Culture Club

I wrote this a year ago for another blog that I started.  I still like what I said so I’ve included it here for old times sake….Yockers

Culture, brand values, and ethics are all now the tools of a recruiters trade.  Candidates more than ever are looking to see what businesses can offer them. This is true of agency and in-house recruiters and in this we share a common bond.  The importance of being able to translate the cultural conversation honestly to candidates is paramount.

I recently heard an interesting discussion around honesty in job descriptions. Everyone defaults to the standard keywords of ‘dynamic’ and ‘forward thinking’ or whatever cliche we want to apply to the next employee. So what ideally are we all looking for when it comes to the question of culture, and how can we find the words to convey this?

The truth is that it’s OK to have a normal working culture, and we shouldn’t shy away from it.  Honesty is the key to good hires.  Businesses are all guilty of trying to emulate Google or other companies that have strong marketing around their culture.

Hiring managers and business owners need to have a realistic view of how their business actually operates on a day to day basis.  You might not be attractive to the “top developers” or the “best designers”.  But what does that actually mean?

There are hundreds of people who want to work hard and build something.  They aren’t all Steve Jobs.  You don’t need the shiniest, newest candidate to hit the market.  What you need is someone who will be a great addition to the business, build your culture and do the job you need them for.  Being unique does not mean you don’t fit in.  A team of free-thinking, high achievers is not dictated by previous employment or academic achievement.  It’s built through having a great culture of acceptance and collaboration.

Identifying these people is down to having the right people in the hiring process.  Those that understand the company vision and the teams that are currently working there.  Hiring managers must be empowered to say who they hire and not be constrained by senior managements “experience”.  Trust in those that a company has hired to build a team must be given, if not then the joy of a hire is always overshadowed by the dreaded sign off.

The job market is starting to come around to the fact that being honest is not the terrifying prospect that it might first seem. Allowing candidates to make an informed choice about the employment they take, in the end, can only lead to higher levels of staff retention and happiness.  Happy employees, on the whole, are more productive leading to better products and services.  The end result is a business that has a consistent perception from both the inside and out.  Employees become brand ambassadors and growth follows.

Being comfortable in your own skin is a great trait in people and the same is true in business. Fame is not an indication of how good you are as a business or an individual.  Personal satisfaction and colleague recognition counts far more in an employees hierarchy of needs, which is why culture and a focus on the people who make it should be a priority for any business.