Understand How To Attract and Retain Talent

We know culture impacts workplace referrals and retention, but what drives culture? How does an organization go from an inherited or accidental culture to one that’s intentional?


Every workplace culture is different and unique. That said, we know successful organizations excel at the same four things. We call them the “imperatives:”

Alignment: Everyone has confidence in where the organization is headed and how it will get there.

Connection: There’s a sense of “we’re in this together.” Employees feel heard and appreciated.

Coaching: The 1:1 manager/employee relationship and the intersection of skills, interests, and company goals.

Performance: The organization gets work done efficiently and is open to new ideas.

While the imperatives are the same across all organizations, culture drivers – or the “how” – differ from one organization to the next. That’s why it’s important to know where the company excels, where attention is needed, and which of the 15 drivers are most critical to the success of your organization.


  • The organization operates by strong values.
  • Employees are clear about the future direction of the organization.
  • Meetings are efficient and help get work done.
  • There is strong interdepartmental cooperation.


  • Clued-in leaders know what is really happening in the organization.
  • Employees feel appreciated.
  • Employees find meaningfulness in their work and believe it contributes to a greater cause.
  • Clued-in employees are well informed about important decisions.


  • Managers care about team member concerns.
  • Career growth and individual development is supported.
  • Managers are helpful in supporting the work of team members.
  • Employees believe managers are doing all they can to support their full potential.


  • Everyone is open-minded about considering new ways of doing things.
  • New ideas spark Innovation and an environment of continuous improvement.
  • Execution ensures things are done efficiently and well.

A healthy, intentional culture is the simplest way to retain your best employees and attract more of the same.

Lisa Sordilla is human resources director at Energage, a Philadelphia-based research and consulting firm that surveyed more than 2 million employees at more than 7,000 organizations in 2019. Energage is The Washington Post’s research partner for Top Workplaces.

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