Tying Talent Management to Culture

April 15, 2020

Creating a seamless employee experience without hiccups fosters security and reliability, which underscores how your company cares, even if employees can’t always put a finger on it.

Blog Post

Company culture is a complex, nuanced and unique concept. Somewhat intangible, even.  Industry experts will tell you that the most productive organizational cultures are based on a shared set of beliefs reinforced by everyday decisions and actions.

That’s a lot to take on. If you think of yourself as the “caretaker” of organizational culture, like SHRM does (and us too!), you have to juggle leadership behaviors, talent management processes, communications styles, benefits and values, just to name a few. But, when an organization has a strong, positive culture, employees show more accountability and are more likely to know how to respond to different situations.

We’re not going to try to tackle the entirety of that juggling routine here. This article focuses on how you can reinforce and improve your company culture through talent management.

An Impactful First Impression with Onboarding

While culture starts with recruiting, it should be reinforced in every interaction from there. Onboarding is an opportunity to affirm what attracted the employee to your company in the first place – it’s a new hire’s first interaction as part of the team. Organizations often make onboarding very transactional… Let’s get your paperwork and get you to work! But don’t take this lightly. According to a 2018 report by Gallup,1 only 12% of employees feel strongly that their organization does a great job of onboarding. If you don’t start things off right, employees can quickly sour to your organization, and this can lead to higher turnover rates.  A great employee onboarding experience should downplay the paperwork and immerse new hires in the culture they’ve joined.

TruCut Incorporated, a Paylocity client, makes culture a key part of its onboarding process. The company manufactures service parts for OEMs like Thermo King, Carrier and Johnson Controls. It’s a tight-knit, family-run company with a strong culture that empowers its 80 employees to take initiative and fix problems before they escalate. One of the highly-valued aspects of TruCut’s culture is the practice of Open Book Management— regularly gathering the entire staff to discuss the business and collaborate on challenges the company faces.

Their HR team has streamlined the paperwork side of onboarding using Paylocity’s solution so new employees can participate Open Book Management sessions during onboarding and early training. This immediately integrates them into the business, shows them how their role fits into the bigger picture and reinforces the feeling of one unified team. Learn more about Trucut’s best practices

Reinforcing Culture Through Performance Management

Pay and bonus programs are key mechanisms HR can use to motivate employees and put the spotlight on the company’s culture and what it values. But using compensation as your primary talent motivator can be very limiting. According to a 2018-2019 compensation report by the consulting firm Mercer,2 top-performing employees only received 1.7 times more in pay raises compared to on-target performers. This may leave your best performers wondering if it’s worth the extra effort.

Effective performance management programs can plan an important role here by putting more focus on employee development and less on annual pay raises. “Performance management doesn’t work without frequent, honest, open, and effective communication,” says consulting firm McKinsey.3 “Daily shift huddles, toolbox talks, after-action reviews, and the like all help to engage team members and to maintain a focus on doing what matters most.” Regular development conversations and feedback are key to reinforcing the behaviors that hold up your company values and culture.

GT Midwest, an industrial parts manufacturer headquartered in Wichita, Kansas, is trying to change the focus of its performance management conversations to development and growth. The company is dedicated to continuous improvement and follows an admirable philosophy: take exceptional care of our people and our customers and the business will be successful.

Amanda Kreutzer, the company’s Corporate HR Manager, wanted to promote more ongoing collaborative discussions between managers and employees about how to improve performance, rather than a single conversation centered around raises. So, Kreutzer provided GT Midwest managers with a mobile journaling tool that integrated with the company’s performance management system. Managers can make notes, capture goals and document conversations when they happen. This triggers development conversations throughout the year and makes for more productive reviews, reinforcing the importance of continuous improvement at the company. For more details on GT Midwest’s story, read the full case study.

The Unseen Side of Culture

Sometimes, creating a positive culture is about the things employees don’t see and problems that don’t happen. Creating a seamless employee experience without hiccups fosters security and reliability, which underscores how your company cares, even if employees can’t always put a finger on it.

At TruCut, Lesch makes it his personal goal to ensure that HR is a positive force for every employee in the company; whether that be employee-manager relationships, payroll, benefits, training or just day-to-day operations at the company.

“HR is responsible for people. I need to ensure that things in our department, and others, run smoothly so employees can focus on their jobs,” he said. “It’s tough to maintain a positive company culture when you don’t have the day-to-day basics locked down.

1Why the Onboarding Experience is Key to Retention
2To Pay For Performance, Give The Salary Increase A Break
3Performance Management: Why Keeping Score is So Important, and So Hard

The Tools You Need to Attract and Retain

Embed employee experience features from recruiting, onboarding, and beyond with tools built for the modern workforce. Kick off day one with a welcome message using video. Connect your employees with collaboration tools and peer groups. Develop your team with relevant and interesting training. Keep the conversation going with surveys. And do it all while automating and collecting data to proactively make improvements.

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