By Charles Sinclair, Co-Founder and Head of Employer Branding at Oddwork.
Company culture can be defined as a set of mutual beliefs and values that impact behavior. Your company culture sets the tone for your work environment, how your team interacts and how you are perceived by others. According to the recently released study Randstad Employer Brand Study, 96 percent of the 175,000 respondents agree that their company's culture must align with their own personal values for them to feel happy at their workplace. This should speak volumes to every employer.
Earlier, I wrote an article outlining the importance of defining your company's reason for being, cultural pillars, cultural activities and communication strategy. My company and I devised these rules to provide a process to help us succeed.
As a company exiting the startup phase, our business has put a strong emphasis on keeping our values and culture intact. Onboarding new team members at a rapid pace while preserving your culture can often be seen as a challenge. We believe there are three ground rules to stick to:
Hire for Cultural Fit
For a low turnover rate, hire individuals who you believe will fit your company culture. While first impressions are not always correct, there is often that gut feeling you shouldn't ignore. We hold three to four interviews before bringing someone onboard. The final one is always a lunch outside of the office where a potential new team member gets to meet everyone in his or her new team in a highly casual and personal way. We have several employees meet with an individual and assess whether or not this person will likely be a successful match. We strongly believe in the phrase "Hire personality, train skill." If you find someone who you believe has great potential, aligning morals and a shared vision, don't be afraid to take a chance. In our experience, a personality fit can end up providing much more value than a fit on paper.
Live Up to Your Word
It is vital for a company to agree on a definition of culture and what type of culture you wish to execute. Establishing clear values on how you would like to interact and do business, then incorporating that into your daily life will help set you on the track to growth. One of our cultural pillars is "energy," which is why all employees work out together with a personal trainer every Friday morning. Another cultural pillar is "humility," which is why everyone who comes to our office takes off their shoes -- regardless of whether you're the CEO of a public company, an employee working at the office every day or a talent arriving for your first interview.
Living up to your word goes a long way in both your personal and professional life. Encouraging a company culture that translates into providing a positive lifestyle for your team only has upsides. Both your team and the outside world will respect you for it.
Train Your Leaders
As your company grows, your departments will expand and you will bring on new talent to lead the way. The ability to identify leaders who will not only embrace your culture but inspire others to do the same is essential to preserve your culture. All leaders at our company go through the same leadership and communications programs to learn a common set of leadership values that align with those of the company itself. Showing appreciation and being straightforward about expectations of your leaders will help create a long-lasting relationship. People come and go but making an investment to train your leaders will help shape your team for the long run.
Strive toward being the type of company whose employees want to turn into your brand's advocates -- the kind of company you can see surfacing in social media not only through its own channels but those of its own employees. Actions speak louder than words, especially in the digital age. By focusing on company culture you will not only help raise your company's visibility but provide honest and invaluable branding that cannot be achieved through that of paid advertising -- regardless of the marketing budget you may possess.
Charles Sinclair is Co-Founder and Head of Employer Branding at Oddwork, activating company cultures and employer brands.