With increasing certainty, one can consider that the year 2022 will rely on a hybrid working model, even Forrester analyst Sharyn Leaver has predicted that 60% of organizations will shift to a hybrid model in 2022, but one-third will fail in their first attempt at anywhere work. One of the reasons for this failure can indeed be attributed to the challenges of sustaining work culture in an increasingly remote world. It is also becoming increasingly evident that workplace culture will have a tremendous impact on the EVP of organisations and following that, talent acquisition and retention. LinkedIn’s Global Talent Trends Report for 2022 reveals that 40% of candidates consider company culture a top priority when picking a job. In line with this finding, TEAM LEWIS’s recent research also reports that Gen Z, who will make up a huge portion of the candidate-led talent market, has been found to be increasingly purpose driven. As a result, salaries and benefits on their own can no longer be adequate. Organisations must lay the foundation for and sustain a broader purpose which fuels their workplace culture.
In a series of conversations with top HR leaders, People Matters delved deep into the significance of work culture and EVP in any organisation’s business strategy. Moreover, it also gained invaluable insights on what leaders can do better in this arena. It is a space that must be approached with great foresight as it will play a significant role in bringing and retaining the right talent in any organisation as it seeks to innovate strategies to achieve their business goals.
‘Purpose is the ultimate reason a company exists. It is the purpose of an organization beyond what it makes and sells, and separates it from revenues and profits. As a society we are confronting serious challenges. Issues of sustainability, health, social and economic equality, and inclusion and belonging. Increasingly, people around the world are expecting businesses to step into the leadership gap government institutions once filled. And business-as-usual is no longer good enough for a new generation of employees, customers, partners and shareholders who question the status quo and look to work for, invest in, and buy from, companies that embody a greater purpose that resonates with their own values,’ shares Hwa Choo Lim, VP-HR APAC, Equinix.
Sustaining the value of purpose in your work culture, in your EVP:
In the ongoing turbulent and challenging talent hunt, a strong employer brand is a critical value addition. Elisabeth Stene, CHRO, Digi Telecommunications emphasises how this lends a competitive edge to organisations in the talent market while simultaneously improving engagement, productivity and performance. She also points out this also encourages employees to form a strong connection with their peers, organisation and their roles, enhancing their work experience and increasing their engagement with stakeholders.
‘A sense of purpose and feeling valued and cared for, is the ultimate driver to sustain a good work culture. Empowering our people to see what the company does for its customers and society as well as helping them understand the impact and value that their contributions bring is key. This is achieved by creating a clear understanding of the company’s direction, strategy, and results, as well as enabling employees to deliver their best with the right culture, and access to resources, and development opportunities,’ Stene adds.
Jen Wu, VP People, APAC & EMEA HR, TEAM LEWIS also raises an interesting point when it comes to sustaining a positive culture and building on an attractive employer brand.
She highlights, ‘A thriving workplace culture is absolutely critical to EVP. The ability to encourage team members to refer candidates in; alumni team members to reference their former workplace in a positive manner all contribute to the intangibles of EVP. A strong marketing campaign can of course establish your brand in the market and drive awareness, but never forget the power of word of mouth. Individuals will always trust those around them, feedback they hear in the market – it is all about show not tell.’
Indeed building an employer brand moves beyond the marketing aspect, if the values of a company’s culture is in the right place, results will yield. What’s fundamental is to start at the bottom and to ensure that the values and ethos are shared, sustained and appreciated.
Overcoming the challenges and building attractive, purpose driven work cultures:
Stene’s words on organisations struggling to create a vision and mission which cuts across all levels when building an employer brand rings very true. Wu advises, ‘We have to be mindful that no people are the same which means we always need to be agile and flexible in implementing programs for our team members. Addressing different stress points be it physical, mental or emotional health is something we must work towards as we strengthen our employee engagement activities this year. With how the pandemic has affected our ways of working and motivations, we’ve found an opportunity to identify gaps and refocus our priorities in making sure that we are across areas such as remote mentorship, guidance and learning & development.’
Every challenge presents itself as an opportunity to do better and the challenge of building a purpose driven culture is also an opportunity to recognise the unique ways we can do better. One of the critical ways in which we can leverage this opportunity is by holding regular, continuous meaningful conversations with the employees and re-imagine how organisational culture can be sustained. Recognising what your people are looking for and what will not only motivate them but keep them engaged and filled with a sense of purpose must top the priority lists of executive leadership and HR leaders charting out their business transformation plans.
When Lim was asked about her future plans in the EVP endeavour which she calls the ‘Future First’ social strategy, she shared some interesting strategies which ranged from exploring new ways of advancing digital inclusion; leveraging the intersection between talent attraction and development, D&I, employee wellbeing and community impact to foster a thriving work culture; continuing to develop pathways and partnerships for creating opportunities for historically underrepresented groups; and investing in strategies and programs that support the physical, mental, financial and emotional well-being of our diverse organization. All of these are critical starting points which would be beneficial for any purpose led business strategy that targets company work culture. Building a future ready workforce for any organization’s business transformation agenda requires taking a look at the larger picture of not simply output in terms of numbers but what drives the motivation for innovation. It is imperative that HR leaders take the leap in sustaining a purpose driven work culture that aligns with a strong employer brand.