It’s an elusive thing, company culture. That mixture of intangibles, like shared values and attitudes, with more quantifiable aspects such as goals, behaviours and practices thrown in. All these things come together to form the way people feel about the company they work for, the job they do, and the co-workers they share their daily lives with.
Whilst it might not always be measurable, it becomes visible to people very quickly, whether, for example, there is a culture of trust that empowers employees to make decisions.
I guess the culture of a company can be summed up as the template that guides everything an organisation does. It’s something that cascades down from the top. Unless the senior team live and breathe it, it won’t be sustainable.
Developing the right culture can give you a competitive edge, both in the customers you serve and the staff you attract. Research shows that nearly 90% of job seekers cite company culture as being of high or relative importance.
So how should you consider organisational culture in your recruitment? How do you make sure new employees will fit? There are some clear benefits to recruiting with culture in mind.
When an employee buys into the company’s culture, they become progressively more invested in all areas of their job. Confidence grows, with the result that they work harder and embrace increased responsibility. They tend to be more confident and will take satisfaction in achieving their goals. It seems fair to say that if you source employees who demonstrate that their values and behaviours align with others in your organisation, they have an inherent motivation to help the company succeed.
Employees are happier in their jobs
A strong culture allows those who share it to thrive in a productive environment. When someone is new, they will soon pick up on the company culture, and if they feel they ‘fit’, they will be reassured they have made the right decision. A happy worker will feel connected more quickly and be able to contribute faster. It’s an important factor, as a third of job seekers say they would be prepared to take a 10% pay cut for a job they are passionate about.
And they are likely to stay longer
When you consider company culture as you hire, you bring on people who support the values of your company. We know how much attrition costs an organisation in lost productivity, time and money, and so taking whatever steps you can to engender loyalty makes a lot of sense. Contrary to many reports, research by BuiltIt found that over half of millennials would like to stay at the same company for most of their career. If you employ them with a good culture fit, they are more likely to stick around. Conversely, those who don’t like the culture of their employer are more likely to leave.
So, in general, if you look for employees who are able to align with the organisational values, they will integrate more cohesively, help to drive growth, and improve your attrition rate.
However, there is a caveat. If every single person you ever employ is just like the rest of the team in attitude and beliefs, your diversity suffers. You do need challenges to the status quo, people who can do things differently and come at them from another angle. Carefully introducing diverse attitudes and behaviours could help your company to improve its products or better its services.
The ideal is to find a balance, looking for candidates that will thrive in your company’s culture, believe in its ideals, but who also have the confidence to bring in new ideas. This ‘culture add’ aspect can actually be woven into your company ethos — the encouragement of new ideas, the understanding that people can try doing things differently without fear of recrimination.
We won’t pretend it’s easy to get it right, but when you do, your organisation will benefit.