MegaphoneThe Jobvite Social Recruiting Survey for 2014 reveals several interesting trends, but one of the most compelling was the overwhelming importance of employer branding in hiring efforts in.

The survey found that 73 percent of employers highlight company culture in hiring efforts and use it as their main strategy to attract talent. The fact that 51 percent use benefits, 45 percent use flexible hours, and only 30 percent use pay as their differentiators demonstrates just how central company culture has become to attracting talent.

Because more and more employers are highlighting company culture in order to attract talent, I thought it would be appropriate to give some tips on what aspects of company culture are most attractive. This will enable you to develop and promote a company culture that maximizes the attraction and retention of talent.

It’s about More Than Just Hedonism

If you think a great company culture is little more than beer, free coca-cola, parties, fun, and business jollies, then you are shooting a little off target. According to research from Software Advice, such hedonism is one of the less preferred company culture attributes. According to the Software Advice study, only 11 percent of respondents cited fun as a preferred company culture attribute.


The most preferred company culture attributes were honesty and transparency (29 percent). This is not an isolated finding:  Randstad found in June that the majority of candidates (78 percent) “look for an employer that is — first and foremost — honest.” It seems that trust has been eroded in the average worker due to broken promises and a lack of transparency during the recession. Honesty and transparency — not beer and parties — are the most positive messages you can send out about company culture at the moment.

Low Stress

The next most attractive quality was a “casual” and “relaxed” environment, which 22 percent of candidates desire. If your environment is casual and relaxed, you might want to promote that as a virtue.

Of course many professions, job, and industries are inherently stressful – and not casual and relaxed – and the best you can probably do here is show candidates that you have a challenging but supportive culture rather, than a culture of blame. Don’t sugarcoat a challenging culture: if specific candidates don’t want a challenging environment, your challenging culture probably isn’t right for them.

Family Focus

This was the third most preferred cultural atrribute, and it seems like a no-brainer for companies to build and develop flexible, family-orientated policies


This was the fourth most preferred company culture attribute, and also not an easy cultural attribute to deliver in all environments. High-stress, competitive environments may contain more aggressive and cutthroat behaviors and be less “friendly.” If you’ve got a friendly environment, flaunt it; if you don’t have one, don’t sugarcoat it. It’s counterproductive to misrepresent your culture to attract talent.

The universal aspects of a positive company culture are probably honesty, family-friendliness, and fun, and these are messages employers should be sending out into the market.

While workers value low stress levels and friendliness, high-stress and competitiveness are inherent to many professions, companies, and industries. If this is the case in your business, this aspect of company culture shouldn’t be sugarcoated, or you may attract unsuitable candidates.

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