Why The Best Candidates Care About Company Culture

Recruit more top performers by learning what the best candidates want in a company culture.

According to Personnel Psychology, top performers are 400% more productive than average performers. If your company wants to recruit and hire top performers, understand what they want and need most from their employers. Fortunately, the answer isn’t just a generous paycheck.

Because top performers often know their worth and potential, they are more selective about where they work. When searching for jobs, the best candidates will prioritize finding a work environment that allows them to reach their true potential. If the company culture doesn’t enable them to excel and accomplish their long-term goals, they will look elsewhere.

By understanding what kind of company culture these top performers most prefer, you can learn which elements of your culture are most critical to emphasize and promote. Here are five qualities that top talent looks for in a company culture:

Autonomy

First of all, top talent doesn’t want or need micro-management in the workplace. As The Hartford explains, top performers are self-motivated, can make their own decisions, and initiate new assignments and challenges on their own. Because of this, they prefer an autonomous work culture where they have the freedom and flexibility to complete their work as they see fit. While average performers may abuse these privileges, top talent utilizes them strategically and efficiently to produce better work. When employers give top performers true ownership over their work, they allow them to thrive and improve their work.

Growth Opportunities

Top performers possess an innate desire to learn and grow, which causes them to crave opportunities for career advancement. In a 2007 Hewitt Associates Talent Pulse study, one of the surveyed top performing students explained, “I am an achievement-oriented individual and I need to feel like I’m excelling, moving upwards and growing … moving sideways doesn’t do it for me.” With their ambitious attitudes and constant drive to move forward, top talent can’t and won’t stay in the same place for too long. As a result, they tend to choose employers that offer training programs and career advancement opportunities.

Transparency

Top performers are very goal-oriented; they drive in the direction that leads them to the future they want. As a result, high performers want their employers to be transparent so that they can make informed decisions about their careers, according to Talent Management. They want to work for an employer that tells employees how the business is performing and where the company is headed. They also expect their employer to provide information about eligibility and timeline for promotions, bonus pays, and raises. Consequently, they search for employers that are honest and open.

Feedback

Because they are always looking for ways to improve, top performers covet feedback from their supervisors. A study from Harvard Business Review reports that 50% of high performers say they expect monthly sit downs with their managers, but only 53% report that their managers give them the feedback they need. When top performers don’t receive constructive criticism, they become less motivated and committed to the organization. Offering thorough feedback can keep top talent challenged and growing, and as a result, happy and engaged.

Challenges 

Nobody loves challenging work more than top performers. As Competitive Streak explains, top talent constantly looks for ways to push the limits of their experience and skills, especially at work. And according to Talent Management, high performers enjoy taking on projects at work that require them to think critically and creatively. Consequently, top talent prefers company cultures where employees are expected to work hard and push themselves every day. They want to be on a winning team where their co-workers challenge them and teach them new things. When top performers are in an intellectually stimulating work environment, they perform to the best of their abilities and experience optimal job fulfillment.

The most qualified and talented job candidates won’t settle for just any job because they don’t have to. The best candidates have choices, so they will carefully weigh their career options before applying to your positions. If you want to attract top talent, consider how your company provides an environment that supports, challenges and encourages high performers to reach new levels of excellence. Then share these facts on your career site and during your interviews–especially when you’re interviewing your best candidates. Once you explain how your company culture caters to their needs, top talent will become eager to receive and accept your offer.