Why missing company culture off your job ads could be turning away talent

Why company culture matters when it comes to attracting and retaining talent

In a busy job market, recruiters have to work even harder to make their job vacancy stand out from a sea of others, and the emphasis is often placed on financial details like salary and bonuses. But organisations should also share insights into their company culture with prospective hires, including on social media, their website, or job advertisements.

However, many companies don’t relay this crucial information to candidates or make it easily accessible throughout the recruitment process, which could mean they are missing out on attracting talent.

Increasingly, businesses are actively driving positive change within their company culture. Suppose an organisation implements employee-led initiatives such as women in tech programmes or hosts talks on key topics such as neurodiversity. In that case, showcasing these activities to potential candidates can be a great way of offering an honest, authentic lens into the company and what it’s like to work there.

How a company operates, its values and its long-term vision are hugely important considerations, especially for Gen-Z employees. In our Cost of Onboarding report, where we surveyed 1,000 adults in full-time employment aged 21-28, half said company culture is the most important factor when deciding on a new role, and 41% said culture is a main consideration.

What qualities are people looking for in company culture?

A prospective employee will likely be looking for an honest and open company culture, which extends well beyond benefits often cited in job ads, like free gym membership and hybrid working.

With job-hopping common amongst millennial and Gen-Z employees, young workers are likelier to choose a job based on how well they align with an organisation’s goals, attitudes, ethical standpoint, policies and practices.

A company’s vision and values directly link to its employees and may impact behaviour and team dynamics. But a company’s culture will not always match what a prospective employee seeks. It’s, therefore, vital that both the business and the candidates reflect honestly about how they work and what is important to them. For example, some job-seekers may thrive in a target-driven, competitive working environment, while others may prefer collaborating as part of a team where they can pursue their ideas freely.

How can employers promote company culture in the recruitment process?

While these statistics show a stark interest in company culture from job hunters, a survey of 500 senior business leaders showed that one in 10 businesses do not promote company culture to prospective employees. Only 30% of businesses stated that their culture was clearly defined in the early stages of recruitment, such as on job adverts and in information sent to external recruiters.

Some businesses (42%) go on to eventually explain their company culture at the interview stage, and 32% of employers provide information to employees before their start date. Our survey found that the most popular way of finding out about a company’s culture amongst young people was at the interview stage (41%), followed by the information available on an organisation’s website (39%). 31% of respondents said they liked company culture information to form a key part of the onboarding process.

While including details about company culture is hugely important in attracting employees, an accurate reflection of this in the workplace is essential to get employees to stay. If the day-to-day realities of a workplace don’t match up with the description given in the initial recruitment stages, young employees are more likely to leave very quickly in search of a role that better reflects their interests. So employers and recruiters need to be honest about the company culture rather than say what they think the candidate wants to hear.

How can company culture benefit the wider business?

From a professional standpoint, being upfront about company culture from the offset can help prospective employees make well-informed decisions about whether they will thrive in a working environment before accepting the role. Mis-selling a company’s culture may contribute to early exits among Gen-Z employees; we found that 55% of 21–28-year-olds have left a role within a year due to their new employer’s company culture being different than anticipated.

Conversely, if new employees’ expectations of a company culture match their experience, this can help improve retention and boost the company’s reputation as a good employer. After employees leave a business, they may be more likely to speak favourably about their time if they feel they were not initially mis-sold on the company’s culture.

With company culture so high on the agenda of young workers, now is the time for businesses to adapt their recruitment process to include the vital information candidates are looking for early on. Ultimately, just a simple change can help the recruiting business and prospective employees find their perfect fit.

Charlotte Ibbotson, is the director of talent at Wiley Edge.

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