Home Why Company Culture Matters In Employee Retention

Why Company Culture Matters In Employee Retention

Guest author Kris Duggan is CEO and cofounder of BetterWorks, an open and collaborative platform for setting, measuring, and cross-functionally aligning goals.

The rate at which companies like Uber, Zenefits or one of the 125 venture capital–backed unicorn companies are hiring is no joke. Uber now has more than 3,500 employees, not counting contract workers, an increase from 1,300 in 2014. Zenefits, which was dubbed as the “fastest growing SaaS business in history,” hasn’t stopped hiring since 2013 when it launched its platform. 

See also: How To Keep Your Team Creative 

But as new workers get hired by these high-performing, quick growth companies, what’s really happening behind the scenes? I’d argue that some of the most influential businesses today are losing thousands of hours in wasted productivity as employees shuffle through shaky onboarding processes.

The future retention rates of these companies hinge not only on their ability to onboard employees efficiently, but also convince them to stay long-term—and keep them happy.

Why Passion Matters

Some of the strongest-performing companies are rooted deeply in the passion employees bring to work every day.

In Google’s earliest days, Larry Page walked into the company’s kitchen and posted some printouts with the words “THESE ADS SUCK” written boldly on the paper. Over the weekend, a group of engineers who weren’t even originally assigned to the project fixed the problems, and Google’s biggest money engine, AdWords, was born.

High-growth companies, from Uber to Zenefits and everyone in between, must nail the onboarding and culture immersion process to save time and fix long-term retention issues.

A Gallup State of the American Workplace report revealed that unhappy workers cost U.S. businesses $450-$550 billion in lost productivity each year. The pivotal factor in getting employees to stick around, and remain productive and engaged, is getting them aligned with the company culture and each other.

What Work-Life Integration Really Means

We’re undergoing a phenomenon in the workplace. Work-life integration runs so deep that many employees at high-performing companies barely see a line between work and life. Perks like flexible hours or free meals at any time of the day show how companies are attempting to instill this work-life integration, but companies still don’t know exactly how to support it.

We’re at a standstill between companies that are spending serious dollars on creating a “company culture” and job seekers searching for opportunities that check all their boxes. U.S. businesses waste money every time employees leave (or when they stay, but aren’t productive).

A conservative estimate reveals that the cost of turnover from just 12 employees is around $250,000 by the time you factor in replacing them.

For most companies, getting brilliant employees to make their mark—by building great products, coming up with new ideas and performing at their very best—is even more challenging than hiring and retaining. The key is to create a culture that is aligned on what matters most to your organization—and make sure your employees understand just how much your mission matters. When you figure out how to get a group of passionate people performing their best, anything is possible.

Businesses should bear in mind that, for today’s talent pool, matters like job flexibility, career advancement and purpose—even in mundane tasks—are more crucial than a free gym membership.

We all want what Google has: a culture that attacks problems. Yet all the perks in the world cannot turn your staff into better problem solvers if they don’t care about the problem. 

Photo by Brussels Airport 

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