A talent-focused company puts its people first. These types of companies don’t need employee engagement initiatives. “Initiatives” are temporary. Talent-focused organizations walk the talk. Always.

In putting people first, talent-focused companies become high-performing. According to a study by Kotter International, talent-focused companies perform better in every metric that matters, including revenue, earnings per share, retention, innovation and level of effort, to name a few.

Talent-focused organizations attract and retain the right people. Being a people-driven organization doesn’t happen by accident. It is the result of consistent, strategic efforts to make people the number one priority.

To become a talent-focused organization, or to increase the level at which you focus on talent, the foundation is to create a compelling culture.

Talent focused culturesWhat Is Company Culture?

Company culture is the unique personality of your organization. It’s the collective feeling of what it’s like and what it means to work for your company.

It takes a certain kind of employee to succeed in every work environment. Talent-focused companies prioritize employees that are inherently a good fit. When the employee is a strong fit for the culture, the business benefits from less time spent motivating the employee and more time invested in development opportunities and meaningful rewards.

Determining What Attracts Employees

Does your organization match your documented core values? One way to ensure that you attract and retain talent that best fits your culture is by identifying characteristics of employees who are successful. Those traits should tie directly to your core values.

What if you want to change the talent characteristics of employees you are attracting? Modify your core values. Determine the new characteristics you want to reinforce and then embed those in the organization. Companies attract who they are, not necessarily what they want to be.

Here’s how to identify the core values that attract your talent.


1. Define what’s important

What is important in your business? Your industry?  To your clients? What are the characteristics that will lead to success?

For Zappos, an online shoe company, customer service is paramount. They emphasize creating connections between employees and between employees and customers. For example, when employees log onto their computers, they don’t just enter an ID and password. They also have to try to match a name with a photo of a randomly selected colleague.

That process provides consistent reinforcement that creating connections is highly valued at Zappos.

2. Translate what is important into characteristics employees need to be successful

Once you’ve identified what’s important, document those traits.

An activity for companies who are trying to identify what makes them successful is to hold a focus group with employees. Put a stack of magazines on the table and ask the participants to go through the magazines and tear out the images that they, personally, find most appealing.

Afterwards, ask people to describe what they found compelling about the images they chose. Write their explanations on a white board.

You’ll observe a pattern as participants describe why they chose the images. Usually, they state leadership and employee attributes. Employees in an organization tend to value similar traits.
Freedom as employee value
In conducting this activity with a global company experiencing growing pains, we discovered through various photos that freedom was a core value of their company–a valuable attribute considering their footprint in the travel industry.

3. Realign existing employees to your core values

Review your competencies, policies and programs to determine what to modify so they better fit with your core values.

Starbucks’ core values statement begins, “Creating a culture of warmth and belonging, where everyone is welcome.” Recently Starbucks changed their dress code to welcome personal expression, including bold hair colors and hats like beanies and fedoras. The change to invite employees’ personal style ties directly to their core value.

4. Attract new employees that honor your core values

In any new environment, humans look for what feels familiar or relatable. To attract the right new hires, update your recruiting process and materials so they embody the candidates that will be a good fit.

Heinken recently rolled out a new, innovative recruiting campaign. Featuring employees, it offers prospects a playful, personal touch. Heinken places a high value on personality and the campaign rolls out the red carpet to attract employees who will mutually admire that trait.

Ready to Focus on Talent?

Identifying the employee traits that you need to move your business forward and inspire employees will get you on your way toward a talent-focused organization.

At Talmetrix, our platform gathers insights that connect employee engagement and employee feedback to business outcomes. We can help you better leverage analytics to become a higher-performing company.

Download our guide to employee engagement

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