How to develop a connected culture to attract and retain talent

By: Tim Schieffer

What you need to know

  • The best brands appeal to top talent with a connected culture that aligns all employee experience programs.
  • Organizations with proper C-suite alignment achieve better results from their culture initiatives.
  • To build a strong employer brand and connected culture, understand the dos and don’ts of leadership development.


happy employees who are part of a connected culture

The employee experience is broad, capturing the journey from job seeker to new hire to tenured employee. The employee journey isn’t bound by a set timeframe, industry or employee demographic. So it’s up to HR professionals and organizational leaders to make the journey feel driven by corporate goals and personalized to team members. 

Elevate your current employee experience programs by leaning into a connected culture approach. With a connected culture, interactions between the company, executives, team and team members become more purposeful—and more likely to thrive.

Get our ultimate guide to developing a connected culture

Defining connected culture 

A connected culture is a need-to-have for organizations that want to attract and retain talent. At a glance, here’s what you need to know.

What is a connected culture?

It's how an organization lives out its purpose and delivers on its brand promise through organizational alignment, a well-established culture, an appealing employer brand and strong leadership development.

Why it matters

Effective development and implementation of a truly connected culture keeps good team members and attracts new ones while also improving organizational outcomes. 

How does culture connect people?

Connection helps employees feel valued and appreciated, spurring them to become brand advocates. Individuals who feel connected with their employer care more deeply about the work they’re doing. They’re also more successful in achieving the outcomes that matter to them and the organization.

To maximize the value of a connected culture, organizations need to:

  • Ensure leadership alignment, consistency and support
  • Evolve and sustain employee experience efforts
  • Put connected culture programs into a reinforcement cycle

Building C-suite alignment for employee engagement

Want to achieve a connected culture? Executive team alignment is critical. But if it were that simple, many organizations would already have high employee engagement, efficiency and profitability.

Your executive team must have powerful, authentic, robust and transparent conversations, like discussing:

  • Trajectory of influential organization decisions
  • Past misalignment that impacted communication or implementation of executive goals, and how it affected the organization, results and, potentially, customers
  • How the team should (and will) work better together to communicate and remain aligned moving forward 

What strategies can organizations use to foster a strong company culture?

There’s not one right way for executive teams to stay aligned. Here are a few ideas:

  • Dedicated off-site strategic planning session
  • Retreat-style get-together focused on teambuilding and breaking down barriers
  • Give-back group opportunity to support an altruistic effort of serving the greater good
  • Tailored experiential learning session focused on team dynamics and discovering insights

The bottom line: Executive teams need to reflect on what strategy is right for their organization. Look at what will foster alignment and what will have the most positive effects on team members. 

Related: Looking for the right metrics to show progress? See how to prove the ROI of recognition

Creating the connected culture you need

Most executive teams recognize the impact of change as it affects their business. But the influence of a corporate-wide culture change is often less embraced—leaving better performance and increased profits on the table.

Organizations can’t realize the full potential of business transformation, or new ways of working, without supporting cultural change—seen in practice as organizational behaviors and norms.

A study by Boston Consulting Group reports that companies focused on culture and providing proper cultural support were five times more likely to achieve breakthrough results in their transformation initiatives than those that didn’t.

Want to be one of those companies? Recognize that culture change only happens with dedication. It’s challenging enough to change one’s own habits, let alone thousands of employees’. 

Once the executive team aligns and defines the desired culture state, keep in mind best practices as you put culture changes into action.

  • Ensure executives are the face and voice of culture change
  • Involve critical decision-makers early and have them understand why change is necessary 
  • Engage team members and gather feedback
  • Build and communicate the culture road map
  • Reinforce and reward desired culture shifts within the organization

Related: Learn how to revitalize your employee recognition experience.

Elevating employer branding 

The employer brand is your company’s reputation, and it plays a vital role in retaining team members and attracting new talent. It also impacts the retention and attraction of customers. Each audience that buys into your brand leads to increasing revenue and reducing expenses.

Here are the key players that support a successful employer brand.

Human resources

HR professionals are the “face” of employer branding. They find and hire talent, engage employees, and maintain retention.

C-suite executives

While the C-suite is busy, they’re critical supporters and leaders of change, employer branding and talent acquisition.


This team works hand in hand with HR to uphold employer branding, from crafting and delivering value messaging that resonates with team members to promoting the brand and culture during recruitment efforts. 

Brand advocates

Influential team members share corporate messaging and endorse the culture. Use them to strengthen recruiting messages and improve the company’s reputation and culture to attract more top talent. 

Today’s job seekers want to be part of an organization with a great work culture. Companies need to be mindful of how they showcase that culture and promote team member well-being. If you have a solid employer brand, candidates will seek you out. Strong culture and employer branding reduces recruitment costs and leads to more top talent. 

get our ultimate guide for a connected culture

Implementing leadership training 

Having strong leaders makes a connected culture a reality. Organizations with strong “leadership maturity” are more likely to build better, more successful teams. Yet:

  • 11% of surveyed organizations report they have a “strong” or “very strong” leadership bench
  • 77% of businesses report that leadership is lacking

Invest in improving and strengthening leadership skills to inspire and motivate your workforce. Here’s a quick list of leadership development dos and don’ts from the Center for Creative Leadership.

Leadership development dos

  • Treat leadership development as a process
  • Incorporate best practices, data and personal stories into leadership learnings
  • Connect leadership learnings with on-the-job challenges 

Leadership development don’ts

  • Consider leadership development as a one-and-done event
  • Structure leadership learnings through a single approach
  • Launch leadership learnings without previous executive buy-in or input

Related: Discover the essential leadership skills to inspire better performances.

Reinforcing a connected culture throughout your organization

A connected culture needs to be woven into every employee’s work journey to maximize their value and contribution. ITA Group helps employers keep momentum up with the good culture progress they’ve made.

We’ll be sharing more information around how organizations can live into a connected culture and engage employees on a deeper level. Stay tuned for articles on:

  • Executive alignment and leadership development
  • Employer branding and communications
  • Recognition and rewards
  • Learning and development

Get more ideas on how to motivate your people and create the connected culture you want by reading our latest ebook.

get our ultimate guide for developing a connected culture
Tim Schieffer
Tim Schieffer

Tim is the Employee Experience Insights and Strategy Leader for ITA Group. With 20+ years of experience serving clients in multiple industries, including e-commerce, communications and finance, he offers a unique perspective on how to attract and retain top talent. His passion for delivering personalized employee engagement strategies helps create cultures centered on empowering people. Outside of work, you'll find him cheering on the Green Bay Packers as a proud part-owner. Go Pack Go!