The 4 Steps to Defining Your Company Culture

company_cultureFor many of today’s candidates looking for a meaningful career, the job description and salary are no longer enough to encourage them to apply. More candidates want to know about the everyday experience of working for the company and its unique culture – and how they align with their own expectations, values and work preferences.

By developing and projecting a strong company culture, the organization can engage like-minded, right-fit candidates who want to be there. Moreover, by attracting talent who show cultural fit, the company can build a team of engaged, productive employees who will also serve as ambassadors through their social interactions, helping to attract additional candidates who share the same values and goals.

But to truly benefit from a work culture, the company must first define it – something that is often easier said than done. To ensure all recruiters and hiring managers understand the company culture and actively seek the candidates who best fit in, it is important that all parties understand the culture. By defining the existing culture, it will be easier to identify those right-fit candidates and continue to shape it. Consider how the following four steps can help you do just that.

1: Interview Your A-Players

To continually hire the best talent, it is important to interview current top performers who personify the company culture. Questions can include what made them want to join the company, what gets them out of bed each morning, what was lacking in the last job – all factors that impact culture. This enables you to create well-defined talent profiles based on those responses to help create the messaging that will target desired candidates.

2: Identify Core Culture Values

Just as crucial as understanding what motivates top performers is identifying the core values that form the foundation of the company culture. Again, you’ll want to turn to current employees to uncover what those values are. Using employee surveys, you can find the common themes among the current team to ensure an accurate reflection of the authentic values. If a new employee is aligned with these core values, they will be a good cultural fit.

3: Communicate Your Values Internally

The ability to communicate core culture values is key to reinforcing the culture. Using every communications channel available, whether a company intranet, social network, internal blog or newsletter will be effective in strengthening the message. There is no such thing as over-communications – the more these values are conveyed, the more pervasive they will be.

4: Interview Candidates for Culture Attributes

After understanding the values that drive the company culture, it will be easier to identify candidates who share those same attributes. In addition to focusing interview questions on the typical experience and skill set, interviewers should also include questions to assess candidates’ cultural fit. For example, if one of the company’s core culture values is being team players, the interviewer could ask a candidate how they have stepped outside the boundaries of a job to help a colleague. Asking such questions will help the recruiting team go beyond the resume or gut feel to hire the best-fit talent.

Given the high costs of hiring the wrong people – and the time and resources that must go into rehiring for the position – it is crucial that companies hire the right people the first time. Key to making this happen is to fully define and understand the company culture, and seeking the candidates who share the same values. Rather than focusing solely on the skills listed in a resume or being wooed by a strong interview performance, taking cultural it into consideration will help to ensure a team of like-minded individuals working toward the same goals.

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