According to Harvard Business Review (“What Is Organizational Culture? And Why Should We Care?”) ‘Company culture refers to the personality of a company. It defines the environment in which employees work. Company culture includes a variety of elements, including work environment, company mission, value, ethics, expectations, and goals’.

At M18 we never start a project without having a clear understanding of the work environment in which our candidates will land. Because it is only possible to evaluate a candidate entirely when having a full understanding of the company culture.

Some examples that we have come across:

  • One of our clients attaches much importance to assertiveness and curiosity. Employees at that company are expected to approach colleagues from other departments spontaneously to obtain information and promote their projects: ‘no one will do it for you’. Hence it is important for us to check upfront that the candidate we interview has sufficient ‘red’ in his/her Insights profile;
  • Another client offers a stable work environment with a family culture. Their corporate culture is a key selling point for persons that want to combine their career with a nice family life and are looking for the right work-life balance.
    Whilst some persons thrive in a continuously changing environment with lots of creativity and innovation, others may get lost and prefer a more stable culture with clear guidelines.

Sometimes companies want to change their culture and ‘shake things up’ or ‘calm things down’, and then look for someone that does not fit entirely within the existing culture in order to bring change.

Why is corporate culture so important? Because employees that can identify themselves with the company culture fit in better. As a result, they are happier at their work place which makes them more productive, and that again increases job satisfaction. It’s a vicious circle.

Here are some tips to find out during the recruitment process whether a person fits in:

  • During the interview, ask what their ideal company looks like;
  • As hiring manager, have an informal talk about their values, what they like and don’t like;
  • Let them meet their future colleagues, and afterwards ask how they felt about meeting these persons (and visa versa);
  • Talk to the candidate’s ex-colleagues to understand the type of environment that the person is thriving in;
  • And if possible, let your preferred candidates do a ‘dry run’. They can spend a working day at the company prior to being hired to check out the match. There’s no better way to find out then on-the-field.

Finally, corporate culture can’t radically change overnight just as a person cannot immediately change 180°. Still, it can gradually adapt over time, and the best way to enrich your corporate culture is by obtaining the right balance male/female and, just as important: a good mix of employees from different cultural backgrounds.

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