Human Capital Management Blog

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New study reveals nearly 1 in 3 North Americans believe their culture needs improvement #PulseOfTalent

By Lisa Sterling, Chief People Officer, Ceridian

The right culture is about as important as a thorough marketing plan or an easy to use payroll system. Unfortunately, many North Americans believe their companies need cultural improvements.

Greg Besner, Founder and CEO of CultureIQ previously explained that culture is “more important than ever” and noted that it has grown into “a ‘must-have’ rather than a ‘nice-to-have'” for people and organizations. This judgment is spot on. The right culture is essential in the workplace. Part of the reason for this is the emergence of millennials as a substantial cohort within the workforce. They grew up in a different sort of world than the generation before them, and it shows in the value they place on the right culture. It is about as important as the size of their paychecks.

Beyond the influx of millennials in the workforce, though, culture is a morale-booster as well. When a company’s values and approach to community match that of its people, they’re more likely to be satisfied with their jobs and, subsequently, more productive and engaged. And if they’re not pleased with culture, well, they’ll leave.

In Ceridian’s most recent study “Driving Culture in the World of Now: Pulse of Talent” we focused on culture too. The report, conducted by Nielsen, found that 74 percent of Gen Y and 45 percent of Gen X North American employees plan on spending fewer than five years with their current companies.However, our research has found that if employers invest more heavily in programs and resources, such as employee benefits, technology and HR programs they can improve the chances people remain in place past the five year point.

Invest in your talent
People want their employers to invest in them, both as employees and as individuals. They want training, recognition and development programs to develop their skills in and out of the office. However, not enough businesses offer these benefits. Less than 50 percent of the North American respondents to the Pulse of Talent survey indicated their employers offered employee recognition programs, though our respondents believe that they are the 2nd most important HR program to drive culture.  As more and more organizations transform their recognition programs, leaders need to start by listening to their people and building programs that meet their company’s culture.

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Give people what they want
Most people want their employers to offer development and training programs to help them learn both as employees and individuals. But they also seek improvements to everyday tasks through increased use of technology. According to our findings, millennials want their employers to allow wearable technology and social media in the office more often. Gen X employees, meanwhile, want to be able to use tablets and smartphones on the job to improve their work-life experience.

However, only 31 percent of North American employers allow social media use for work purposes and a mere 40 percent of Pulse of Talent respondents indicated their companies let them use smartphones/tablets for work. Having access to these technologies would certainly improve attitudes about employers, enhance workplace culture and increase retention.

Where does a better culture come from?
If you feel tempted to improve your office’s culture, you’re not alone – but how can human capital management professionals achieve this goal? Well, the Pulse of Talent survey found employees are looking for great leadership and communication, so that’s the best place to start. Collaborative teams with effective leadership breed culture. By taking a top-down approach to building a better culture through clear communication, investment in talent and increased access to technology you can make sure employees want to stick around longer than five years.

Throughout the next month, I will be diving into the results of Ceridian’s Pulse of Talent survey, where we will take a deeper look into the “World of Now” where the lines between work and life are blurred, and people are pushing organizations to be better every day.

Lisa SterlingAs EVP and Chief People Officer for Ceridian, Lisa has a dual responsibility for Ceridian’s overall global people and HR strategies as well as overseeing the product vision and strategy for Dayforce Talent Management.

 Prior to joining Ceridian, Lisa served as a Partner and Technology Solutions Leader for Mercer’s Talent Solutions business.  Lisa also served in both a product and people strategist role at Ultimate Software as Head of People Engagement.  As a Partner at Kenexa – an IBM company – she led the design and deployment efforts of the organization’s performance, succession and career development solution.  She’s currently a Human Capital Executive Research Board Member and sought after speaker on various talent management topics.


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