How to create a company culture that inspires loyalty

Welcome to the experience economy, one where culture
outranks compensation when it comes to feeling rich.

I’m not talking about the culture you read about –the one
that’s budgeted for and maintained by HR. And I’m not talking about shiny
perks, like in-house gyms and free lunch, that double as “company culture.”
These are Band-Aids put in place to attract GenY employees… by older
generations.

The type of culture fueling today’s experience economy is an
unbreakable one infused into the workplace, maintained by the entire company
–similar to how a biker gang upholds its presence on the road.

An employee’s experience at work directly correlates with
the investment an employer makes into culture. 30 percent of advertising
employees will leave their job
this year and go onto one that offers better pay
or the next rung on the ladder .
Of those, one third will leave in the first 90 days due to unmet expectations, AKA an
experience letdown. Those people will cost an employer 150-250% per salary to
replace . And that financial nightmare alone is why companies should be doing
everything in their power to decrease employee turnover.

Depressing? Only if you don’t have a company culture worth
putting roots down for. Let’s look at developers… there are plenty of jobs
available at tech giants like Google and Apple, yet lead developers continue to
go to start ups that offer an experience, yet less pay. Millennials seek an
experience they can find fulfillment in and share in real life.

As an Inc. 500 company, we’ve grown quickly and
organically (with no recruiter help). Only 4% of the employees that we’ve hired
over the last three years have left. Why is that number so different from the
standard? Probably because we don’t have a “staff,” we’ve grown a family and
we’ve heavily invested in culture. Keeping talent is a top priority to be able
to maintain growth.

Here are a few of the things that work. Agency execs should
consider implementing something similar, and employees should look for a
company that treats them like a human, and when they do, respond with loyalty.

 Make the work worth it. Work with the brands you buy and the ones
you believe in. Fire the clients that want to play it too safe or are
disrespectful of your team’s time. Boring projects make for a boring work
experience. Even when it pays well, a lackluster project will cost you talent
in the long run, it isn’t worth it.

Be proud of your
people.
Many agencies go to great lengths to hide their employees, letting
the world think their work is done by the Wizard of Oz. Yet, they proudly
show off their talking heads on their website. While you might think you’re
saving money in poaching costs, you’re actually missing an opportunity to
credit your people for their hard work, cementing them as part of the team. Day
one of being at Carrot means receiving your custom avatar, displayed at
carrot.is/people and for use on Twitter. Rather than waste the 60 some
characters in someone’s profile making them explain that their views are not
those of the company, take pride in honoring your people and put your brand behind
them.  

Manage Expectations. Social
media provides an outlet for you to be as transparent as you’re willing for
potential staff members and clients to see before they sign up for your adventure.
From your culture to client work to out of office involvement to your crazy
antics, being unapologetic about who you are on social will allow you to keep
your momentum every time someone joins your pack, and ensure that they want to
be traveling in the same direction. 

What do these things do besides better someone’s experience
at work? It makes them feel like a human and not a cog, and instills in them a
sense of loyalty to a group of people. A job becomes a lifestyle and more than
a paycheck. Loyalty to and experience at a company is the only answer to
retention. Some scoff at calling your company a family, but when you build a
company that resembles one, you get the same loyalty benefits of a real
family…and you do well in today’s experience economy.  

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