Misconceptions about company culture are abundant. As long as you define culture correctly, the benefits of strategizing the construct within your organization are clear. Rather than crafting a company culture full of carbon copy employees, your company culture should be open to interpretation. However, too much room for interpretation could lead to a chaotic and disorganized culture and, therefore, thwart productivity. What is the perfect balance?
All you have to do is start shaping your organizational culture from day one. Not only does this increase the chances of having a positive company culture, that culture then radiates into your online presence and shows potential candidates what it would be like to be in your work environment. If your employer brand shines through on your careers site, potential applicants are more likely to only apply when they identify with the ideals presented. Therefore, you will have less unfit candidate CVs and resumes to sift through, saving both parties time and effort! If they don’t jive with the culture, they may not apply in the first place.
This is a crucial step, because hiring the right cultural fits in the early stages allows you to form the culture you are striving towards. Everyone that is assimilated into the work environment can alter the culture, whether it is for the better or otherwise. For this reason, attempting to shape culture after the fact is simply too late and too difficult to reverse the damage that has been done. It can be done, but it is far less time-consuming and costly to get it right in the first place! Start from the top, and hire people that mesh with the culture, enhancing it rather than thwarting it. Read on to find out just how to accomplish this!
1—Pin down your company’s goals and values
This may seem obvious, but it’s surprising what getting together and writing down tangible goals does for organizational culture. The existing team should all collaborate to come up with the ideal picture of what the company hopes to be down the line. Make a list or a vision board. Keep it in a place in the office where everyone can see it. Tweak it as you go along! Ideals will change, and that’s okay! As long as the new ideals are shaped by the existing team and perpetuated when introducing new talent, as well.
2—Work on culture internally first
Words are just words. The company culture must be fostered from the inside out. Without forcing participation in group outings or cringey icebreaker games, make sure the office environment is a pleasant one. Working on your employer brand starts from, you guessed it, the employer. If you cultivate a positive environment with horizontal communication, open feedback, and spontaneous events, employer brand will come naturally. Team photos will have less forced smiles and seem more genuine this way!
3—Showcase your company culture online
Now that you’ve taken those positive team photos and videos, where do you put the content? Online! There are so many outlets to choose from, it’s important to track candidate sources and see what works best for your particular situation. This may also vary, so keep an eye on what works for which roles you are hiring for, the time of year, quality of candidates, etc. Keeping that in mind, here are some ideas of where you can display your new ideal culture:
- Careers sites
- Social media platforms
- Job boards/descriptions
- Relevant forums
- Blog posts (on your blog and others’!) linking back to job postings
- “Top” lists for company culture (if you work hard enough!)
4—Decide the ideal hire AND assess together
Brainstorm characteristics as a team
An example of this practice is how Impraise implements their “head” and “heart” values. The “head” values represent characteristics that you would want to see an ideal hire use in logical situations, such as innovative thinking or numerical skills. The “heart” values, on the other hand, deal more with personal, communicative characteristics that are important to the company.
These can include anything from turn-taking in conversation to politeness to the ability to motivate others. This will fluctuate dependent on the individual company culture and the gaps you are trying to fill with the open role. The important thing is to get everyone together in the office, take into account opinions of everyone (especially the direct team they will be working with), and actually use the criteria when assessing the candidates!
Share recruitment responsibilities
Collaborative hiring is essential to securing the right cultural fits. How would you know if a candidate is going to mesh with the team if the team isn’t involved in some way? Don’t force participation, but offer incentives. Ideally, employees will want to help in recruitment for the good of the business. It’s also beneficial to make it easy for them to participate using an ATS (Applicant Tracking System) with unlimited seats, team notes, and a user-friendly platform.
Interviewing as a team is also underestimated. It doesn’t have to take much more time and effort. Use unusual techniques for interviewing that involve team members from different levels of the hierarchy to see how the interviewee interacts with them! It will show their personality on a deeper level than simply asking their favorite food or their greatest weakness.
Get Started ASAP
There is an overarching theme here. Start collaborating to form your ideal company culture early! Collaborate on the company goals, values, ideal hire characteristics, sourcing efforts, interviews, and candidate assessment. Geckoboard is a company that knows this well. They use employee NPS to evaluate how well they are doing by hiring only cultural fits! They also know that using the correct tools for collaboration is crucial. Take a look (as a team) past every candidate’s skillset and into how they would fit into the ecosystem of your organization. It’s worth it!
Image licensed from Depositphotos.com
About the author:
Perry Oostdam is the co-founder and CEO of Recruitee, a collaborative hiring platform for teams of all sizes. Recruitee helps optimize the entire hiring process, from candidate relationship management, employer branding, and job posting to candidate sourcing and applicant tracking. The company has offices and Amsterdam, The Netherlands, and Poznań, Poland and works with companies around the world.