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“I am sure you will fit in here” – Company culture and its effect on staff

Have you ever been to visit a business and felt that you probably wouldn’t want to work there? You walk out without a specific reason why, but something about the place just said it wasn’t right for you. Yet most of the time, there is nothing wrong with the working environment or the perfectly nice people that work in it. It’s just that, while it would be fine for some people, it’s not right for you. Similarly, have you ever been drawn to a candidate on ‘gut instinct’ when it was a choice of two qualified applicants? At the risk of starting what will be a very positive article on a negative sounding note – you probably felt the company culture, and it didn’t sit well with you or knew that the favoured applicant shared your values and would embrace your company culture. We use phrases like ‘gut instinct’ or ‘felt it in my bones’ to describe what is actually a very clear indication that something is not fitting together on both sides.

A shared set of values and beliefs

A culture is a shared set of values and beliefs, and when it embeds into a company at all levels, you get a strong team that will stay loyal and derive more job satisfaction from their working day. Job satisfaction is directly relatable to productivity and staff turnover, so it is no wonder that many successful businesses look to engage with a common culture in the workplace.

Very few businesses run with staff from a single cultural background. The larger the business becomes, the more likely it is that they will have a diverse workforce in terms of everything from political beliefs to the football team supported, so clearly the generation of a company ethos and culture must be internal. It should be endemic to the working day and, while respecting the diversity of the employees, it should be at the heart of the business. The reason it is so important that the company culture develops is that it is intimately linked to the values of the business. Essentially, to generate a strong team they will need to believe and align themselves with the core values of the company. It is probably here, in the way that the values are reinforced, that a good culture starts. When the two get out of sync, you start to really feel it, both as an employee and a customer.

When the values of a business are really embedded in the working practice, a culture develops around them, but they must be more than a lip service list of things that would be nice. Every business in the world will tell you it puts the customer first, but I am sure you have had an experience of one that does not actually do it. People, including the customer, can feel it.

A strong culture

When you are in the process of hiring a team or adding new members to an existing one, a strong culture will need to be very much a part of the process. A good recruiter will be aware of the need to understand your culture and match that to the values of the candidates because the last thing you need to do is introduce a destabilising element into a solid culture or start one off on the wrong footing.

From a recruitment perspective, a strong, evident culture is a real help when it comes to selecting the right candidates. That ‘not for me’ feeling you sometimes get is a good thing, because it is telling you something important. It is probably telling you that you are not in line with the culture of the business.