Why company culture matters to your turnover rate

At a luncheon I attended a month or so ago, I sat next to a bit of an overbearing woman. She was the type who had something to say about everything and everyone. At one point during our conversation, she told me how larger companies in town had poached some of her best talent. Shortly afterward, I mentioned to her that I have been with Imagine for more than nine years, to which she replied something to the effect of, “They’re so lucky no one has tried to poach you! Usually when you’re really good, other companies try to steal you.”

Considering how she had just mentioned that she has trouble keeping people, I decided to take the high road in my response. I don’t recall exactly what I said to her, but I definitely know what I didn’t say:

Ever bigger companies/jobs/titles/salaries aren’t everything. While they’re nice, they’re often accompanied by longer hours, more stress and not necessarily more respect. Rather, a positive/supportive/challenging work environment is the primary thing that keeps good people.

Over the years, I have, indeed, had other companies inquire about hiring me. However, I have not changed jobs simply because I have been happy where I am.

Here are several reasons why (in no particular order):

  • I am challenged mentally
  • I can be creative and pursue my ideas
  • Brian (our managing partner), who is my direct supervisor, is extremely even-tempered (There are no “What kind of mood is he in today?” fears.)
  • I run my own department and am very autonomous
  • I can truly call all of my co-workers my friends
  • Imagine gave my husband the opportunity for his company to handle our outsourced writing/editing needs as they arise from time to time, becoming one of Words by a Pro’s first clients
  • Our office is pretty much drama-free
  • I (now) live close to the office, and I don’t have to take the freeway anymore to get there
  • I work in a beautiful office
  • We are given the privilege of working out at CrossFit Veni Vidi Vici as a company perk each week
  • I have a great work/life balance
  • My opinion matters (I don’t always get my way, of course, but my opinion still matters)
  • I am treated with respect
  • The stress the job can bring is usually balanced out by fun clients
  • Brian and Alex always have my back
  • I can pursue professional growth opportunities (such as attending the American Copy Editors Society’s conference last year)

In short, company culture matters. Most people don’t change jobs if they love what they do and where they work. They change jobs because they’re looking for happiness.

If you have a high turnover rate, take some time to analyze the culture you’re providing for your employees. If you have the ability to make improvements, go for it! You may just be pleasantly surprised.

If your turnover rate is low, great! But don’t get complacent. Because company culture is nurtured by the people within, it is almost a living, growing thing. Fiercely protect your culture and be open to ideas for improving it. Downgrading a great company culture is almost worse than never having one at all.

Melissa Biernacinski serves as Director of Media Relations for Imagine Communications. To email Melissa, click here.

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