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Culture eats strategy for breakfast

Building and maintaining a strong company culture will play a key role in reducing the impact of a resources skills shortage.

In my previous post (here), I mentioned the Optimal Resourcing team recently attended the launch of Pit Crew Consulting Services’ Resources Sector Workforce Report, but the event left me with more concerns than I walked in with.

The report highlighted the drivers behind the current and impending skills shortage that WA’s mining and resources sector will face, but stopped short of identifying new and innovative ways to mitigate the impact. (Not their role admittedly!)

My 20+ years of experience working with companies to respond to market shifts to stay competitive, has repeatedly proven that when companies take the time to consistently build their brand and culture, they are more likely to survive economic highs and lows.

I strongly believe developing a robust organisational culture has a significant role to play in the way WA businesses respond to the challenges outlined in Pit Crew’s report.

Your business’ brand is in the market, whether you are in control of it or not.

Defining, managing and promoting your brand promise can result in:

  • 28% reduction in overall attrition;

  • up to 50% greater reach and penetration of the passive candidate market; and

  • 1 – 2 times faster time to hire.

Your brand is intertwined with your culture. Managing the experience across all elements of your employee and candidate lifecycle is integral to managing your employer brand and building your culture.

Having a strong employer brand can also directly affect your bottom line. Research noted that companies with a strong reputation reported an 18% increase in engagement and staff productivity and a 40% reduction in staff leaving after the first 6 months.

Further, the research suggested 75% of job seekers are more likely to apply to a company with a well-managed employer brand – culture matters to your bottom line!

Every culture is different and is shaped by different requirements, but there are some common aspects to consider when building a culture that reflects the needs of your customers, your people and your business.

The first is the role of the customer. As mentioned in my last post, being truly customer-focussed means exploring and understanding your customer expectations. These expectations play a major role in defining your desired organisational culture and behaviours – do you know what the “right behaviours” are for your business?

Let’s look at Amazon’s culture, for example. Amazon’s customers expect a reliable, on time, and cost-effective service. To enable this, Amazon has implemented specific requirements and regulated ways of working which shape their culture and expectations from their people. Their growth has created another issue – one in which their culture has become “lost” due to the large number of employees and their loss of focus on people over productivity. They are struggling with employee engagement and their turnover rate is so high, it has an impact on industry turnover rates. These are issues that are causing damage to their brand internally and externally. Amazon has recognised this, and recently wrote to their shareholders that they are “going to be Earth’s best employer and Earth’s safest place to work.” Their message to shareholders shows they are now being very deliberate in the way they not only design their culture, but how they build their employee experience journeys.

Do you understand your customer’s expectations and how they need to influence your culture?
Do you understand how your brand is represented in the market (internally and externally)?

I encourage you to build on these questions and consider what kind of culture and brand you need to build to retain the key skills you currently have.

  • Can you accurately articulate what your team values and what would encourage them to stay with your company?

  • How clear is your purpose?

  • How does this look in practise?

We know that money is not usually the primary motivator for people to remain with an organisation. What are you doing to find out what your gaps are in other areas of your culture that may impact retention?

WA has a significant opportunity to future-proof its operations if businesses are willing to shift their focus to consistently building a strong employer brand and organisational culture.

Employer branding is not a “switch” you can turn on – it takes time, effort and consistency in all areas of your organisation.

Look out for the next post in this series which focusses on how developing holistic, people-focussed strategies can support your operating model and customer delivery. We will also touch on key considerations for all businesses.

The Optimal Resourcing team help companies to define their brand "promise", their purpose and how these impact their culture. We work with business' to understand what the “right work” is they need delivered, we help them find and keep the “right people”, and determine the “right behaviours” to support their employer brand.

I’d be delighted to discuss how Optimal Resourcing can help your organisation – please reach out if you’d like to grab a coffee.

Connect with Jude here.

Sources: *Employer branding Nov 2021 – Universum. The Ultimate List of Employer Brand Statistics – LinkedIn ** https://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2021/06/15/us/amazon-workers.html


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