So, why is company culture important?
We inherently understand why a company’s culture is valuable, sure. It sets up the rules, procedures and best practices for a place where you spend 40-50 hours a week, and it guides employees on how to make decisions, how to deal with customers and more. It’s very important for those intangible reasons.
But, at the same time, for-profit companies are about, well, generating returns for shareholders and stakeholders. In those situations, why does company culture matter? It can easily be dismissed as a “fluffy” or “soft” concept in the big financial meetings, but that’s folly. Company culture deeply impacts the bottom line, with one study in August 2016 showing that bad cultures can lose companies about $52.7 million of value per year. That number will vary drastically between organizations and the verticals they play within, with another estimate putting culture and personnel problems at about $15.5 million lost in a year. We’ve also seen studies about more compassionate, empathetic cultures – which employees tend to respond better to and turnover less within – being tied to improved fiscal performance and customer satisfaction.
What we’ve established: The culture of an organization is important. So now, if you’re growing and hiring, how do you display that culture during the hiring process to make sure you get the best people possible?
Some tips for displaying culture during the hiring process
Here are some of the bigger buckets to consider:
- What is happening with your Glassdoor? This is a tricky subject for some organizations, but I’ll attempt to break it down for you. First, many candidates will look at your Glassdoor to see what previous employees have said about you. Glassdoor scaled enough within public opinion that it got a profile in The New Yorker. It’s important. That said, when you see an absolutely terrible review in isolation, most humans will dismiss it as a disgruntled former employee (e.g., someone who was fired). Most candidates will look at the more nuanced reviews that address both the good and the bad. As the company, what you want to do is go in and respond to the bad elements – while acknowledging the good – in all the reviews you get. Show that you care. That’s a big element of your culture.
- Be active on LinkedIn: This should seem obvious, but it often is not. Most information in the early stages for a candidate will come from LinkedIn – seeing what you post as a brand, seeing who works there, how connected (first/second degree) they are to who works there, etc. So, post relevant content there. Post about your industry. Post about employee accomplishments. Post about growth and gains. Post thought-provoking questions. Show that you’re a robust company that is active both online and off. That will make a candidate feel better than “Their last brand post was in 2013.”
- Have an employee video: This can be cost-prohibitive sometimes, especially if you lack a video production person in-house, but if you can make it happen, it’s very valuable. Show employees at work, at social events, at ball games, volunteering, etc. Break it up with a mix of soundbites from executives and regular employees, and put a dash of history – when founded, where, why – into the video, too. Use the language and actual words of the employees themselves.
- Have a “What It’s Like to Work Here” page on your website, tied to your Careers Page: Too often, organizations will only have a careers page with open listings, but a candidate can’t find much about what it’s like to work there. (That’s why they turn to LinkedIn and Glassdoor.) Have a page with pictures from work, social events, volunteering, the video mentioned above, quotes from employees, and more. Embed the job openings on that page, too. That way, as someone learns about your culture, they’re one click from actually applying to an opening.
- Consider using peer interviews: Peer interviews aren’t massively common yet, but more and more companies are embracing them. By letting candidates be interviewed by members of the team they would eventually join, they get a realistic look at the culture, the day-to-day responsibilities and the actual people they’d be completing projects with. Obviously, the hiring manager can have the final say on who gets the offer, but involving the team in hiring is a great way to showcase what the culture really is to a candidate.
What other ways have you seen culture showcased during the hiring process?
Other aspects of company culture
To learn more about company culture, including the types of company culture and what they mean as well as how to promote an organizational culture that is positive and sustainable, check out King University’s guide What’s All the Buzz About? The Importance of Company Culture.
With all the benefits of great culture, it’s easy to see why focusing on it is a must, but it’s also a challenging task. It’s imperative that culture be sustainable and permeate throughout the entire workforce. Much thought is still being put into how to do that, and all companies must customize their approach.
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