Last month we looked at a few tips on how best to utilize your unique culture to recruit great candidates. This month, we pick up with a few other ideas to consider as you evaluate and shape your firm's culture.
Consider the work flow required in your firm. Team members who are seeking to grow in responsibility and who want to be challenged can easily become frustrated repeating the same monotonous tasks each day, week, month, quarter, etc. Pull a page from Google, 3M, FedEx, and a host of other successful organizations, and allow team members to dedicate 2 hours each week to work on whatever interests them. The following week, have them discuss what they did and how it can benefit your firm. On the surface, this looks like a massive waste of time, but I encourage you to check out Daniel Pink's book Drive if you are skeptical. You are empowering and challenging your employees to be creative and increase their skills, and most of the time, they will gladly figure out a way to make sure it aligns with the firm's goals. If that's too much of a risk for you, you could even modify the exercise by providing broad topic buckets from which they can work, such as marketing, technology, client processes, etc., to ensure the work is on something you feel is important for the firm, but make sure you are being flexible enough for them to use their own approach.
Here are some other ideas that I have seen other firms employ, and have even experienced in my own career, which have assisted in building an employee-centric culture:
• Create internal contests, with small prizes. There is nothing wrong with creating some friendly competition and showing your team that it is not all about work all of the time.
• Have a regularly scheduled get-together for employees and their families. The spouses and/or close family members are your biggest allies when times get tough and your employees begin questioning if they have a good culture fit.
• Place vending machines in the break room with snacks and drinks at a reduced cost or no cost. We find that employees really appreciate these gestures because it reinforces that the firm has gone above and beyond the minimum.
• Offer a sabbatical program. We are seeing this offered by a growing number of firms which is interesting because we have also recently been contacted by several firms, who did not have a sabbatical program, who had employees resign so they could take extended periods of time off and these firms were left scrambling to shore up the org. chart.
For further ideas, check out Angie Herber's P4 Perks Program at http://bit.ly/P4Perks
Remember, everyone says they have a great culture, but few truly do. To recruit the top talent, you need a compelling story and employee friendly culture so your team could never imagine working anywhere else.