A Sustainable Workforce Starts With You

Is Your Culture a Magnet?

The following article originally appeared in the May newsletter to clients of Kiley Advisors, LLC.  Reprinted with permission.

“Culture eats strategy for breakfast.”

That statement, attributed to the late Peter Drucker, Founding Dean of the Management Consulting Profession, is never truer than at this very time.  Only companies with strong, value-based, magnetic cultures will be the big winners in the business environment that is becoming more evident every day.  There is an intense war for talent, and there is a relentless march of technology.  Smart companies will have smart people empowered with smart technologies, working in teams, to achieve superior performance targets.

So what are the elements of a culture, in light of both the present and the future market conditions, that are proven to attract, retain, develop and excel?  Valid research is now confirming the building blocks.  First, winning cultures are based on values that stem from deeply held core beliefs about the value of people, the treatments of clients and all building partners, and the obligation of the company to the industry and community.  Great cultures are defined and communicated, but most are demonstrated live.  Today’s talented people want to “see a sermon” – not hear one.

Secondly, great cultures accommodate the reality of the workplace values of the current generation.  Companies can no longer guarantee lifetime employment with a defined benefit for retirement; globalization, cyclicality, and competition prohibit this.  Employees know this, but they are still willing to commit, fully engage, and act like owners if working for you will keep their skill sets relevant and marketable, should your company have to downsize.  The studies show, they will commit and produce at high levels, for their entire “tour of duty “with you, (perhaps it can be lifetime), if they do not fall behind their peers by doing so.

Consequently, it is not surprising that the number one thing prospective employees want, according to valid surveys, is continuous development – Coaching Mentoring, Training, and Work Experiences that allow them to grow.  They want to be a significant player with a key role and a respected voice on a high performance team.

They also want work-life balance, time for their families, especially in this era of both spouses working.  “Pay me for performance, not presence,” is their mantra.  Finally, they want very competitive compensation.  They have student debt, tech-toy addictions, and the desire to travel before settling down.

Has your culture adapted to this new reality?