Yesterday I posted a tweet on company culture that received a lot of positive feedback:

People thought this should be saved in a blog post, so this is it.

Company Culture

Do you want to attract and retain talent and high performers? Of course you do. Do you understand how to do that and are you willing to change your company culture?

Everything starts with culture. You may have heard the quote “Culture eats strategy for breakfast”, meaning that even the best stratety can’t compete with a company that has a great culture. Strategy without culture does not create success.

Gimmicks Are Not Culture

Most companies, such as the web scalers, often confuse gimmicks with culture. We have great company culture! We have ping pong tables, flipper games and even artists who play music for us! While these things can be entertaining, don’t mistake them for culture. Most of us aren’t 14 when applying for jobs, so while playing flipper is fun, it has zero impact on who my next employer is.

Culture is something that you build from the ground up. You can’t have great culture because your management decided that the company should have it. Don’t get me wrong, you can definitely improve culture but if the company was built on shit values and culture, it’s already a lost cause. Just as if you built a house on mud, don’t expect it to be stable just because everything else is concrete.

The Basic Needs

Having a decent pay and interesting things to do is the baseline. Without that, talent is not going to even be looking in your direction. However, it’s also not what’s going to attract people to your company. Sure, paying someone really well might land them for a while, but if they don’t like it there, they’ll start looking for an exit.

Colleagues Is Everything

Personally, I love my job at Conscia because I have great colleagues. Not only my fellow consultants but also everyone else that is supporting us, such as sales, IT, management, and economy. All of these people have passion and there are no bloated egos. We share knowledge with each other and we all know that different people have different skillsets. We’re not restricting knowledge sharing because some belief that it creates job protection.

Don’t Oversell!

When I started this job it was because I wanted to get into network design and architecture. These jobs are often hard to find. Many people oversell them. Don’t do that! Don’t tell me I’ll be an Architect and then have me rack switches. It’s a waste of my time, your time, and you’ll end up with people leaving if you do that.

Take Care Of Your Employees

Jumping between employers will always give more money than staying at the same place. There are people that want to stay though, but that doesn’t mean they’ll accept anything. If you want them to stay, provide decent pay raises and provide career paths. It’s easy to outgrow a company. I have done that multiple times. However, many times people leave because they aren’t offered that role or pay bump, only to have a manager offer them it once they realize they are leaving. Don’t be that company!

Training Matters

The people you are looking for are people that have a passion and drive for improving. That means that they need resources to learn and that they possibly want to go after certifications. But what if I pay my employees for training and they leave?! Well, what about if you don’t and they stay? If you want to attract and keep talent, you need to pay for training, training resources, certifications, and conferences. People don’t expect to go to a conference every year, but if you never send them, they might start looking for companies that do.

Hire Good Managers!

Having good managers is important. More than you know. You might be happy with your pay, job role, colleagues, and still be miserable if you have a bad manager. People don’t want to get bothered more than necessary and they don’t want to be micro managed. A manager should make your life easier, not the other way around. A good manager is there when you need them to be. To listen, to help you, and to show appreciation of the work you put in. As an example, when I passed my CCDE back in 2016, my manager drove to my house, a 1h drive, to bring me flowers and champagne. It’s the little things that matter. Never forget that!

Working From Home

Working from home has become something many of us take for granted. Personally, I’m not taking another job that doesn’t have some form of WFH. It’s a no go. If you don’t have a WFH policy yet, you are dated and need to get with the program. We have seen in the days of Covid that WFH works fine for many IT roles, even though some employers weren’t willing to offer it before. Don’t trust your employees? Why did you hire them?

Summarizing

In summary, you want to keep good people? Don’t be shit. It’s not rocket science. Build something good. Care about your employees and show them that you care and be there when they need support. It’s my strong belief that there is still plenty of room for good companies.

Key Factors in Attracting and Retaining Talent
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