Report: Job Seekers Think Culture is More Important Than Money

A few of my friends are looking for jobs.

Some are unhappy in their current role, while others are out of work for one reason or another. They've all told me the same thing about their search: there are jobs out there they could do, but they're holding out for something that's a great fit.

Many job seekers today have that luxury. As of July 2019, the US unemployment rate sits at just 3.7 percent. That means businesses have to really compete for talent.

What makes your company attractive to talented employees?

  • It's probably not desperation.

  • It's usually not money.

  • It might not be your product or service (unless it’s incredibly popular).

A new report from Glassdoor reveals that culture is the most important thing that job candidates are looking for. Here are some highlights along with some suggestions for landing top talent.

A group of colleagues sitting at a conference table with the word “culture” written on it.

About Glassdoor's Mission & Culture Survey 2019

The Glassdoor report was conducted by The Harris Poll. 

A total of 5,113 adults were surveyed, including 2,025 in the US, to learn how a company's culture contributes to employee recruitment and retention. The remaining participants were from the UK, France, and Germany. The highlights below focus on the results for US job applicants and employees.

You can read the full report here.

What do job applicants look for?

Culture is extremely important to job applicants. Employees are looking for an organization where they believe in the mission and feel pride in their employer. It's also vital for people to feel like they fit in with the organization.

Here are some of the top findings from the report:

  • 58 percent said culture is more important than salary.

  • 77 percent would consider a company's culture before applying.

  • 89 percent think it's important for a company to have a clear mission and purpose.

This is one of the reasons companies should have a customer service vision. This is a shared definition of outstanding service that gets everyone on the same page. Companies with a strong vision are able to unite employees behind this compelling purpose.

Culture is what keeps people, too.

Many of my friends are looking for jobs because the culture isn't right at their current company. In the report, 74 percent said they would start looking for another job if their company's culture deteriorated.

I did a separate study on contact center agent burnout and discovered that 74 percent of contact center agents were at risk of burnout. A lack of a customer-focused culture was the number one risk factor.

How can you become an employer of choice?

Offering a competitive salary, good benefits, and a healthy work environment are table stakes. You’ll have a difficult time attracting any decent employees if you don’t do those things. The real differentiator for top talent is a customer-focused culture.

Start by creating a clear purpose—89 percent say it's important.

The next step is hiring for culture fit. 

A word of caution here. There are a few common mistakes that frequently cause customer service leaders to accidentally hire toxic employees:

  • The culture is not clearly defined.

  • Relying too much on resumes and interview questions.

  • Trying to hire "rock star" employees.

You can avoid these traps using this guide to hiring for culture fit.

Once you've revamped your hiring process, it's time to advertise your culture to prospective job applicants. Many organizations create a culture page to do this. The page often contains:

  • A description of the culture (mission, vision, values, etc.)

  • Information about what it's like to work there.

  • Video testimonials from employees.

Here's how Southwest Airlines provides an overview of the culture:

Screenshot of the culture page on the Southwest Airlines career site.

REI emphasizes the employee experience in this example:

Screen shot of the culture page on the REI careers site.

The Container Store uses this video to share employee testimonials.

Finally, make sure you back up that great culture with an effective onboarding experience. You can use this guide to help you.