**This is a guest post written by Tracy Vilanova, a talent acquisition and partner engagement manager at Recruitee, part of Tellent

Hubspot was voted the world’s second-best place to work by Glassdoor last year—and this success can be credited to its culture. “Culture is to recruiting as product is to marketing,” Hubspot states in its Culture Code. “We believe that work isn’t a place we go, it’s a thing we do. Work is a verb, not a noun.”

And, of course, they’re right. Can you imagine a recruiter trying to do their job without having a culture to rely on? It’s the bedrock of all operations, yet HR leaders often create strategic plans to enhance culture rather than seeing it as the foundation for all operations. Culture is the ecosystem of your company.

It was a pleasure speaking at the HiBob webinar, Optimizing your HR strategy: 3 trends to change the game, hosted by Cecilia Sion, on this very topic. Adena White, market intelligence manager at HiBob, and Jon Moore, HR tech consultant, offered excellent insights into how skills and flexibility can modernise and optimise your HR strategy, and I brought the final piece to the puzzle: culture. 

For those who missed the event, here are the key takeaways on building and nurturing a culture that works for you.

1. Build: a community, not just a workplace

One of the goals of HR should be to create a community. An environment where people enjoy working, where they feel supported and valued, is an environment they’re likely to stay. As The Harvard Business Review reports, companies that don’t champion a workplace community can expect lower job satisfaction, fewer promotions, more frequent job switching, and a higher employee churn rate. 

The numbers are, in fact, staggering. Team Stage found that people with a strong emotional commitment to the company perform 69 percent better, while those who are engaged are more dedicated and will do their best to realise the company’s goals. One way to bolster this emotional commitment is through upskilling and reskilling. Adena White outlined this during her excellent talk, stating, “Studies have shown time and again that employees that feel that their company is investing in them are 73% more likely to report having a positive experience at work.”

Strong communities in the workplace are also beneficial for people. Teams are more motivated and more productive, for starters. But they’re also likely to want to stay when they know their company has their back. 

Hiring is notoriously costly, and as White highlighted, replacing an employee can cost a business anywhere from half to double the person’s annual salary. There are, of course, the direct costs of job posting and recruitment fees, but employers also need to consider the hidden costs, such as time and knowledge. As there’s such a pinch on the talent marketplace, it has never been more important to focus on your community building.

2. Nurture: a bottom-up approach

There is much research highlighting the benefits of a bottom-up, employee-driven approach in the workplace—and this applies to HR leaders and community building, too. Actively listening to what your people want and how they feel can bring an authentic and positive change to the company culture. It’s empowering for professionals, especially when they see their employer implementing the changes they’ve asked for

I’ve seen the benefits first-hand. At Recruitee, part of Tellent, we adopted a bottom-up perspective and rolled out two new strategies to better understand and improve the employee experience: engagement surveys and stay interviews.

Engagement surveys

Twice a year, we circulate a survey that gives our people an opportunity to communicate with HR and share how they feel about the culture at Recruitee. We’ve found it invaluable as it allows us to roll out perks and incentives that really matter to our teams. 

Last year, our teams wanted to spend more time outside after the pandemic and invest in their physical condition. We listened and introduced ClassPass to the company—and the response was very positive. People created Slack channels for group workouts, and some of our colleagues started doing hot yoga or bouldering together. By listening to our people, we gained a new perk, and together, we are strengthening our community.

Stay interviews 

We’re big advocates of stay interviews at Recruitee. Using surveys that ask the right questions, and by sitting down in one-on-ones with team members, we get the opportunity to really listen and understand their experiences and the areas where we can improve as a company. It’s a check-and-balance for us; a cultural health check. 

As HR leaders, we often overlook the importance of asking the right questions when it comes to improving company culture. Who better to provide insights than our very own employees?

3. Grow: Be a gatekeeper

The talent acquisition team are the company gatekeepers. They play a significant role in preserving and growing company culture. A lot of people talk about culture fit, but I truly believe that we should always focus on the culture add. 

We want people who relate to our culture, that match our values and—the important and!—are agile and bring something new to the company. Without this final part, you’re hiring mirrors: mirrors of yourself and your team. Mirrors reflect, but they don’t promote growth. 

The gatekeepers also ensure that your company is diverse and inclusive. For real growth, you want to have different viewpoints and opinions all working together towards the same goal. Getting it right at the hiring stage is crucial, and the people you welcome into your community and culture need to be as much a consideration as the skills and attributes they bring with them. Mismatches can have a negative business and cultural impact, but the Gatekeepers need to have foresight as a culture shouldn’t be seen as something fixed and static, it should be seen as fluid and adaptable. 

A way to mitigate risk is through collaborative hiring. I had the pleasure of working with Recruitee and experiencing its collaborative hiring process, which is not only an ATS that helps you grow, but one that allows you to do so in unity as an entire team. It makes the recruitment process much easier and more effective, helps to reduce unconscious bias, and by embracing the bottom-up approach, also helps nurture our company culture.

4. Maintain: Stay consistent  

Consistency is the queen of culture: Everything you share on your website and social media channels must reflect your internal values. Inconsistency can cause weaknesses. How your company is perceived from the outside can be “make or break” for attracting the right talent. In fact, recent Jobvite research identified that as many as “86% of job seekers avoid companies with a bad reputation.” 

Transparency is crucial, and more often than not, the job description is the first touchpoint for potential candidates. After all, they may have yet to hear about your company before finding you on job boards. How you describe your company and the position needs to be reflective and honest—and it’s all conveyed through the written word.

Copywriting is not always one of a recruiter’s top skills. This is okay, especially nowadays with the help of AI, which can act as a really helpful co-pilot to draft job descriptions. It’s a new tech tool HR leaders and recruiters can leverage to help achieve the greater mission of consistency. 

I genuinely believe that the value-add of company culture can’t be overstated—it just can’t. It’s so important to build a community from the bottom up, see your talent acquisition team as gatekeepers, and continually maintain your culture as it grows and flourishes. 

Take a step back, confront the status quo, and ask yourself, “How can I directly impact our company culture?”

Tracy Vilanova

From Tracy Vilanova

Tracy is a talent acquisition and partner engagement manager at Recruitee, part of Tellent. She has always been passionate about working with people and has spent the past seven years helping companies in various industries enhance their workforce. Originally from Brazil, she has an adventurous side and loves to travel the world. In fact, she’s already visited over 40 countries and plans to keep exploring!