In order to stand out from the competition, it can be tempting for companies to step outside of their core vales to employ out-of-the-box strategies to attract and hire talent. However, for Oklahoma-based small business Life.Church, they've done the exact opposite. By staying true to their faith-based principals and Christian culture, Life.Church has not only been able to hire top talent but they have won Glassdoor's Employees' Choice Award for Best Place to Work. The multisite church with 34 locations in 10 states, eclipsed consulting firms and software startups to take the #1 spot on this year's list.
We spoke with Founding and Senior Pastor Craig Groeschel to learn more about how Life.Church approaches learning and development, candidate expereince and interviewing for culture fit. What he shared can be applied to any business no matter the size or the faith.
Glassdoor: Congratulations on your win as a Best Place to Work! What are two or three steps your organization has taken within the last year to double down on company culture or employee engagement that may have led to this win?
Craig Groeschel: Thank you! We’re grateful for the honor. While we consistently invest in our culture and strategies to make our organization better, the truth is that our team is what makes Life.Church special. No program can make a difference unless the team chooses to embrace it. Having the right team with the right mindset and the willingness to live out the culture is what makes Life.Church unique.
Learning is an important part of the strategy to strengthen our culture. We’re intentional about having a high feedback culture where our staff members regularly give and receive feedback. It’s only when people become aware of a growth area, do they have the opportunity to improve.
Organizationally, we’re strategic in seeking feedback from our staff through Glassdoor reviews, Gallup’s Q12 survey, and 360 tools to continuously find ways to improve. Our leadership team takes this feedback very seriously, makes changes when appropriate, and our staff members know their opinions matter.
Glassdoor: 2020 is poised to kick off a culture-first decade. How is Life.Church investing in company culture?
Craig Groeschel: We often say “vision leaks and culture drifts.” If leaders aren’t actively guiding the culture, it will drift off course. That’s why we believe vision has to be repeated clearly and often.
We keep our culture strong by regularly investing in our staff through annual gatherings like our operational staff event and “Family Reunion.” At both events, we reinforce culture, vision, direction, and operational expectations. We also communicate our vision in everyday opportunities, including using our values as wall art and highlighting our culture on digital signage throughout our offices. Ultimately, our values aren’t just words on a wall, but truth planted in people’s hearts.
The best way we invest in our culture is by empowering each person to be the carrier of our culture from the very beginning. Once a quarter, we hold a 2-day event called Inside Out to impart values in every new staff member.
Glassdoor: How are you using Glassdoor to attract the types of candidates you’re looking for?
Craig Groeschel: We make a considerable effort to clearly articulate who we are and what it’s like to be a part of our organization on every platform. We work hard to tell our story on our Glassdoor page because we believe that excellence honors God and inspires people. We take the feedback that Glassdoor provides on a quarterly basis and we make adjustments accordingly. We leverage the analytics from Glassdoor to ensure we’re using the tool to the best of our ability.
Glassdoor: How do you screen candidates to ensure that they will be engaged and thrive within your faith-based culture?
Craig Groeschel: We hire our team based on a set of clearly defined values. Competency is one of the easiest things to identify in a candidate, but it’s hard to determine whether someone fits our values. Most of our hiring process is designed to evaluate if a candidate will be a fit for our team. From the very first step of the interview process, we're clear about staff expectations and what it’s like to work here. We believe every staff member is a leader, and we expect everyone to be fully engaged in the ministry. We understand that Life.Church is not a fit for everyone. We honor our candidates by giving them the opportunity to decide whether Life.Church is the best fit for them.
"For our interview process, we hope it’s fundamentally life-giving to each candidate. Even if they don’t end up on our team, we want each person to walk away feeling like we’ve invested in them as they've learned about themselves." —Pastor Groeschel
Glassdoor: Companies nationwide have really invested in the candidate experience. How has Life.Church fine-tuned or enhanced the candidate experience to secure top talent in this tight labor market?
Craig Groeschel: We believe the Church should set the standard for how people are treated in the workplace. For our interview process, we hope it’s fundamentally life-giving to each candidate. Even if they don’t end up on our team, we want each person to walk away feeling like we’ve invested in them as they've learned about themselves.
We believe development begins with the very first conversation. We’re intentional to show care for each candidate beginning with the initial phone screen. Throughout the process, we make every effort to help candidates understand our culture. This includes steps like a Weekend Interview Event where candidates are able to attend our church and meet with top leaders. We celebrate the candidates who make it on the team and take measures to ensure they have a quality experience from the moment of offer to the first day. For those that don’t make it on the team, we actively seek out their feedback to continue to improve our candidate experience.
Glassdoor: You have been recognized as a Best Place to Work in the past. How has the award impacted business or hiring? What has been the benefit of being recognized?
Craig Groeschel: This award is a blessing. As we’re continually looking for top talent, we’re grateful Glassdoor makes people more aware of the opportunity to bring their talents to our church. While our number of applications has increased, we truly believe this is just the beginning. We are excited about what the future holds for us.
Glassdoor: Lastly, what are 1 or 2 recruiting and hiring trends you predict will really take hold in the new decade?
Craig Groeschel: We believe people want to work at a place where their work matters. The generation entering the workforce wants to make a difference, not just earn a paycheck. This makes it more crucial than ever to have clear company culture and values that are frequently communicated to team members. We also believe that candidates want to see authenticity, not perfection. It will become even more important for organizations to be transparent. Candidates want to know what’s real, not just what we want them to hear. We see Glassdoor as a major contributor in this becoming a reality.