The culture of a company is its heartbeat, its pulse. While all the intellectual properties are the nuts and bolts of the bureaucracy, the real heart of the company is the vibe that sparks between employees. Culture will make or break a company. It will make or break a job experience for an employee.
Nearly 58% of people deeply consider a company’s culture when applying for jobs. If you’re an employee, you need the right culture to stay happy in your job; if you’re an employer, you need the right culture to reduce turnover. Company culture is a win-win.
What is Company Culture, Really?
What is company culture, after you get past the flowery language about lifeblood and hearts? If you read the above description and have any inkling of mathematical and logistical tendencies, you might scoff, and ask for the metrics. How can we measure company culture? What kind of graph can we use to represent it? If it’s so important, where does it show up on the quarterly reports?
We all know what company culture is when we see it. Most of us can also recognize a bad company culture when we spot one. If employees willingly put in overtime and aren’t using every last one of their sick and vacation days, they enjoy the work. If turnover is low, they enjoy the work. When people work well together, employees achieve more.
Companies that have good culture have:
- Authenticity and honesty. Employees are comfortable being honest with superiors and managers communicate effectively with employees.
- Humor and style. Younger employees especially want a company that feels like a group of friends.
- Good work-life balance. Employees work hard and enjoy the work but don’t find all their meaning in the office.
- Meaningful work. Employees are challenged to solve puzzles, take initiative, and think outside the box.
Why Company Culture Matters for Companies Hiring
Now more than ever, people want their work to be fulfilling and meaningful. They don’t want to toss away 50+ hours a week at a company that they don’t love. While the type of work and purpose behind the work that they do is meaningful, the culture also matters.
Words to Describe Company Culture
When trying to define company culture, the words that we use matter. The difference between a company with great and terrible culture is partially found in the way that the company speaks about itself and its own culture. The words we use to describe company culture creates our frame of reference.
As an employer, the way your employees speak about company culture matter as much as the culture itself. You’ll need to hire the right influencers and personas who can continue to shape this culture in positive ways. Don’t try too hard to paint your company culture as unique; instead, focus on the positives. Don’t talk about how you’re better than another company, talk about how well you do things.
If you’re representing your company when hiring, you need to walk a thin line between making your company culture sound great and also creating realistic expectations. Unrealistic ideas of how “fun” or “happy-go-lucky” the company is can actually contribute to high turnover rates and can cost your company a lot of money. You don’t want to dissuade applicants with stories of the latest coffee pot and watercooler dramas, certainly, but you do want to be realistic. If you are not confident in your abilities to accurately represent your company, you can always use services to help you find talent that fits your company.
Creating Great Company Culture
As part of some shocking workplace statistics, only about 58% of people trust their boss more than a stranger. That clearly doesn’t reflect great culture. You may work in a place like that (and you may be that boss). If so… time to turn the culture around!
You’ll need a good mix of youth and experience. If you can create a workplace where older members respect and mentor younger employees, you’ll be an attractive landing spot for younger employees.
A great culture for your organization will have huge impacts on workplace psychology. When employees are a part of something like that, they’re more motivated (which in turn, could bring you in more money).
Finding Hires that Match Your Culture
Once you’ve got momentum and have a great company culture, it is important to continue hiring people who are the right fit for your culture. This can be difficult, because two equally qualified candidates might have entirely different vibes and personas. While you can get some idea of these things during the interview process, it might help to partner with a staffing agency who has a pool of candidates. With that being said, it is important to not base your entire decision around this. It’s valuable to have people who challenge the status quo and bring unique insight to the table.
Staffing agencies can get to know you and your culture and provide a list of people that they think will fit your company. An extra pair of experienced eyes can really help you get help with the hiring process.
Why Company Culture Matters for Job Seekers
Types of Company Culture
Not every company culture is the same, and not all great companies have the same culture. That’s okay. The culture in a successful start-up coffee shop in New York will be different than the successful company culture of a Google or Apple. Every company needs to cultivate a one that helps it succeed.
When you’re being hired, one of the things you’ll be assessed for in the interview process is your fit for the company culture. Avoid common interview mistakes and you should be fine.
Your resume should also reflect the company culture that you’re applying for. Use some tips for updating your resume, and remember that font choices and word choices matter just as much as the way that you explain that 3-month gap in your resume.
Finding Great Company Culture
A great company culture should be part of your career goals. You should always ask about company culture when you’re interviewing for a position, and you should pay more attention to the way that the board or hiring manager answers the question instead of the actual content of the answer that they give you.
Finding a job with a great culture can be a difficult process, and you should do your best to create a long list of options to maximize your search results. Remember that company culture is not the only thing that you should look for in a job. A mediocre culture can still be a good fit if you enjoy the work and get paid well. But if you have enough job options, you shouldn’t have to settle in any department.
Staffing agencies often have great relationships with companies, and can be great at helping with the job search. Teaming up with a staffing agency can help you find and consider companies and cultures that you never thought of.
Matching Company Culture
While you certainly want to find a great company culture, you also need to remember that hiring is done on the basis of how good of a fit the manager thinks that you’ll be for the company. Whether you are a job seeker or in cahrge of hiring, it’s important to note the HR department really needs to see someone fitting in with the company, whether it is in the day to day operations or at the company parties.
For folks on the hunt for the right employer, make sure that you use some stress-release tips before the interview so that you’re relaxed and don’t come across as closed off or high-strung. While job-hopping might be right for some people, you generally want to ensure your prospective employer that job changes have represented a constructive part of your personality and not a destructive one.
As you navigate through the company culture, whether you are building or entering one, we wish you the best!