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Why Employers Need to Define Their Organizational Climate and Culture

Some companies have their culture clearly stated and branded throughout their office, social media presence, and printed material. Some companies have a hard time expressing their culture into words and rely on the good ole standby: "We are family-friendly, and our employees are our greatest asset."


Organizational Climate and Culture: Did They Happen by Accident?

Organizational climate and culture sometimes are created without thought or strategy — they just happen. Then leaders look deeper at their culture and realize it isn’t what they wanted or intended. Unflattering comments may appear on Glassdoor. Exit interviews reveal startling trends.

It takes time (sometimes years), deliberate thought, and key strategies to change company culture. And every company says it has a great climate and culture, but when an applicant asks for more details about what that culture is exactly, leaders often are stumbling and not specific.

Feeling self-conscious about your own company culture? You're not alone. And there are many organizations that are working to put a finger on just what makes them unique.

Some employers encourage their people to fill out culture surveys. Some employers enter “Best Place to Work” contests. But culture is more than that.

Finding Alignment Between Employees and Employers

If employees are our greatest asset, how are we investing in them? Companies that easily can quantify and describe their culture in ways that are tangible are able to articulate to job seekers what they could be part of. This also assists in the employee referral process and in having a companywide language to share what makes you great.

A recent webinar on culture got me thinking about how the interview process should be re-worked from the traditional questions to starting with assessing a culture fit. Most hiring managers and HR pros focus too much on the candidate’s skills and knowledge and whether they can do the job.

At a foundational level, we should be in search of a culture fit. New hires won’t stay long where they feel they don’t fit. The desires and values of a job candidate and the culture of a company need to be in alignment for long-term happiness. Sounds a lot like a marriage.

Start with These Interview Questions

To discover your cultural compatibility with a would-be hire, include these questions in an interview:

  • What type of work environment/culture do you work best in?
  • What do you like best about your current employer’s culture?
  • Describe the traits of the individual who had the greatest impact on your career so far.
  • How would your current co-workers describe your work style?

These simple questions will yield volumes of information about how an employee-employer relationship will pan out. Over to you: Describe your culture in comments! How do you discover talent who would thrive in your organizational climate and culture?

[Download the Whitepaper] Managing People Risk: The Human Side of the Equation
Topics: Construction Transportation Manufacturing HR / Employee Benefits