It was a regular workshop with a lunch break at a leading tech company.
Except that the lunch break was unlike any other I had seen. It could level up with some of the finest fine dine hotel buffets with multiple cuisines, array of snack, fast, main course and health foods, not to mention fruits and dessert. Tables shared by top management as well as the kitchen staff who managed the dining. An air of relaxed casualness, in a company known to be a cut throat player in the field.
It is more than just lunch.It is culture.
One of the top 100 trends for 2016 by JWT Intelligence is “Culture Wars”. Organisations, specially led by tech companies, are vying with each other to attract millennial talent with the culture draw.
An industry like ours need young talent. Good young talent. The best out there. Who are on the lookout for experience. Not just something to list out on CVs. But a place that defines who they are, values they can relate to or aspire for.
Culture is the soul of an organisation, in this case, the agency. It outlives all the people.
The harsh reality however is, that it is shaped by people who work for the organisation. And can become diluted, even polluted, in wrong hands.
Here are some of the things that I feel can make culture a strong differentiator for attracting and retaining talent.
A ‘Culture’ agenda that we can proudly talk about in our talent recruitment storytelling.
Pin up the ‘Culture Statement’ on boards along with our work and trophies.
Evaluate leadership on how they drive and uphold the culture, along with business growth.
Bring in the ‘Culture Talk’ and action into boardrooms.
Be quick to dispel any water cooler conversation that trivialises the culture, values, and initiatives in this area.
Build in the values and culture codes as part of the appraisal system.
Write that piece on how our culture makes a difference in publications, blogs, updates.
Make the conversation for talent an inclusive one – where everyone can contribute and act.
Refresh the ‘Culture Code’ periodically to embrace new socio-cultural trends or changes that fit in with the company values.
Culture is a big crowd-puller.
But we all need to believe in its power.
Focus as much energy on this front as we do on others.
It is a force so strong that it finds its way to reflect in our work, our business, our relationships and our logo.
Definitely, one key factor for talent attraction.
After all, it is one thing that money can’t buy.
(The author is executive business director at J. Walter Thompson Delhi. The views expressed are the author's independent views as an ad professional and do not reflect the organisation's viewpoint