Your Perfect Match: Defining Company Culture to Attract and Retain the Best

Julie Checknita, Employer Services | September-07-11

Perfect Match


Attracting and retaining top talent is both a priority and a challenge for many environmental managers. Without the right people around to execute key strategies, problems such as underachieving on corporate objectives, costly turnover, productivity issues, wasted opportunities and low staff morale can and will crop up.

One reason many organizations have difficulties attracting and retaining qualified talent can be linked to management failing to take the time to define their organizational culture, and promote this culture to current and prospective employees. Most environmental managers already know hiring for job fit is crucial to nurturing productive employees, but this can prove to be tricky when managers aren’t actually even aware of what their company culture is. Because of this, it is crucial to clearly and consistently define, communicate and walk the talk of your organizational culture in your day-to-day work activities.

The first step to defining your organizational culture is to identify your company’s values, goals, and beliefs. Most employees come into your organization with predetermined interests, attitudes, values, beliefs and skill sets, so it is important to ensure these attributes align with those of the organization. "In order to retain the best and the brightest, leading companies need to find the sweet spot that matches workers' values with their business objectives," says Peter Gilfillan, Senior Vice-President of International Sales and General Manager at Monster Canada.  An effective method in finding this “sweet spot” is by designing interview questions around the core values of your organization and then hiring those individuals that give answers that reflect these values.

One company that effectively uses organizational culture to attract, motivate and retain the best and brightest individuals is online shoe retailer Zappos. Although some of their practices are a bit extreme – offering new hires thousands of dollars to quit as a mechanism to weed out those who aren’t fully committed, many of their practices have produced desirable results and have consistently landed them in the Fortune’s list of best companies to work for.

In the following video, Tony Hsieh, CEO of discusses how Zappos utilizes the organization’s 10 “committable values” to guide their hiring and firing practices.



In the end, hiring for cultural fit is the key to higher productivity, lower labour costs and reduced turnover.  As Tony Hsieh says, “ The whole belief is that if you  get the culture right, the rest of the stuff like building a brand and great customer service just happens on its own." Taking the time to analyze, define and live out your organization’s culture throughout the employment cycle will make for a much happier and productive work environment and ultimately provide a worthwhile ROI for organizations in all industries.