Building a strong company culture isn’t just for current employees; it’s a key strategy to acquire talent.
In fact, 35% of workers would turn down a dream job offer if the company’s culture wasn’t right.
However, the term ”company culture” can feel vague, and many employers struggle to recognize and improve their culture as a result.
In this article, we explore what a good company culture means, the benefits of a healthy company culture, and 9 best practices companies can adopt to nurture a safe, inclusive culture.
Good company culture is the combination of organizational values, behaviors, practices, goals, management, and expectations that influence how employees and management interact in the workplace.
It’s integral to employee experience, which is the totality of interactions that an employee has with an organization during their employment, including:
Physical and virtual work environments
Building a good company culture is also a valuable talent acquisition strategy that puts people first to hire, retain, and engage the best candidates available.
To identify the specific characteristics of a good company culture, look for the following traits:
Low levels of stress. Research shows that 83% of US workers suffer from work-related stress. Healthy organizational cultures are able to help employees manage stressful situations by prioritizing employee wellbeing.
Healthy work-life balance. Good company cultures value and facilitate a healthy work-life balance by offering remote work, allowing flexible scheduling, sabbaticals, paid time off, and creating family-friendly workplaces.
Strong workplace communication. Good company cultures improve workplace communication by establishing clear guidelines, learning team preferences and strengths, staying flexible, and welcoming feedback.
Trust in the workplace. Companies with good cultures establish trust in the workplace by building a culture of reliability and better collaboration. In high-trust companies, employees who are uncertain about handling new tasks can rely on their employers for support.
Having a good company culture is important because it removes unnecessary stress from your employees’ workdays. However, it’s also crucial for attracting and retaining top-tier talent when organizations promote their culture externally.
A great company culture helps overcome talent acquisition challenges like:
A healthy workplace culture puts you a level above competitors. In fact, more than three-quarters of job seekers say they consider a company’s culture before applying.
Good company cultures locate and hire candidates based on their ability to perform well in a role – not their education or experience history.
More than half of job seekers say that a positive workplace culture is more important than salary, according to Glassdoor research.
This is fundamental for your passive recruiting efforts because many workers are silently dissatisfied with their working environment and you can entice them to switch to your company if they hear about your supportive, inclusive, and flexible company culture.
Companies with good company cultures use efficient and clear communication, proven and efficient processes, and talent assessment tests to optimize the hiring process.
By focusing on skills-based hiring practices, shortening time-to-hire, and eliminating inaccurate performance predictors like cover letters, resumes, and degrees, they improve candidate experience and gain a positive reputation among job seekers.
When you have a good company culture, it gives you a brand identity centered around core values like support, development, and integrity.
Employer branding is an important part of attracting quality candidates through awareness, research, feedback, employee value proposition, content strategy, and promotion.
Positive and effective workplace cultures deliver benefits job candidates want, such as flexible work schedules, hybrid models, paid family leave, fair pay, and any other demands common in their field.
The employer-employee relationship should not be antagonistic. Rather, a positive company culture has them cooperating and providing for each other.
Building a reliable, respectful, and communicative company culture has several significant benefits for employers.
People with in-demand skills have the privilege of being picky with the companies they pursue as an employer, so it’s no surprise they prioritize companies with reputations for having healthy cultures over those with toxic cultures.
In fact, the top-ranked reason a candidate may choose one company over another is because of differences in company culture.
Healthy workplace cultures are more inclusive. Increasing diversity mitigates bias in hiring and the workplace, boosts innovation, solves problems faster, increases performance, and builds a better brand reputation.
For example, a whitepaper from Cloverpop found that diverse teams make better business decisions than non-diverse teams up to 87 percent of the time.
A healthy organizational culture boosts productivity through high levels of collaboration and employee engagement.
When employees feel connected to their work and have a sense of belonging, they are more productive and engaged in their work. In fact, more than half of executives say company culture influences productivity.
Research from Columbia University shows that the likelihood of job turnover at an organization with good company culture is only 13.9%.
This is because when employees are valued, treated with respect, and given work that reflects their skills and desire to grow, they want to stay with an organization, reducing employee turnover.
A Gallup study shows that over a three-year period companies with good culture increased their employee engagement by 50%.
Strong company cultures improve engagement by offering learning and development opportunities, crafting leadership development plans, and rewarding strong performance with recognition and employee promotions.
Customer satisfaction isn’t just about having employees with strong customer service skills. It’s not hard for a customer to see through the friendly facade of a miserable employee. They respond best to employees who are genuinely happy and engaged in their jobs.
In fact, companies with good cultures are almost 90% more likely to report high customer satisfaction.
Having a good company culture isn’t just about taking care of your existing employees: It’s also essential for attracting high-performing employees in the future.
That’s why you should view good company culture as a winning talent acquisition strategy.
But what steps should you take to leverage a good company culture to acquire skilled employees?
How it works
Define your company values
Determining your organizational needs, goals, and values can help to better understand and maintain your company culture
Hire people who nurture culture
Infusing your organization with diverse employees challenges and expands your existing culture
Attract employees with skills
Making sure your employees have the skills to do the job preserves a culture of productivity and growth
Create a cohesive remote culture
Monitoring the remote and hybrid extensions of your company nurtures your organizational culture
Building an inclusive company culture boosts innovation, communication, collaboration, creativity, and employee satisfaction
Offer learning and development
Creating a culture of learning attracts candidates who want to learn and grow within your organization
Focus on employee wellbeing
Showing your employees and candidates that you value their success and wellness outside of their professional role builds a supportive culture
Improve talent planning
Utilizing effective talent planning strategies builds stronger and more collaborative teams
Offer flexible work
Giving your employees the flexibility they need to do their jobs well contributes to a more positive company culture
Understanding and articulating your organizational needs, goals, and values helps you better describe your culture, internally and in your recruitment process.
Although accurately defining every aspect of your company culture may seem difficult, defining your values shouldn’t be.
Ask yourself: What are the guiding principles that give my organization purpose and direction?
In Google’s infancy, for example, its founders wrote “ten things we know to be true” that ended up defining their values for the future.
They listed examples of positive organizational values, such as focusing on doing one thing really well at a time and prioritizing the speedy execution of tasks.
It’s important to note that not all organizational values are positive, such as a culture of work-til-you-drop. But simply identifying your company’s core values can help you reposition into something more positive.
Defining your values is crucial, but it’s also important to hire skilled employees who nurture and grow your culture, rather than just preserving rigid hierarchies and systems.
Nurturing your culture means hiring diverse employees that add to it, celebrating their differences instead of succumbing to groupthink and cultural homogeneity.
TestGorilla’s Culture Add test is a great tool to identify these culture nurturers during the hiring process.
This personality assessment evaluates how a candidate’s behaviors and values align with your organization's to determine whether they will adhere to the guiding principles you established earlier and contribute to developing them further.
Employee referral programs are another great way to find additions to your organization’s culture.
Remember, hire employees that share your values but aren’t afraid to change the way your organization pursues them.
Building a good company culture requires filling vacancies with candidates that have the skills needed to thrive in their role.
Traditional hiring practices that rely on unreliable qualifiers like academic degrees, resumes, and cover letters are prone to bias and do not adequately assess skills, which damages organizational culture.
Why? Because if a new hire doesn’t have the skills they say they do, their poor performance can have unseen, personal costs on your culture, such as drains on employee morale and increased burnout.
Companies with good organizational cultures implement multi-measure talent assessments to gather hard data on candidates' role-specific skills, competencies, and provable abilities.
A candidate may score highly on a behavioral assessment, which shows they are a good personality fit, but they did not perform well on a test for the required hard skills.
Although a good personality fit is great for company culture, if the candidate does not have the skills they say they have, you may risk hiring an individual who can negatively impact your culture.
Cultivating a good company culture extends to the office environment – or the lack thereof.
With nearly 30% of employees working within a hybrid model, ensuring that you create a cohesive company culture in a remote or hybrid work environment is a must.
In a cohesive culture, everyone has a shared set of values, goals, attitudes, and ways of working. This culture should be consistent across teams and departments regardless of location or leadership.
But building a cohesive culture in your remote or hybrid work environment can be difficult because:
There’s not a strong sense of belonging among employees
New employees are not immersed in the culture
Teams and departments can become siloed
Remote workers can be excluded from in-person meeting and activities
Although one study found that remote workers report being happy 22% more than their office counterparts, another study found that more than a third of remote workers say their work setup makes them feel lonely. 
When hiring remote employees, it‘s up to business owners to include every worker within a cohesive company culture, regardless of their location.
Prioritizing inclusiveness is a cornerstone of good company culture, not just because it’s the morally right thing to do, but because it has several distinct benefits for talent acquisition:
Reduces turnover. Research shows that a strong sense of belonging can reduce the risk of turnover by 50%. This means talent remains with your organization for the long term, cutting costs and the time it takes to find replacements.
Increases team cohesion and engagement. According to a study from LinkedIn, 68% of US workers are not engaged at work. Inclusive hiring, combined with a truly inclusive workplace culture, helps people perform and collaborate better because they feel supported to voice their opinions and are included in decision-making. This results in increased cohesion and engagement.
Boosts performance. The same study found that businesses in the top quartile for ethnic diversity also have a +36% likelihood of financially outperforming their competitors, a clear indicator of stronger performance.
Increases innovation. Being intentional about workplace diversity boosts innovation and creativity and attracts top talent. LinkedIn’s study also found that 76% of employees and job seekers say diversity is important to them when considering job offers.
Learning and development is another important part of leveraging a great culture to acquire skilled talent.
But it’s more than just onboarding a new employee or showing them the ropes. It’s a systematic approach that every organization should use to improve the knowledge, skills, and attitude of employees.
Learning and development initiatives like upskilling and reskilling, online learning courses, funding continuing education, and leadership development plans are tangible ways to attract and retain talent.
This is because job seekers want to learn and grow on the job – for example, an astounding 87% of millennials say workplace learning and training are important.
You should also use skills tests to strengthen your existing workforce. Using a combination of talent assessments in the workplace helps you:
Manage employee data. Use tests to gather skills and personality data to develop workers on an individual and team level
Build better development plans. Assess employee skills to establish a worker’s career goals and how to meet them with professional development plans.
Improve teamwork. Give skills tests to a specific department and then analyze the results. Use the data to create a training program for team members to take together, addressing skill gaps and communication breakdowns while boosting collaboration and camaraderie.
Learning and development opportunities serve your existing workforce by building a culture of learning within your organization where every employee feels that they can grow their career.
A 2021 survey found that 68% of HR leaders rated employee wellbeing and mental health as top priorities.
That’s because employees don’t want to sacrifice their wellness when choosing a job.
Employee wellbeing is the relationship between a worker’s health and their experience at work. Specifically, it’s how your organization makes them feel inside and outside of work.
Prioritizing employee wellbeing shows your talent pool and egrxisting workforce that you can improve their lives outside of work while enhancing their performance and job satisfaction at work.
Skills-based hiring practices have been proven to improve employee mental health and talent acquisition. Our annual report, the State of Skills-Based Hiring, found that 72.1% of people hired via skill-based hiring are happy in their roles.
Organizations can also improve employee wellbeing by offering competitive compensation and benefits programs like mental health services, wellness retreats, and paid time off.
Reevaluating talent management strategies has become a key talent acquisition trend.
Talent planning is a part of talent management that is used to:
Identify vacancies that need filling
Anticipate new responsibilities
Hire suitable candidates internally
Help new hires develop their skills
Improve talent retention
These elements are crucial to building and leveraging a good company culture to acquire talent because they build successful teams, develop a culture of collaboration, and grow the skills of new hires.
Improve your organization’s talent planning by:
Defining your company’s mission
Creating and analyzing your hiring plan
Writing attractive job descriptions
Assessing the talent you’ve attracted
Also, consider improving your talent management process by adding workforce planning tools, learning management systems, and skills-testing platforms.
For example, our library of more than 300 scientifically validated tests can help you assess job-specific skills, like coding or digital marketing, as well as behavioral traits like problem-solving and critical thinking.
Flexible work isn’t just a perk anymore. Your talent pool expects it.
Research shows that 80% of employees consider flexibility in the workplace as a deciding factor when evaluating job offers.
But does flexibility actually make a good company culture?
Flexible work opportunities, like flex time, a compressed work week, job sharing, and a results-only work environment can rebalance the relationship between work and life for your employees.
Achieving this balance doesn’t stifle productivity – quite the opposite.
Giving employees more freedom and control over their lives actually makes them more productive.
Take Microsoft’s four-day workweek experiment, for example.
In 2019, a subsidiary of Microsoft in Japan experimented with reducing the workweek by just one day and saw a 40% boost in productivity with only 20% fewer hours worked.
The company also reduced its time spent in meetings by implementing a 30-minute limit and encouraging more remote communication.
Although it may seem costly to offer flexible work opportunities like cutting down your workweek, increased productivity paired with preserving resources like electricity and office supplies actually saves money while helping build a good company culture.
Leveraging a good company culture to acquire talent sounds good in theory, but have organizations actually succeeded with this strategy?
Yes, many have – and to prove it, let’s take a look at three examples of good company culture and discuss how it has helped their talent acquisition efforts.
Focuses on normalizing mental wellness to nurture employee wellbeing
Empowers employees by encouraging peer-to-peer recognition
Attracts and retains skilled, diverse talent with skills-based hiring practices
American Express’s Grief and Loss Support program offers employees one-on-one counseling from licensed mental health professionals.
The company also emphasizes employee wellbeing by normalizing mental wellness.
It provides employees with self-care webinars, blog posts, talking points for senior leaders, and even group counseling sessions with teams to create safe spaces for dialogue.
This is a great example of finding ways to ensure psychological safety for your employees by leading with empathy and respect while encouraging dialogue.
These are the building blocks of good company culture that enable a company to consistently thrive, not just financially, but from a wellness perspective as well.
This program has given the company enough positive press that it’s been put on lists of top places to work for its culture – catching the attention of job seekers and passive candidates alike.
Shopify started as a five-person team working out of a coffee shop.
Over 7,000 employees later, it’s now one of the top e-commerce platforms in the world.
Shopify owes much of its success to its strong company culture dedicated to employee empowerment.
For example, Shopify’s Unicorn platform empowers employees to acknowledge and appreciate each other’s successes through a point system that translates into bonuses at the end of each month.
This fusion of communal recognition, support, and financial incentives is a good company culture cocktail for acquiring and retaining quality talent.
Not to toot our own horn, but we’re proud of our culture here at TestGorilla.
It’s no secret that we’re big fans of skills-based hiring practices and their abilities to identify, retain, and engage high-quality candidates.
Our skills-based hiring strategies open the talent pool where traditional hiring practices don’t by:
Eliminating resume, work history, and degree requirements
Reaching unlikely candidates from nontraditional backgrounds
John Kim is a great example. John is a member of TestGorilla’s sales team but comes from an unlikely background. He was trained as a software developer and never imagined he would thrive in a sales role.
In John’s words, he was a people person disguised as a developer:
“I look like a proper dev on paper, but I was miserable in that position.”
Skills-based hiring gave him the opportunity to explore his talents to learn what he was truly passionate about.
And he’s not the only one. There are many stories of employees finding the right career path that demonstrate the power of skills-based hiring.
Our strong company culture is one of the many happy endings to each of those stories.
Building a good company culture isn’t just a way to keep your employees happy.
It’s a powerful talent acquisition strategy to expand your talent pool and fill open roles with high-performing talent.
Companies with good cultures have high retention rates, increased productivity, better employee engagement, and a wealth of diverse employees.
When leveraging your good company culture to acquire talent, it’s important to follow best practices like defining your organization’s identity and values, creating a cohesive remote work culture, and improving your talent planning strategy. It also makes sense to assess your company culture regularly.
Hiring talent with the right skills for the role is also crucial to avoid mis-hires and preserve team morale. TestGorilla’s Problem Solving test, for example, evaluates candidates’ ability to define and analyze data to make correct decisions.
Explore our extensive test library to learn more about how skills tests can build a lasting, good company culture.
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2. O’Malley, Lisa. “8 Corporate Culture Statistics That’ll Change How You Treat Employees”. Bonfyre. Retrieved July 26, 2023. https://bonfyreapp.com/blog/8-stats-building-a-corporate-culture
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5. “Statistics on remote workers that will surprise you”. (December 2, 2022). Apollo Technical. Retrieved July 26, 2023. https://www.apollotechnical.com/statistics-on-remote-workers/
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9. Vinikas, Immanuel. (July 20, 2023). "5 reasons why learning and development is so important for organizations in 2023". Kaltura. Retrieved July 26, 2023. https://corp.kaltura.com/blog/learning-and-development-importance/
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