I recently met with our Advanced Leadership Group, employees who are working toward the goal of becoming a shareholder. One of our team members posed the question, “Why aren’t other firms doing the same thing we are trying to do – creating a culture where people want to stay long term?”
Our firm is not unique in our industry. Finding good talent and retaining exceptional employees is competitive in public accounting and most other firms are working toward it as well. But the reality is it takes a strong commitment to build a culture and it needs to be perched at the top of the priority list.
Culture building is not a one-shot deal. Making a single speech or hanging a lone motivational poster on the wall won’t cut it. It won’t be cultivated overnight and it will take more than an annual email. Successfully building a culture is about doing the right things all the time.
In our firm, culture conversations occur frequently. They are paramount in recruiting. They are common during employee evaluations. Almost every meeting includes discussions of cultural topics. In order to build a culture that people can embrace, we have to be fanatical in our efforts on a daily basis.
I hesitate to use the word “cult” because of its negative connotation, but as Jim Collins pointed out, companies with great cultures are fanatical about what they believe. Organizations that want to maintain a great culture need to have that cult-like level of intensity and commitment.
Culture is complicated and if you want it to flourish, it needs to be in an environment that fosters its growth. You don’t want to let a “culture” just happen. You want to be proactive.
What are you doing to build a positive culture in your firm?