How do you define company culture?


A key component for a successful business is that everyone is on the same page. This means that not only is every employee using technology that is compatible, working on the same goals, and communicating effectively, but they also have the same shared values. These values – shared throughout the company – are known as the company culture.

Having a defined company culture, and ensuring that everyone is a part of it, offers several advantages. For example, your employees are more likely to work well together, and you will be able to make better hiring decisions. However, it’s important to understand what a makes up a company culture, and doesn’t. Defining a company culture, and implementing it throughout your business, is a useful tool, but only if used correctly.

How should you define company culture?

When defining or identifying your company culture, focus on company values rather than personal ones. For example, if your employees are mostly young and have a habit of going out after work to socialize, this is not a part of your company culture. Things like the age, hobbies, or beliefs of your employees are all considered personal traits, and should not factor into your company culture.

Company values are things like hard work, innovation, strong customer relations, and team work. It’s what the company focuses on as a whole, and encourages buy in from everyone. Does your company hold weekly meetings on how to better interact with customers? Then customer service is part of your culture. Are employees encouraged to introduce productivity hacks to make things run faster around the office? Do you want your employees to work quickly, or take their time and produce higher quality? Values like these do not rely on the individual employee, but rather the entire company. No matter who comes in or out of the business, the company culture should remain the same.

Leverage company culture to hire better employees

Once you know what your company culture is, it becomes much easier to determine if job candidates will be a good fit. It’s a little unreasonable to expect someone to fit into a culture that you can’t define, but once you know what it is you are looking for, you can clearly express this to your candidates in the interview process. This ensures that employees will know what is expected of them before they begin, and allow you to better assess your candidates.

A good practice is to know who your ideal candidate is before they begin. Based on the requirements for the job and the culture you have defined for your company, who would be the best fit? Draw up a list of attributes your ideal candidate should possess and use this when conducting interviews. While the perfect employee may not come walking through the door, you will at least be able to see how your candidates measure up to what you are looking for.

What to look for to determine culture fit:

  • Where does their passion lie? There is a large difference between someone who is passionate about being employed, and someone who is passionate about the type of work you are offering. Ideally you want someone with the latter, as a passion for the work will make fitting into the company’s culture much easier. You want someone who wants to be in your office specifically – not just any office.
  • Bring in other team members. If you want to see if a candidate will work well with a team, why not bring some of those team members into the interview? Not only will this will allow you to get a good sense in how they interact with one another, but the other team members will have a chance to ask questions you may not have thought of.
  • Interview based on job, not personality fit. Sometimes it’s tempting to hire someone based on whether or not you get along with them. However, it’s important to remember that you are not looking to hire someone to be your friend, but to do a job well. Always keep the job in mind, not whether their personality meshes with your own.
  • Talk to past references. This last point may be a bit obvious, but always talk to the references your candidate supplies. See what the culture was like at those jobs and how well your candidate fit in. If, for instance, the candidate left their last job because they didn’t work well with clients – and you’re hiring for a customer service position – this would be a red flag directly related to culture fit.

The wrong way to leverage company culture

When used properly, company culture can be a strong tool for building cohesion amongst employees and aiding the hiring process. However, when used improperly, company culture can lead to dysfunction, poor work, or even a lawsuit.

First, you cannot use company culture as an excuse to discriminate. As mentioned earlier, company culture is about professional values, not personal, and as such you should not use someone’s personal beliefs or values against them when hiring.

On a similar note, do not allow company culture to get in the way of hiring someone who is different than you. By only hiring people who are like you, you are shutting yourself off from new ideas, limiting the potential of your business. It is good to have a workplace filled with different personalities, ideas, backgrounds and cultures – as long as everyone has the professional values you’re looking for in your company culture.

The misuse of company culture arises when it’s either not clearly defined or defined by personal traits rather than professional ones. Each person has their own set of beliefs and values, but if part of your responsibilities lie with hiring others, your only concern should be those values that relate to work. If you can determine which values are the most important to your company and recognize those same values in others, you’ll make your hiring process more effective and take your company to new heights.

[av_hr class=’short’ height=’50’ shadow=’no-shadow’ position=’center’ custom_border=’av-border-thin’ custom_width=’50px’ custom_border_color=” custom_margin_top=’30px’ custom_margin_bottom=’30px’ icon_select=’yes’ custom_icon_color=” icon=’ue808′ font=’entypo-fontello’]From time to time, all companies struggle with determining whether a candidate will be a good cultural fit to the organization. When Cutting Edge Recruiting Solutions partners with a business looking to simply augment their staffing or bring on an entire team, our recruiters always ask the necessary questions to gain the full perspective of the business and what the company culture is like. Only then do they move forward with sending talented candidates for you to interview at no cost. To learn more about simplifying the sourcing and screening of candidates, contact us today or fill out the form below.


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