Culture is a hot word right now – corporate culture and brand identity are proving to be relatively new buzzwords in hiring and staffing.  While a rather complicated topic, Masiello Employment would like to take a moment to break it down into three quick points to inspire thought.

What is Company Culture?

Essentially, it is the big picture of your company experience seen from all angles. Values, Beliefs, Symbols, Traditions, Messaging. It is more than a mere marketing pitch; it is essentially the core of the business from top to bottom and everything in between. It is how people feel when they show up for work and how they describe their job to others.  With tangibles from standard company benefits and salary packages down to the way individuals – of all ranks – are fostered, managed and treated.  Ultimately, it is what makes people inspired to go the extra mile, stay, or leave an organization. It is what attracts talent to your business. Companies like Google, Apple, and Facebook have droves of people jockeying to receive attention from these firms, and company culture is the reason. At the end of the day, most companies do the same thing, whether it is building software or widgets, yet some seem to have their talent pipelines filled, while others struggle.

How Can Company Culture Affect My Business?

It is a tight labor market, and hiring is expensive – especially if you do it wrong. Ultimately, the best employees relate well to your company message, assimilate into your culture, and contribute to the overall purpose – not just show up for work. Different Strokes for different folks here, so every individual and every company have matches and mismatches – it is not a matter of right or wrong, it is a matter of what is.  However, to attract and retain the best talent in the market, it has become a standard best practice to understand your company culture. Then, HR and marketing can present potential candidates with a ‘big picture’ inclusive company culture that is both transparent and genuine.  Be yourself, and you will attract others, organically, that will be interested in helping you deliver your goods or services.  People that are engaged, productive, and stick around for the long haul.

What Can I Do?

The first step is just taking the time to further develop awareness of overall company culture by determining what it looks like.  Start small and assemble a team of individuals of all levels and host a simple brainstorming session on a whiteboard. Openly discuss the perceived values, experiences, and achievements that your employees see as defining company culture.  It is critical to make a safe environment – no judgments – this is not the time to tell all the managers how wonderful they are, or complain endlessly*. A strong personality is required to facilitate. Someone who can extract genuine employee perceptions, and stay focused on the task of defining the company culture. This may include active management of participants, to avoid turning the event into a gripe session.*  Information can also be collected via anonymous surveys, but real human interaction will translate much better, have more impact, and hold people more accountable for their contributions – more meat, less filler.

From here, you will have the data to consolidate a big picture idea of company culture and can focus on the positives by encouraging more of the same. For example, if you offer an exceptional paternity leave policy – shout it out! Be sure everyone is aware of what makes your company unique. Finally, develop marketing messages that align with your now-better-understood company culture, then be sure to share them. In short, be your brand!

So yes, Company Culture matters. Pay attention, before your competitors do! The talent market is tight for the best people. And who doesn’t want the best for their organization?
*If this happens, you may have a sick company culture!