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I am sexy (company) and I know it!

Why company culture matters more than a salary…or at least…why it should?

Today I would like to discuss about something very controversial. Starting from one of thousands of statistics you can find on the net.

“Eight out of ten people would prefer to work in a happy environment and get on with colleagues than earn a high wage, according to a new report.”……Does it true? Partially true? Absolutely false? Mmmmm….

I would like to start with a statement that probably is true for all of us (at least should be, otherwise….)

"Most of us will spend the biggest portion of our lives working and it’s important that any job we have enhances us both professionally and personally.” Furthermore, if people are unhappy in their job, more likely to say it is due to the dull nature of the work, or feeling unappreciated, than because of low pay.

In my years of experience as recruiter and headhunter I collected some of the most important reasons that keep people engaged or willing to change the job looking for: more responsibility, recognition, having nice colleagues & managers, having a good pay, making a difference, loving job itself, learning new things, being challenged and of course…. work environment!

When I look toward smart and ambitious young people (mostly I have in my mind the IT ninja/guru/kung-fu/jeek and others army J) obviously, I see lot of opportunities in a dynamic business jungle of these days. Big successful companies are offering a lot of perks and extra benefits, not only to attract new hires but also to keep good employees happy and satisfied in their jobs. The current generation of educated, skilled and driven young people seeks more than just a salary or fancy office perks in their work environment.

Company culture is still one of the most important factors that separate from just “ok job with great salary that I might leave if a better offer comes along" from "a great job/challenge with an awesome company& colleagues, culture that will make me stay happy and motivated".

Seems easy: lot of competition outside, so why company are not investing to attract and retaining best talent just offering a job environment stimulating that is so attractive by itself that make redundant the use of headhunter like me? Good question. They like me? They want to spend money with external headhunter? They do not believe in the capabilities of their internal talent team? Too many question for me J

Honestly speaking I do not know. I had many (too many) experience with clients that are not able to move further in adapting to the new dynamics of the changed world. We want to be social, but then we are not able to read or facing negative opinion on the net about our company. Do you really think still that people are desperately looking for any job? Yes, you are. Sorry. This will create much bigger problem in the future.

Recently I refused to cooperate with one well know company just because the reputation and the conditions offered to such “talents” they would like to recruit ware completely far-far-far away to the reality. So for what should I invest my time, resources, know-how for such mission impossible? No thanks, but I explained them why no thanks. Maybe they will understand and work internally to turn toward more attractive company. Company must become sexy. They need to falling in love with their best talents. How? There are tools. Sure, there is a cost but the HR team should able to present to CEO the ROI of such investments, or the risk of not invest in such direction. Easy? Not at all.

I would like to give you here some insights -theoretical but also practical, why you must be sexy and attractive in your working environment.

1)     People work harder if they like the job they do: finding a job you love is rather hard and not many people are lucky enough to work in a field that is their passion. If you are forced to do something that you really dislike, you will never do a good job. Managements also need to allow the flexibility to change a position within the same company - whether it’s a promotion and progress in a position that brings more interesting tasks or a change of the department. If you don’t allow people to switch tasks/position, they might leave you and switch to a different company.

2)     People achieve better results if the company offers them good work-life balance: The importance of work-life balance is becoming a priority for many people. The decision to allow your employees to work flexible hours or to work from home can really boost their productivity. If your employees feel happy and are offered proper work-life balance, they will be productive and achieve more. Then, on some other day, they probably won’t mind working on a Saturday or staying in the office until late at night to finish a project.

3)     People work better if they create friendships with their co-workers: friendships with co-workers are more important than many other perks that company offers. Whether it’s a small chat during a coffee break or nice lunches in a nearby restaurant -or even the office kitchen - many people consider this social aspect of their job as a necessary part of their work life. This is one of the reasons why more and more companies focus on a proper teambuilding for their employees - organizing out-of-office activities, office parties, monthly gatherings, etc. When you feel that your colleagues are your friends, you are less stressed at work and that makes you more productive.

4)     People are more productive when they feel good around their bosses: communication between the boss and the employee plays an important role in every employee's productivity. When people feel good, relaxed and calm around their bosses, they are more productive and deliver better results. If a person feels anxious, nervous or even afraid in a presence of their boss, this will have a negative effect on their work. Many young CEOs are trying to get closer to their employees by showing their human side. This create more engagement, have you seen generals in US army enjoying meals with their soldiers?

5)     People are not afraid to suggest new ideas if they have a good relationship with the management: Some of the best ideas for improvements of the product, service or general running of the company come from the employees. They are the ones who are selling / marketing / developing it. Only in a company with an open culture people will feel comfortable to speak and tell their bosses that something isn’t working. In an office with open environment, people will find the problems and suggest solutions – solutions that take the company one step forward. In the end, you are investing in people to learn from their ideas, why you should pay them to tell exactly what they have to do? Somebody from bitten apple once said….