Guest author Kris Duggan is CEO and cofounder of BetterWorks, an open and collaborative platform for setting, measuring, and cross-functionally aligning goals.
If companies cultivate passion early as the onboarding process, and regularly nurture it, they can elevate employees. We can inspire them to really make a difference, while also solving for some of our huge engagement and retention problems along the way.
Here are five ideas for using company culture to bridge the gap between hiring employees and getting them to stick around long enough to make a difference.
Define what it means to be you. You want your employees to get their work done. Employees want to feel like they’re accomplishing great things. In a world where finding purpose at work really matters, defining your long-term mission speaks volumes of your company culture can be key. Your current and prospective employees should have no doubt in their mind about what they’re trying to achieve as a team.
Focus on passion. Don’t vet employees for whether or not they’ll work long hours—evaluate how passionate they are for the solutions your company offers. The Google engineers who took it upon themselves to solve Larry Page’s AdWords problem didn’t seek recognition or react to an upset boss. In fact, Page didn’t call anyone out or ask for solutions. The workers were simply moved to action. If they didn’t enjoy coding or working with a group of people to solve a problem, they wouldn’t have spent their weekend working.
Onboarding starts with the first interview. My company helps prepare new hire prospects for their own interview with us. We want them to kill it. Candidates undergo three sets of interviews, and the last one is a presentation that lets them showcase their skills. It also gives them the chance to show how they might really jibe with our culture. Our goal is to try to eliminate the nerves, confusion or anticipation that typically plague interviews, and replace it with support and understanding for our product. We’ve achieved a 98% retention rate by vetting employees who aren’t a fit for our culture early on.
Quit wasting time. The first month of a new employee’s tenure can make it or break it: If they click with the culture and like their work, they’ll likely be committed to their job for a while. So take that energy and passion you spotted during the interview process and cultivate it early on. Managers should connect with employees and let them know what “knocking it out of the park” looks like. In other words, employees should understand their primary goals for the first 30 days.
For example, our new software engineer set short 30-day ramp up goals like “grab 10 bus from JIRA and fix them” and “go through a product quality review with a product manager and someone from the SSE team.” Our new head of revenue’s 30-day ramp up goals included milestones like “meet with 15 prospects” and “review each of my team members and peers goals for Q3.”
Let purpose drive employees to do big things. Creating a purpose-driven company culture happens when employees take the reigns on solving big problems. 30% of Millennials say that doing meaningful work is more important than most things in the workplace, including a high salary. Support and encourage the types of projects and ideas that allow employees to be themselves, while remaining aligned with your company goals. You can make this part of your company culture by aligning their strengths and passions with the work that needs to be done.
Lead photo courtesy of Zendesk