As the cost-of-living crisis worsens, it would be logical to assume that bagging an improved salary package would be the priority for jobseekers, right? However, as research this year continues to prove, job hunters are targeting businesses with positive company cultures over those offering enhanced salaries and benefits.

In this year’s Global Talent Trends report, LinkedIn argues that 2022 is a watershed moment for the importance of company culture.

The report revealed that 63% of jobseekers would prioritise a positive work-life balance over financial compensation and benefits. LinkedIn’s research also discovered that culture is now a key selling point for job seekers, with job posts that mention a company’s culture enjoying, on average, a 67% boost in audience engagement.

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This data comes at a time when there’s a growing belief in HR circles that people are altering both their life priorities and their relationships with employers. Indeed, our own research into company culture would appear to back this statement up: with 75% of employees we surveyed saying they would research a company’s culture before applying for an advertised role.

The evidence is both clear and overwhelming: organisations cannot afford to ignore their culture if they are to survive and flourish during times of economic uncertainty.

Company culture: where HR software comes in

Now, it’s important to note at this stage that building and maintaining positive organisational culture can’t just be delegated to senior leaders, a specific person, or a department. Company culture involves everyone within an organisation: from the CEO, all the way down to the newest graduate.

That being said, there are a huge number of touchpoints affecting culture that HR and the software solutions they use can directly influence.

Human Resources will often be the first and last department a person interacts with when joining a company. In addition, HR will also be at the heart of monitoring company performance, diversity and inclusion strategies and health and wellbeing initiatives – not to mention all of the day-to-day activities that keep a workforce ticking, such as time-sheeting and payroll.

It makes sense then, that HR should be at the forefront of developing and monitoring company cultures that promote development, aid retention and enhance the employee experience – and this is where having HR software can help a great deal. Here’s how…

1. Improve your recruitment efforts

If there’s one thing that can ruin an organisation’s recruitment efforts and damage their image, its being slow to respond to job applicants.

With integrated recruitment software, recruiting managers can access all the information they need from wherever they may be, and HR can nudge them if they don’t respond quickly enough. This means that potential applicants are not kept waiting around for responses and can either prepare themselves for interviews or carry on their job hunt.

From a cultural point of view, this is really important. Even if an applicant is unsuccessful in their efforts, they should still be afforded the best possible experience with your company. This will show your business off in the best possible light and demonstrates that you take the candidate’s journey seriously – regardless of how it turns out.

Given that job seekers can rate their interactions with hiring companies on social sites such as Glassdoor, a poor recruitment process could translate into negative reviews and a damaged reputation – making it harder to attract the best candidates.

From an HR perspective, HR solutions that include integrated recruitment tools automate unwieldy manual tasks. This frees up HR professionals’ time to focus on more fulfilling strategic activities and make the recruitment process itself much more streamlined.

For example, the Cezanne HR Recruitment module includes ‘one-click publishing’ to free job boards. It publishes and removes job vacancies using dates specified by the user, meaning users needn’t worry about out-of-date listings or wasting valuable time on manual maintenance. This can also prevent applicants from applying for jobs that are no-longer available and wasting both theirs and HR’s time.

2. Create better onboarding programmes

A good onboarding programme allows the employee to gain a positive impression of the company atmosphere, culture and values from the very start.

However, as our recent report into onboarding discovered, many organisations are falling at the very first hurdle with their new hires. A worrying 63% of employees we surveyed said their onboarding experience left them feeling stressed, while 21% of all employees questioned their choice of employer due to receiving a poor onboarding experience.

Those figures should make worrying reading for HR. The first few days, weeks and months after a new employee joins a business are a critical point in their career journey. In fact, there’s evidence to show that a new hire’s decision to stay with a company long-term is made within the first six months of employment – they’re unlikely to do so if they have a stressful or underwhelming experience!

A good HR system, like Cezanne HR, with employee onboarding capabilities can help ensure important activities aren’t missed and new starters receive a warm welcome – even if it’s remote. HR teams can create onboarding portals that not only reflect the organisation’s brand and culture, but are also personalised to each new joiner – meaning they can get a flavour of the business before they start.

3. Support effective performance management

HR systems can be a great tool in supporting line manager and employee relationships, which in turn can be hugely beneficial in creating effective performance management strategies that support your company culture.

It’s very easy for performance conversations to be forgotten when there are no written records, or an over-reliance on unmanageable paper forms. HR systems with integrated performance management tools can provide a single place to record performance conversation objectives and outcomes – as well as a place to create and complete performance goals.

Using check-in and goals functionality, like those offered in Cezanne HR’s Performance Management module, means HR and line managers can see a timeline of performance to make sure any agreed learning/improvement points are actioned. Maintaining these practices company-wide encourages accountability and ensures everyone continues to grow and develop in line with the company’s culture, goals and values.

4. Create meaningful staff engagement

A key aspect of culture in any organisation, is how you engage with your employees. HR technology can help maintain that vital staff engagement – even if a company’s workforce is primarily off-site or remotely based. This is because:

  • It can provide better accessibility for employees

HR software solutions that include self-service functionality – such as Cezanne HR – can help engage, connect and support employees wherever they are. This is because it gives them easy online access to their own information, connects managers with their teams and helps employees keep in touch. Better still, this can all be done via desktop or mobile device – anytime, anyplace!

When employee information is easier to keep up to date, processes run more smoothly, and key activities don’t get overlooked. This empowers employees to help themselves and saves HR time in the process.

  • It can provide a shared workspace to support collaboration

HR portals and shared workspaces are places where staff can share documents, exchange feedback and get access to important external resources. They can also help all your employees stay up to date with the latest company news, connect with colleagues and collaborate on projects – even if you have a large proportion of remote or off-site staff.

  • It can provide real-time performance reviews and feedback

HR software that includes integrated performance management software can help your employees feel both valued and engaged. It can also make your performance review processes and evaluations more transparent – meaning employees know what is expected of them and what they need to be doing in order to progress.

  • It can help you evaluate staff engagement and sentiment throughout the year

HR software that includes Pulse Survey functionality can help you to collect quick and targeted feedback regarding your company’s culture. You can discover what employees really think about any aspect of their experience at your organisation; from their overall job satisfaction to company communications, workplace relationships, work-life balance, the working environment… virtually anything that can affect your organisational culture!

You can read more about how pulse surveys can help organisations create cultures that retain their best staff and attract the brightest talent here.

  • It can reflect your own unique brand identity

Lastly, another way in which HR software can improve staff engagement is how it can be an extension of your own brand. A strong and successful brand identity should permeate through every customer and employee touchpoint – and this includes your HR system.

Choosing an HR solution that can reflect your own brand identity (including the option to use your company logos and colour schemes, configured to use company terminology and include important key messages) will ensure a personalised experience for all your employees.

5. Improved diversity and inclusion initiatives

There has been an increasing trend in organisations to ask HR to provide data that helps drive workforce decisions. Focusing on culture, what data do you need to ensure your company is a healthy and productive place for employees to thrive?

An HR system like Cezanne HR is the best place to get data that provides tangible insights into company culture. From absence trends to workforce demographics, you can have an in-depth look into the makeup of your workforce, be notified of issues that need to be addressed, and access information to present to the rest of the C-suite table.

The CIPD’s 2022 Future Work Trends report stated that diversity and inclusion strategies are going to become even more important to employees over the next 10-15 years – and it’s easy to understand why.

With inequality, racism and discrimination in our society and workplaces still a huge problem, challenging these issues in all their forms is vital when it comes to supporting positive, inclusive and welcoming company cultures. Luckily, HR software can help businesses track and report on key reporting metrics, such as gender pay gaps, diversity ratios and salary averages.

When HR have the right software solution to support their efforts, they can take steps to ensure  that people from all backgrounds are well represented among their departments and receive both fair pay and career opportunities.

In addition, it’s worth noting that by 2025, Gen Z will make up 27% of the workforce. Not only is a positive work-life balance a key priority for them – and as such, should be kept in mind when attracting and retaining them – but also, they value organisations that prioritise diversity, inclusion and equality initiatives as part of their company cultures.

So, how do you use your HR system to support your company’s culture?

Paul Bauer author image

Paul Bauer

Paul Bauer is the Head of Content at Cezanne HR. Based in the Utopia of Milton Keynes (his words, not ours!) he’s worked within the employee benefits, engagement and HR sectors for over four years. He's also earned multiple industry awards for his work - including a coveted Roses Creative Award.

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