Culture is often overlooked within an organisation, but never has it been more crucial to focus on the softer, qualitative elements of an organisation than in the new “postpandemic” world. Organisations have traditionally been cited for being “great places to work” or “having a strong identity”, but what does this entail? How do you ensure your company retains talent when employees are searching for more than just a salary?

Leaders must continue to focus on cultivating a positive culture in order to retain and nurture talent. Organisational culture refers to a set of values, expectations and working practices that is demonstrated by senior leadership and embraced by all employees; it is not a mission statement nor does it refer to company goals, although both can feed into the culture. It is something that you can feel when you walk into an office– be it a wonderful set of flowers on the reception desk, art work in the welcoming foyer, or simply a helpful smile. In today’s virtually connected world, an organisation’s website and other social media platforms are also effective tools to elicit a positive warmth and understanding of the company’s values.

Culture is something you feel quickly, and it gives you an immediate sense of what the organisation stands for. There are many examples of strong, positive corporate cultures – such as Apple, Google or IKEA – that declare “innovation” and “togetherness”. Typically, these cultures have been established and driven by the leadership team and filtered throughout the organisation.

Other organisations can be tarnished by a toxic culture where employees report poor working conditions and lack of respect. These companies may survive financially but consumers and employees become disenchanted and ultimately this can lead to their downfall. Uber suffered this fate when reports of a toxic culture first appeared in 2017 and persisted ahead of its IPO filing in April 2019; these revelations had a profound negative effect on its rating.

With the immediacy of social networks and job ratings websites such as Glassdoor, unhappy employees can openly put their grievances out there for everyone to see. It is more important than ever for an employer to ensure a positive culture exists to attract and retain talent.

So how do you achieve a successful organisational culture and also combat what is now becoming an increasingly-used term, “The Great Resignation”? Csaba-Attila Suket, founder of the global advisory technology and professional services firm Zenitech, studied a few interesting approaches that have worked for numerous corporates and start-ups, and eloquently summarised what tacticscompanies should use to retain talent.

  1. Listen and be listened to.
  2. No matter how busy you are at work, make time for people.
  3. Build trust and respect.
  4. Focus on community.
  5. Invest in continuous growth and development.
  6. Simplify processes to make life easier.
  7. Do work that makes a difference. TRILL is a blend of true and real, used in hip-hop slang to mean someone or something that is genuine and authentic. A strong company culture has the following elements which can be summarised as the TRILL model: Trust, Recognise, Inform, Learn and Look are core components to build a successful culture for employees to thrive and be retained.