8 ways to gauge how your company culture is regarded by job candidates

Why is company culture important to the recruitment phase? We spend up to 50 hours a week at our jobs. Harvard Business Review says, “Some organisations will excite you. They’ll stimulate your success and growth,” while some workplaces will do the opposite. In an increasingly competitive global marketplace, never has company culture been viewed as so important by candidates. In fact, 76% of job seekers in a recent Glassdoor survey said they want to know specific details about what makes a company “an attractive place to work.”
If you want to draw the best talent to your organisation, then fostering and demonstrating a valuable company culture should be top of your agenda. Here are 8 ways to gauge how your organisational culture might be regarded by job candidates.

 How demonstrably ethical is your company? How is this proven?

A recent research piece carried out by Global Tolerance consultancy found that job seekers demand that employers “enshrine values and ethics in their business model”, rather than just profit. The research indicated that 42% of job seekers desire to work for a company that has a “positive impact on the world” and that securing work that was meaningful, and helped others was preferable than a high salary alone. 36% of respondents indicated they would work harder “if their company benefited society”.
Your organisation needs to be able to prove and demonstrate its ethical framework not only to your customers and client base, but to potential hires as well. There are many tools available to measure ethical culture, as well as experts you can consult with, to improve performance and perception. Check your ethical performance measures and look to improve these, over time.

 How does the management structure of your company appear to outsiders? How to you know this?

“Structure is different to pace,” says Lou Adler, Performance Manager and author. “Some mature organisations are heavily structured at both the organisational and process levels. Others are built to be more flexible and are able to respond more quickly to changing market conditions.” Some companies are heavily structured, some less so. Both levels will appeal to different types of candidates.
Assess whether your company structure is demonstrated by your online assets – who has the primary “voice”, and is this reflective of how things really run? Do you make company tier information widely known, and could/should visibility be improved? “From a practical standpoint,” Adler says, “the hiring manager’s leadership style has the most direct cultural impact on a subordinate’s motivation and performance.”

 How agile and adaptable is your company when compared with its competitors?

Innovation in business is happening faster and budgets are becoming more structured; more companies are finding it difficult to keep pace and effectively implement strategies that will keep their organisation competitive. Some companies will be more agile by their very nature, and business targets are more often then not, constantly shifting.
Would candidates view your organisation as agile and adaptable? Is a prospective hire that values those parameters the type of person you’re hoping to attract? Consider how your organisation sits on a scale moving from Heritage > Disrupter. In general, the larger and more established a business is, the slower it might be to move, but this doesn’t always have to be the case. Does your marketing material and branding effectively position your organisation at the right point of the spectrum? Could improvements be implemented?

 What values are at the core of your company’s mission? Where are these displayed/promoted?

“Core values are what support the vision, shape the culture and reflect what a company prioritises,” says global HR and talent management expert Nicolas Schoenlaub. “They are the essence of the company’s identity – the principles, beliefs or philosophy of values.”
These values are not just important to your current workforce and customer base, they’re important to your potential hires as well – so make sure they’re known, and given prominence in organisational communication. “Many companies focus mostly on their technical competencies but often forget what the underlying competencies are that make their company run smoothly – core values.”

 How diverse is your company’s workforce? When you review assets, what “type” of people do you see?

Diversity is not only valued by internal staff but by external candidates, and the wider public as well. Consider the backlash ad agency Leo Burnett received when it made an announcement about five new creative hires, all of whom were male.
This slip of attention amounted to a media storm for the agency, who had to seriously backpedal to prove to the industry that it was in fact a diverse organisation and did have many women in leadership positions; but to the wider industry, the damage was done, and subsequent claims were regarded as somewhat disingenuous.
When you review your organisation’s available assets, how diverse does your company’s team appear? Do you value diversity and make this front and centre of your ethos? Consider how important this will be to potential talent and seek to rectify if you dredge up anything that does not truly reflect your values. Authenticity is key – don’t try to represent your company as something it’s not.

 Does your company actively talk about its culture on its channels?

Some brands and organisations live and breathe their company culture. Culture becomes something almost tangible to those that work there. Entrepreneur recently put together a list of 10 companies that had fantastic cultures; it’s no surprise that these places are attractive to job talent, and hardly struggle with new hires. Talent comes to them.
Your company’s online (and other) assets should reflect your culture. “There’s no absolute standard of what’s best in organisational culture,” points out Harvard Business Review. “Different purposes and different organisational features can be more or less appealing to different people [but] your target organisational culture is an important part of your aspirations.” Take the cue of big brands and make your organisation’s culture known in everything from your digital branding to your workplace set up, and publicised activities and products.

 Do your hiring managers’ public profiles reflect your current brand and culture? Are they easy to find online?

Just as your hiring manager is likely to check out a candidate’s online presence, so would a well-prepared new potential hire research and check out a hiring manager’s profile. For this reason, it might be worthwhile for organisations to have a stringent social media policy in place, and to make sure it is upheld. Ideally, all hiring managers should have updated social profiles that reflect their current duties, as well as brand assets such as logos, mission statements etc.
Company websites might consider making team structures visible, and publishing profiles of key staff members, that demonstrate the organisational culture. Research will tell the candidate a lot about the people that they’re interviewing with, so it’s worthwhile giving this some thought in order to attract the best talent to your organisation. Even something as simple as making sure key staff members have an updated LinkedIn profile is a good place to start.

 Does your company celebrate and reward its staff? Is this evident to outsiders?

How important is employee reward and recognition? Saxons Group points out that it’s highly valued by staff. “Employee reward and recognition is the process of telling your workers that they are doing a good job,” the training group says. “Essentially, happy workers are more motivated, more engaged and more inclined to do better.” Loyalty is also enhanced.
Staff rewards can come in so many formats, from monetary incentives, to team activities, to awards and internal promotions. If something worth celebrating happens within your organisation, promote it. Allow your team members to be your brand advocates and help them spread the word. Fast Company says, “Every company has one immensely valuable resource for recruiting staring them in the face, but most don’t even know it. Simply by sharing their experiences, current employees can help give voice to an employer brand – one that’s genuine and personal.”

Pay attention to company culture to attract the best talent

It’s worth considering the 8 points above and seeing if any small improvements are needed to attract the best talent to your door. Look at your organisation with a critical eye, check your online assets and gauge how you perform up against your competitors. Attracting the best hires saves you time and money in the end – with a few careful tweaks, your brand, culture team and organisation can seem more desirable, so that the talent comes to you.
Images: Shutterstock

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