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Candidates Care About Culture

Today is Global Talent Acquisition Day.

At Vantage West, talent acquisition is about more than recruitment. It’s about creating an environment that draws talent to our organization. It’s undoubtedly easier said than done, as the war for talent is fierce these days and many candidates have multiple options.

Organizations must make smart choices about their talent acquisition approach and execution. Many of us rely on outside vendors to help us with our efforts. These vendors’ products and services claim to help find and land the perfect candidate. Many of these tools are useful and effective, but the best advantage at an organization’s disposal can be found inside its walls.

An organization’s culture is its best asset for building a thriving team. After all, the goal is both to onboard and retain talented people who behave consistently with your culture. So, for us, culture comes first. We have goals to achieve, and it’s important that we are all on the same page. The “how” is just as important as the “what.”

Culture can mean a lot of different things to different people. Merriam-Webster’s definition of culture is “the set of shared attitudes, values, goals, and practices that characterizes an institution or organization.” Culture is entrenched in the social norms and behaviors that are evident in everyday life at your organization.

Just like a thumbprint, every organization’s culture is unique and can’t easily be duplicated or changed. It can either help you achieve your goals or hold you back. It can make coming to work enjoyable or unbearable. It can set the organization ahead or maintain mediocrity.

Organizations should never be ambiguous about their culture because if you don’t define it, it will define itself. At Vantage West, we are specific and deliberate about what our culture is and what it strives to be.  

We recently rolled out a new cultural model and training, which was developed internally and influenced heavily by Associate feedback. I like to think that we took the best parts of who we are and our history as an organization to articulate an authentic, organic, and aspirational ideal of what we want Vantage West to stand for. The resulting training is an awesome collaboration between our Human Resources, Marketing, and Operations departments and the result is something we are all proud of.

We call our culture model “Polaris,” because it’s our North star, our guiding beacon. Polaris has three main pillars: Service, Accountability, and Innovation. These pillars ensure we can achieve our mission of “Igniting collaborative relationships with our Members and the communities we serve, so we can thrive together,” and fulfill our purpose of “Investing in people today to build a more prosperous tomorrow.”

I recently heard the quote, “Culture eats strategy for breakfast” (Peter Drucker). I love this, but I’d take it a step further and say, “If you don’t have a culture strategy, then you don’t really have a strategy at all.”

This blog was contributed by Tricia Cassidy-Vincent, AVP, HR & Talent Management at Vantage West Credit Union, a $1.9 billion financial institution which serves a growing Membership of nearly 160,000.

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