When a potential employee is deciding between two similar job offers, what makes them go for a lower paid job or the smaller company that can’t match the benefits of a larger company? Culture. Hands down. Every. Single. Time. Culture can be your competitive advantage. We all know that feeling, you’ve got the job, you’ve pipped all other interviewees to the (job) post, you are excited to start your new role with a burst of ambition. But then one of two scenarios happens: It’s perfect; you’re motivated, the jobs great, the people are lovely, you have a clear vision of your role within the company. All is well, happily ever after. Or maybe not. You were mis-sold not only the job, but also the company’s culture. You are miserable, unproductive and will probably leave before you are even set your first goal. This is dangerous territory; once this person leaves your business they are negative influencers on your employer brand, which could affect your employer attraction. So what can you do to support your employer brand and culture and ensure all cards are on the table during and after the recruitment process? Cultural fit and chemistry This is a hard one to figure out – you will normally get the jist of whether you feel a person will fit the company’s environment during the interview stage. However on rare occasions, (the rarest) it is possible to get it wrong, which is only discovered when the person is fully immersed into the business. So how can you avoid this? Kevin Watson, Managing Director for Armadeus recently discussed at our Toolshed event “Ask for 'a day'. Go and Kick the tyres. Go and find out about them. If they refuse then that says it all. Find out about people. And whether 'the sell' is true.” This theory can be applied to both the recruiter and potential employee. Mix it up and invite them in! Career development and training 46% of employees leave because of a lack of career development opportunities. Set clear goals within the initial period of an employee starting their new role, and stick to them. There is nothing more demoralising to an employee than having the golden carrot dangled in front of their career paths and the company never acknowledging or delivering on agreed objectives and rewards. Employees need realistic achievable goals and a company that delivers meaningful promises. This is important in turn for business; motivated employees are the most productive. Benefits that show the business care about employees If rumour has it, Netflix (along with Virgin) no longer has holiday restrictions, Google give staff free food and access to a bowling alley, whilst Microsoft offers a generous maternity and paternity package. There are no set regulations on what you are required to offer in terms of beneficial packages to employees. But what can you do that fits the ethos of your business and will motivate employees? The opportunities are endless. Health care generally tops the bill as a preferred employee benefit, but something as little as a bacon butty on a Friday morning can go a long way in building benefits and employee motivation. Strong leadership Strong leadership is a team that is inspiring, approachable, knowledgeable and has great communication skills. Promoting a positive attitude and outlining clear goals and direction to employees goes a long way in creating motivation and loyalty. Most important and central to all those leadership qualities is communication. Without communication every thing else falls apart, be that an open door policy or communicating change on a regular basis. Communication is the key to a strong respected leadership team. How do you feel about culture or is this something your workplace is missing? Open up a debate in the comments and give us your opinion or experiences.