Josephine's Personnel Services, Inc.

Does Your Company Culture Stand Out from the Pack? How to Attract “Top Dog” Candidates

November 23rd, 2011

How can you keep your organization competitive in the drive for top employees? It can be hard for organizations to really stand out from their competitors. But with company culture becoming an important factor in career decisions, it’s time to look at your organization and see how yours compares.

Why do companies as disparate as Google, Southwest Airlines and Zappo’s get such great reviews from their employees? Why do they attract so many candidates, and so many good ones? Easy. They’ve developed company cultures that epitomize strong values, a modern work ethic that includes fun and service to both their customers and their communities.

These top companies know what good employees are looking for, and they make sure to publicize what sets them apart from the competition.

If you want to appeal to the top-drawer candidates that apply to these popular companies in droves, it’s time to think about what your company can offer. Has your company defined its core values? Created a distinct corporate culture? Have you expressed these values on your web site or in your job listings, where candidates can see them?

For example, Google promotes its “all for one and one for all” corporate mentality on its website, by mentioning how “at lunchtime, almost everyone eats in the office café, sitting at whatever table has an opening and enjoying conversations with Googlers from different teams.” This includes the founders and other upper-level executives. They also create an open work environment, with very few solo offices and a generous supply of laptops to allow for mobile coding, anytime email and note taking. They offer plenty of opportunities for exercise and comfort: providing bicycles or scooters to help staffers travel between meetings, massage chairs, large inflatable balls, game rooms and gyms. They even encourage socializing by sponsoring employee groups for different interests, such as meditation, movies, wine tasting and salsa dancing.

Southwest Airlines has long understood how employee satisfaction and environmental awareness go hand in hand. They also know that their employees like to feel like contributing members of society, especially in their home community. That’s why they promote their Charitable Giving and Community Outreach programs. They started Community Giving Boards that have been trained to evaluate charitable giving requests from their local community. The Boards are made up of local employees from various work groups who evaluate the donation requests and donate complimentary, round trip tickets to approved organizations for fundraising or transportation purposes. They also sustain a relationship with Ronald McDonald House Charities so they can aid in the transportation needs of families facing serious illnesses and administers their own Medical Transportation Grant Program in conjunction with hospitals and organizations that assist individuals who must travel to receive medical care.

Last but far from least is Zappo’s, a company that makes sure you know they’re about much more than shoes.  They have an entire page on their site devoted to their Family Core values. These include:

  1. Deliver WOW Through Service
  2. Embrace and Drive Change
  3. Be Adventurous, Creative, and Open-Minded
  4. Pursue Growth and Learning
  5. Build a Positive Team and Family Spirit
  6. Do More With Less
  7. Be Passionate and Determined

They make it very clear that they expect employees to be innovative, to go above and beyond, to embrace teamwork and to have fun while doing so. They are proud of their unique corporate culture and openly share it through their web site, blogging, videos and more.

If you want to attract great candidates, you have to be a great company to work for. Not every company can be just like Google, Southwest or Zappo’s, but you can certainly take tips from them on how to create a corporate environment that excellent people will want to work in.