I have a client who primarily chooses their employer based on the company’s culture. Not training and development opportunities. Not the perks or incentives. Not even money. It’s the company’s corporate culture that will ultimately lead to the decision as to whether or not he takes on the role being offered. It has led me to investigate why a company’s corporate culture is so important to job seekers.
Often described as an organisations personality, the culture is something that many of us sense or feel. It tells us how to think and behave and outlines elements such as core values, beliefs, corporate ethics and codes of conduct.
I found it interesting that while my client seeks out an organisation with a great culture, how does he get to know and understand that culture without first being a part of it? In reality one must emerge themselves in an organisation for a period of time to really gain a firm grasp of the culture in play. Yet as my client so rightly pointed out, research and the asking of questions, the right questions, can give you an insight into reality.
Prior to the interview my client takes the time to study the company. The organisation’s website is an easy starting point and can reveal a lot or a little. Annual reports, marketing, performance achievements and awards, and contacts within the industry or the company itself can also expose important information about the corporate culture. If you have the opportunity to watch the organisation in action, your own observations may tell you a story too. My own website and social media sites tell the tale of an organisation with personnel that have a strong sense of community. One will also gain an understanding of the high level of value placed upon continued learning through training and development. And for those who have direct contact with us on a regular basis, they will know that we place great emphasis on developing and retaining meaningful relationships.
Once inside the interview room one can deduce a host of other realities of the organisation under review. My client has mastered the art of articulating a question to disclose expectations regarding work hours, flexibility to achieve a work-life balance, how employee efforts are recognised and rewarded, the emphasis placed on training and development and succession planning. He also gains an understanding of the culture by observing how people dress for work, the office layout and décor, and how employees interact and communicate with one another.
Some of the questions my client likes to ask include:
- List ten words that describes your company
- What do you like about working here?
- What would you change about your organisation if you had the opportunity?
- Can you provide example of how employees are valued here?
- What skills and characteristics does the company value?
- What is the promotion process?
- What opportunities exist to develop skills and build knowledge?
- Which employee behaviours are rewarded?
- What rewards are given to employees?
- What is the communication process within a department and between departments?
the list goes on…
Employer-employee fit is the key reason why jobseekers are so keen to uncover a company’s cultural make-up. It is an important seek-and-find mission for my client because he wants to be confident of a good fit as he intends to stay with the organisation for a long time. He understands the value of being employed and how difficult it can be to find a job with an organisation whose values align with his own. Knowing that he will be spending a large portion of his time at his place of employment, it is additionally important to my client that he is happy, successful and productive. He wants to have a voice that is respected and be given opportunities for growth so that he may achieve his career ambitions.
Every organisation, large and small, has a culture. A positive culture is what is desired. It is so for it leads to greater employee retention, an enhanced reputation which attracts quality employees, company morale is higher which leads to improved productivity hence improved profits and of course, better quality service and/or products. A growing number of job seekers are looking for an organisation with a positive culture. They will flock to these businesses and competitors will do their best to imitate them. Yet creating a great corporate culture is not easy. This is why job seekers will keep searching until they find their ideal fit. If you’re a business owner, it is worth asking your employees how they see your corporate culture and what they would do to improve it.