I recently had the privilege of attending some Workforce Roundtables at the Missouri Career Center. These roundtables involve groups of employers from different industries talking about their struggles in attracting good employees. The last roundtable invited a group of high-performing high school students to talk about the kind of organizational design they wanted in a potential employer.

Here is the punchline: Employees entering the workforce want to work for an organization with a healthy, high-performing culture.

When asked “what would attract you to a potential employer?”, 13 of the 16 responses were centered around the culture of the company; we aren’t talking about “soft” culture. Here are some examples of what they said:

  • We want to feel on board with whatever the company is trying to accomplish.
  • We want to feel respected by our managers when we earn the respect.
  • We want constructive and regular feedback on our performance.

The students weren’t asking for open office layouts or ping pong tables (although I’m not against either of these)—they were asking for work environments in which they could thrive, contribute, and feel rewarded by the work they do. They were asking for what we call a People Centric Culture.

Here are 3 tips for employers looking to develop a talent management strategy to better improve their culture and attract more talent:

  1. Purpose—Expose employees to the outcome of their work. Let them see, at least from time to time, the fruits of their labor. This could be the happy customer or the impact on the company. Your employees need to know they are winning.
  2. Play—By way of purposeful employee engagement activities, give employees some opportunities to make decisions and explore ways to help the company. This doesn’t mean total freedom, but rather a freedom within a framework. Give them opportunities to improve things or develop something new. Give them new experiences.
  3. Potential—Work to develop your employees and build on team strengths when and where possible to help them to advance in their career. This doesn’t necessarily mean “up the organizational chart”. One aforementioned student said, “Just give me a goal that I can hit.” Have your supervisors meet regularly with their employees to find out where they are going and what they need to get there.

In short, a high-performance culture pays a lot of dividends.

If you’re ready to develop or just polish your organization’s talent management strategy for a high-performance culture, contact us today.