four ways to begin developing an employee-centric culture:

  • Recognise your people – Your workforce needs to be acknowledged for their hard work and achievements, so if you notice someone’s pitched particularly well or see your sales team celebrating, don’t hesitate to get in on the action and show your gratitude. You could give out some sort of monetary reward (a gift card, for example), but a simple pat on the back can go a long way to making someone feel appreciated.
  • Communicate and collaborate – Key to a successful culture is communication, and by opening up the lines for two-way dialogue and encouraging collaboration across teams and departments, you’ll develop a culture where everyone feels equally important and involved – increasing staff retainment.

Don’t believe us? Check out John Lewis’s Partnership model (whereby all staff members are made partners in the business) which has been shown to reduce employee turnover. 

  • Support and guidance – Staff need to feel they can ask for help and advice at any time, so those in senior positions should make themselves available. This’ll not only develop a culture of openness but one where employees feel safe and secure, too. 
  • Accountability – Holding everyone to the same level of accountability is crucial to building trust, encouraging camaraderie and creating a successful culture.
  • Get together – Seize opportunities to get your team together outside of the workplace – like a team-building event, retreat or meal. It could be to reward the completion of a project or to celebrate an occasion but whatever the reason, the excursion will promote bonding, team-work and leave employees feeling valued. 

Promote autonomy

Another important factor in an organisation’s culture is employee autonomy – i.e. the amount of freedom they have in completing their work. 

When employee autonomy is in action it’s been shown to boost motivation, job satisfaction and productivity, but most relevant here, employee turnover. 

One way to promote autonomy is by introducing a flat hierarchy with fewer levels of management where employees are supervised less but their involvement in decision making is more. 

Did you know? Flat hierarchy cultures have been shown to attract skilled and ambitious teams who take the initiative to work. 

It doesn’t need to be as drastic as this though, you can nurture autonomy by simply allowing employees to manage their own schedules and decide how their work should be done. By enabling this, you’ll boost your chances of retaining existing employees and also securing the best staff going forward. 

Core values and beliefs

We touched on it earlier but the core values and beliefs of your organisation are its backbone and the foundation of your culture. 

Company values and beliefs are pretty similar to personal ones, things like respect, integrity and equality. When setting your business’s core values, be sure they’re authentic and not just for show. Then, disseminate them far and wide, make sure every employee knows them and abides by them, have them on your website and include them in your hiring process. 

A good set of beliefs will set the tone for the behaviour of your workforce and ultimately the company culture as a whole, as well as being a great selling point to top talent who’ll be eager to work for a value-driven organisation. 

Did you know: working for an organisation that makes a positive difference is important to 84% of millennials? And your core values and beliefs will demonstrate how your company does just that. 

Embrace uniqueness

Everybody’s different and will be driven and motivated by a multitude of different factors. In order to boost job satisfaction, productivity and commitment, you need to acknowledge this and make individuality part of your company culture.  

A great way to do this is by conducting a personality test on both existing staff and prospective hires. In doing so, you’ll be able to work out how people are wired, what their strengths are and whether they’re a good fit for your organisation, and then all this can be used to put them in roles and assign them tasks that’ll suit their personality.

The result? Employees with a sense of purpose who love their job and excel in it, and why would they want to move on from that? Properly matching candidates to your organisation and personnel to their roles will also save you money, because did you know…

Hiring the wrong person for the job costs organisations as much as 140% of the employee’s salary?

Adopt a top-down approach

For your culture to truly change and evolve there needs to be commitment and implementation from the top down. After all, what’s the use in developing and reinforcing great values and employee autonomy if they’re not adopted and encouraged by management? You’ve got to practice what you preach or employees will view you as inauthentic – i.e. all talk no action. 

So, get all of those in senior positions on board and consider a team meeting or seminar where the business strategy for introducing this new culture is discussed. Don’t forget to let everyone have their say though, and hash it out until you reach a group consensus before introducing it to the whole company.  

Offer continuous learning

Implementing a strong learning culture will benefit both your organisation and your employees and professional development opportunities have been shown to increase employee engagement as well as reduce turnover. 

Looking at millennials again, 87% cited professional training and career growth as being very important so by offering a culture dedicated to just that, you’ll boost your chances of securing top talent in the future. 

Tip: Offer tools and resources for employees to learn while they work as well as training courses. They’ll feel like you’ve got their best interests at heart and you’ll have a workforce that’s up-to-date on all the latest technologies, regulations and trends – it’s a win-win.

If you need support attracting creme de la creme candidates, we’ve got all the tools you need. Interested? Head here to find out more on how we can help you stand out from the crowd.