Using Culture to Attract Talent

April 3, 2014

Great talent starts with great culture. As Netflix CEO Reed Hastings states at the start of his infamous "Netflix Culture" deck: "Our culture focuses on helping us achieve excellence."

Indeed, Hastings was one of the first business leaders to publicize how, exactly, he hires, fires and promotes employees. Providing that transparency into the inner workings of Netflix culture has no doubt brought lots of attention -- and talent: the 126-slide doctrine has been viewed on SlideShare 7.8 million times.

Companies that have followed Hastings' suit and created #CultureCode decks of their own have seen similar results: “Our Culture Code makes our employer brand accessible for everyone,” says Andrew Farmer, digital and social media manager at InterContinental Hotels Group. “Showcasing our unique and special culture externally is important to help us attract great talent.”

Adds WineDirect marketing director Sheri Hebbeln, "Because of our Culture Code, we've been approached by potential candidates just waiting for the right position to open up."

Below are tips for using a #CultureCode deck to attract top talent.

Join the #CultureCode conversation and share your company culture

1. Be Real

As Hastings says, lots of companies have a nice-sounding value statement, but "the real company values, as opposed to the nice-sounding values, are shown by who gets rewarded, promoted, or let go. Real company values are the behaviors and skills that we particularly value in fellow employees."

Be specific in your Culture Code, and dig into the personality traits that your top employees and ideal candidate embody. Hastings lays out nine behaviors and skills he looks for in colleagues, including the ability to "listen well, instead of reacting fast," and "identify root causes, and get beyond treating symptoms."

Among Buffer's #CultureCode values:

-You single task your way through the day

-You let the other person save face, even if they are clearly wrong

-You take the approach that everything is a hypothesis and you could be wrong

The more specific your culture code, the more authentic it is -- and the more you can attract talent that will fit into your culture.

2. Show Your Culture

Once you state the characteristics you value in your colleagues, show how they play out in your culture. Give potential candidates an inside look into your company. Whether you use photos, testimonials, video or tell a story, your #CultureCode deck is an opportunity to give people a sense of what it's like to work with you.

Grey Orange Robotics provided a peek inside its culture by interviewing teammates and asking why they chose to work there:

Simplify360 profiled its employees, too, and shared lots of pictures.

3. Share Your Culture

Now it's time to show the world how awesome your organization is! InterContinental Hotels Group started by sending their Culture Code deck to all employees via newsletters and intranet sites, with the hope that employees would then share the deck on their own personal social networks.  They then embedded their Culture Code on the Careers tab of their LinkedIn company page, and shared it on other social media sites. It got more than 56,000 views in three months.

"The feedback we’ve received has been so positive -- not only from our colleagues, but the external audience has commented, shared and promoted our Culture Code in a really encouraging and favorable way," says IHG's Farmer. "It’s rewarding for everyone to see our winning employer brand gaining external recognition."

4. Use Your Culture Code as a Vetting Tool

A #CultureCode deck can help attract initial talent -- but it can also be used further down the hiring process to hone in on who will really be a fit for your team, and who might not.

Hppy Apps asks candidates a framework of questions based off its CultureCode, to see if they will be a cultural fit. Among the questions: "What would you like to stop doing?" and "What activities give you most satisfaction?"

“We try to identify the personal values of our candidates and validate if there is a match with our values,” says Paula Clapon, Hppy Apps’ marketing officer. “If this happens, they will integrate with our way of working very easily and will understand why our work modus is the way it is.”

Of course, your Culture Code can help guide other business decisions, too.

Join our #CultureCode campaign and share how you create great company culture.  Need help getting started? Download our #CultureCode template

READ MORE: 3 Ways for Brands to boost Engagement on LinkedIn, Using SlideShare

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