February, 5, 2014
By Jean Stickland
Often, job seekers consider the compensation package ideal, but turn down an offer because of something far more important to them – a company’s reputation. Former Federal Reserve Chairman Alan Greenspan said it best when he told a Harvard audience: “In today’s world, where ideas are increasingly displacing the physical in the production of economic value, competition for reputation becomes a significant driving force, propelling our economy forward.”
At Signature Source we recruit top talent for more than 30 leading global-mobility organizations. Although compensation might be the first question a candidate asks about a position, its importance is weighed against other factors, what we collectively call reputation.
Reputation to us means more than how positively – or negatively – a company is perceived. It also refers to its financial, social and environmental impacts, which together create its corporate culture. Reputation is so significant, Fortune magazine annually ranks the “World’s Most Admired Companies” (WMAC), a list of global companies that people notice – and companies work hard to capture one of the coveted top 20 spots.
According to the Hay Group, which conducts the survey for Fortune, companies are evaluated on nine criteria:
- Ability to attract and retain talented people
- Quality of management
- Social responsibility to the community and the environment
- Quality of products or services
- Wise use of corporate assets
- Financial soundness
- Long-term investment value
- Effectiveness in doing business globally.
For the 2013 survey, the Hay Group surveyed more than 600 global companies and included supplementary research on the role of corporate culture in business performance. What the Hay Group synthesized from that supplementary research is extremely important for companies who want to attract – and keep – the brightest talent, not to mention grow in our global economy.
Most significantly, the survey discovered that culture is a competitive advantage, a “must-have” in all of the surveyed companies. What set the WMACs apart is that they recognize the need to evolve their cultures continually to prepare for future challenges, all the while maintaining and nurturing their core set of values.
Not surprisingly, 95 percent of the WMACs say it is their CEOs that serve as the role models to shape organizational culture. The managing and implementation fall to human resource departments, the group that forms a cultural identity, often in diverse workplaces stretched across the globe.
None of this comes easy, but smart companies understand that their success depends on happy and inspired employees. On yourdailysuccesstip.com, Terri Timberman, executive vice president of global human resources at Broadcom, offered the following sage advice for companies wanting to attract and inspire competent employees.
- Treat employees as individuals.
- Reward high-performers.
- Support employee-led programs.
- Establish a few consistent critical cultural values but allow individual offices to create their own personalities with additional values.
- Gauge employee satisfaction regularly, and then use those findings to form internal initiatives.
- Strive to build – and then keep – your solid reputation. Timberman suggests that by taking an active, positive role in communities, companies naturally advance their reputations.
When the WMAC list was published last year, the Hay Group noted: “What separates the ‘best’ from the ‘rest’ is the ability to balance the tension between ‘continuity’ and ‘adaptability’ in corporate culture. WMACs understand how to nurture core values so that they stay relevant to their markets, customers and employees for the long-term.”
Moving your company into the “best” category is even more important now, as millennials, some 80-million strong, start taking over the workforce. According to a recent survey from The Intelligence Group of the Creative Artists Agency, millennials have some fascinating traits: 64 percent say it’s their priority to make the world a better place; 88 percent favor a collaborative work environment rather than a competitive one; 74 percent want flexible work schedules; and 88 percent want work-life integration not work-life balance.
Signature Source thinks those millennials are pretty smart! Already, they realize that corporate culture forms the basis of a company’s reputation. It’s what gets talked about among prospective employees, right up there with salary.