Culture is one of those topics that gets talked about a lot. This makes me think people put a premium on it and care about it. From what I can tell, culture seems to be part art, science, and some element of ping pong and fully-stocked kitchens. Jokes aside, one thing is for sure: whether you’re a job seeker or employer, culture is an important part in all of our careers.
However, the one thing which is often missing from a lot of culture pieces out there is how to actually create and identify a great culture. As an employer, my question would sound something like: How do you actually create a culture which attracts top talent? And, as a job seeker, my question would sound more like: What kind of culture will allow me to do my best work?
Well, I have one suggestion for both parties: “career-pathing”.
A chance to do great work, be recognized, and be rewarded with additional responsibility is fuel to almost anyone’s fire. I know it is for me. Recently promoted, I can speak directly to how having a clearly defined career path is essential for keeping employees engaged. Engaged employees typically means happy customers and high productivity. It’s a win-win-win.
Let’s face it, the vast majority of high-performing individuals, and organizations, have a sense of where they want to go; goals where the work today is helping propel them toward an ideal state in the future. So, in order to attract talent and find organizations with cultures where you can do your best work, it shouldn’t come as a surprise that career-pathing is a major factor.
As an employer, want to be competitive in the war for talent?
Prove that there is upward mobility possible for people at your organization. A clearly defined career path that shows you have thought about this person’s future beyond the current role you are hiring them for today; you are investing in them. This is the kind of company people want to work for. I know it seems straight forward but it’s the little things that can easily be overlooked.
Are you a job seeker looking to differentiate yourself in a competitive landscape?
Demonstrate a time you took on more responsibility in addition to crushing your current role. Organizations want to hire people that not only see opportunities, but offer solutions.
When I came onboard nearly two years ago at Billtrust, the number one factor in accepting the offer was a chance to advance in the company. Yes, the product was something I believed in and the benefits sounded amazing. However, as a professional, I have goals just like you. I knew a role as a sales development representative with a software company could teach me a lot. It could position me to advance in my career and put me in a position to earn a great living for my family. If I worked hard, stayed focused and hit my targets, I would get a shot at carrying a bag.
Anyone in sales knows the job is hard. It’s easy to get lost in the ebbs and flows of a sales career if you don’t have something you’re striving toward. An easy way for organizations to help their customers, shareholders, and people is to offer a career path. It sounds overly simple but it really does wonders for culture, your people, and your brand.
I’d love to hear your thoughts. Leave your comments below or send me a note on LinkedIn.
Keith was recently promoted from sales development to an account manager role at Billtrust, a software company providing integrated accounts receivables solutions. There he works with clients to leverage their current software investments to the fullest and stay on top of emerging trends. Connect with Keith on LinkedIn.