Why Now is the Time to Define Workplace Culture

As the impact of the COVID pandemic began to ease this Spring, small businesses eagerly welcomed new customers and did their best to give off the appearance of normalcy. But, some months later, small businesses say they’re still struggling to find talent, and unfilled job openings reached a nearly 50-year high. Over 90% of small businesses say there are no qualified candidates for these open positions.

Meanwhile, larger companies and even the federal government are delaying their plans to reopen offices amid uncertainty over the course of the resurgent virus. It’s a widespread problem, with financial centers across the globe reporting staffing at half its normal level. And those offices that succeed in reopening are struggling with the new expectations of workers. Many found working from home to be inducive to a better work-life balance. That’s made bigger firms look at a hybrid home-and-office approach to work scheduling while they get employees reacclimated to office life.

But this is all new and challenging in a way that managers have never encountered. IBM’s Chief Human Resource Officer Nickle LaMoreaux, who handles more than 350,000 worldwide employees, puts it succinctly“Not since the industrial revolution have managers and leaders had to think about work design.” For IBM, that’s revolutionary. The company once was so steeped in cultural identity that it had its own categoryhanded down from founder Thomas J. Watson Sr., who famously told employees not to work, but to think.

But if circumstances are causing us to reinvent the century-old concept of work designshouldn’t we also consider our corporate culture? After all, the layoff has also given us a once-in-a-generation chance to establish a more worker-friendly office atmosphere from the ground up. And luckily, we have a pretty good idea what that looks like.

First, before revealing how to do it, let’s remember why we should do it. Yes, the workplace is changing, but so is the workforce. Millennials are now the plurality of American workersand Generation Z is beginning to enter the employment marketplace in larger numbers. They each bring their own work demands, and increasingly what matters most to them, even more than higher pay, is a more inclusive workplace culture. They want a better sense of the company’s social values, and they prefer bosses who exhibit a more mentoring attitude.

Having shared cultural values is key determinant to employer-employee happiness, which is why researchers favor more values-oriented matches because long-term happiness accelerates when these factors are placed first. They also recommend companies construct and annunciate their corporate cultures carefully as a key element to corporate success.

That’s because even companies that place and emphasis on values and social responsibility have a difficult time conveying those ideas to their teams. CEOs who often believe they are the embodiment of cultural dogma, actually often have a misunderstanding and misalignment with what the team believes. Put more simply, they’re doing a poor job of defining and communicating corporate culture, despite their best efforts, and they’re failing to get feedback on what matters the most to workers.

So, even companies that believe they have a distinct and inclusive culture are failing to convey that to the outside world. So, when we ask how to better convey culture, it’s important to, now more than ever, ensure employees are exposed to those values from the beginning, even before they become employees. That means in the hiring process itself.

That’s why Zevix places corporate culture and a shared understanding of beliefs at the front of the hiring process – not at the end. It encourages and prompts companies and candidates alike to think about what drives them. Then, it matches the best candidates with the best companies, and in turn, companies can choose their employees based on who will happier, more loyal and more committed to staying in the long term. Zevix even allows companies to highlight mentorships – which is shown to be an effective recruiting tool.

Remember, now is the time, unlike any other moment we’ve had in generations, to redesign how employers find candidates and candidates find employers or other companies such as contracting companies. But it’s also an opportunity to convey why we’re changing the job recruitment and search process. So, solidly and deliberately define your cultural values, then recruit only those employees who share that vision.

We are hoping that the results will be… revolutionary.

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