What’s it really like to work here?
Picture the scene, you’re coming to the end of an interview and you ask the applicant if they have any questions for you and here it comes…
“What’s it really like to work here? What’s the culture like?”
What do you say?
Do you know the answer to that question? How do you describe a culture anyway?
I remember someone saying to me once that there’s cult in culture…it made me smile. It’s the reason that everyone is here. The banding together to get the job done and work towards a common goal; the feeling that you get when you walk into work; and the personalities of the people that make up the teams.Culture is the very DNA that runs through the heart of the business.
This is not necessarily something that you can always put your finger on, and it’s not always something that is easily defined. It is something that has been created over time, and with effort from each person that has worked there as they have bought into the way of working; vision; values and behaviours.
So how do you know what it’s really like to work in your company? Yes, you know from your own perspective, but does everyone feel the same? Does everyone have the same experience?
And how do you find out?
1. Ask people
If possible rather than rely on an engagement survey hold focus groups or ask individuals as you walk around. Find out how they would describe the culture and how they would answer the question.
2. Take another look at your values
Do they really reflect how you want people to behave? Do they describe what’s important to the business, and has everyone bought into them? If they are just words on a wall have a bit of a refresh to see if they’re still relevant to everyone.
3. Get back to the floor
Spend some time getting back to the floor and working in different departments. Find out what it’s really like to work there, and do different jobs. See what the team work is like; the camaraderie and what it feels like to be there.
4. Ask trusted visitors
You may have people who aren’t based in your office who just pop in from time to time. They will have a completely different perspective to everyone who is based there. Ask them how it feels when they come over. Do they enjoy it? Are they made to feel welcome? How would they describe the culture?
Your culture is an important element of your business. It is the ‘what it’s like to work around here’. Something that is extremely important to individuals looking for their next position. A place that matches their own values, that they can buy into and really believe in the direction and purpose of the business. It is for this reason that it’s so important that we don’t always leave culture to chance, but that we learn to understand it and create something that everyone there can be proud of.
Would love to hear your thoughts. Let me know by leaving a comment.