Isabelle Wear, Director, Recruitment Consultant and Principal Coach at Interfacio delves into this topic ….

Through the pandemic, company culture has become a highly topical buzzword. What really is it though, and how important is it for recruitment, retention and workplace harmony?

On the face of it, when you think about what professionals look for when looking for a new role, you may immediately think of things such as salary and opportunity for advancement. However, recent studies have shown that 77% of people across the US, UK, France and Germany consider a company’s culture before applying for a position. More surprising is that 56% of workers in those countries actually place company culture above salary.

 So what exactly is company culture?

Investopedia defines corporate culture as:

Corporate culture refers to the beliefs and behaviours that determine how a company’s employees and management interact and handle outside business transactions. Often, corporate culture is implied, not expressly defined, and develops organically over time from the cumulative traits of the people the company hires.

A company’s culture will be reflected in its dress code, business hours, office setup, employee benefits, turnover, hiring decisions, treatment of clients, client satisfaction, and every other aspect of operations. 

  • Corporate culture refers to the beliefs and behaviours that determine how a company’s employees and management interact.
  • Corporate culture is also influenced by national cultures and traditions, economic trends, international trade, company size, and products.
  • Corporate cultures, whether shaped intentionally or grown organically, reach to the core of a company’s ideology and practice, and affect every aspect of a business

It generally starts with leadership and is filtered down through the company. From large global organisations to SMEs and small start-ups, culture is key – the personality of the organisation. At a basic level, If your company’s culture isn’t seen as tempting, then you risk losing out on the best candidates in the recruitment process.

At Interfacio, we are experts in our field, with our team all having a deep background in the global media, audio and entertainment technology market. We spend a lot of time getting to know our clients, their beliefs, their leadership and business styles and their specific company culture. This ensures we are able to match candidates to not only the specific role, but the company as a whole.

I look after the European market when it comes to recruitment, but I have also recently launched ‘inTeams’, a suite of bespoke performance coaching programs for the company. The Align, Elevate & Perform programs have been developed specifically to support both individuals and teams at key stages of their professional development. These programs allow professionals to self-evaluate, reflect and upskill to meet their career aspirations and enhance their performance. 

Going back to cultural fit, it is clear that professionals are putting company culture high on the agenda, when looking for a new role. A good cultural match between the candidate and company will hopefully lead to job satisfaction, improved performance and dedication from the new employee.

But, what about from the company perspective? Company culture is imperative to recruitment, and to attracting the top talent, but equally as important for retention.

Sourcing employees that are a perfect ‘fit’ to your company culture can not only improve productivity, but will also increase long term staff retention – providing compelling benefits for the company across the board.

At Interfacio we work hard to deeply understand the personality of both our clients and candidates, sourcing people not necessarily from the same industry, but always recommending those who are the best match for the company as well as the role.  

How to create and demonstrate a strong culture?

Company culture must be effectively communicated by the company through their website, literature and social media, and during the interview process so professionals can understand it before applying for / accepting positions. According to a white paper by The Robert Walter Group, 73% of professionals have left a job because of poor cultural fit, with 67% feeling they have been misled by company culture during their induction.

The importance of company culture must be recognised from the word go, developing clear values and policies initially, which must be constantly reviewed and adjusted as the company grows.  Though company culture is generally defined as starting with the leadership, all staff should feel able to contribute and share ideas, it must be identified who drives this.  Managers should reinforce the culture, HR use it to build the policies that flow through the company, and recruitment process and Marketing teams to ensure the messaging is correct. Companies must identify which aspects of company culture matter the most to potential new employees, and current employees should be encouraged to share their thoughts about the culture, to ensure everyone is singing from the same hymn sheet so to speak. 

Company reputation is so important for all stakeholders including employees, leadership teams or owners, and critically, customers. As a company develops and grows and this reputation evolves, the organisation must always be seen as a desirable place to work.

Matching the company and the candidate

Psychometric testing can be beneficial in assessing the candidate to match cultural fit, but is not widely used across the board, and in many cases solely used for the most senior positions. In recent years we have increasingly used psychometric and other individual or team based behaviour or personality profiling tools as part of the recruitment and selection process, and we see this as an increasingly useful step in the process. Another somewhat new initiative to enable candidates to really understand the company culture and vice versa is to allow professionals to spend some time with the team as part of the recruitment process. Many recruitment policies are firmly led by HR, not allowing candidates perhaps to really understand the personality of the department and individuals they will be working with.  As a mere basic, part of the interview process should allow candidates to ask about the company culture and time given to communicating this. 

Attracting new employees with the correct cultural fit is vital to your current employees as well, as poor fit could lead to conflict in a department, and even to long time employees resigning.

Once onboarded it is important this clarity is continued, for both new and long serving employees with clear expectations set about what is required for promotion and success. Communication on flexible working, and work life balance initiatives have never been as important as they are now – these must be clearly communicated to all and should again be led from top down. 

The team here at Interfacio were all long time industry professionals before entering the world of recruitment.  We understand what it is like to take on a new role, and we understand what it is like to re-shape a whole team because we have been there ourselves. We always work hard to identify and understand the character and traits a candidate must portray to be a good cultural fit for a role. This is important and can be easier done from a neutral position between the company and professionals. According to Robert Walters ‘Cultural Fit’ whitepaper, which takes a look at the role of workplace culture in recruiting top talent, more than half of employers (54%) do not take the opportunity to use recruitment agencies. This is likely to make it harder to effectively focus on cultural fit in the selection process as often some aspects of the prevailing culture may not be recognised or understood, or they may be assumed or taken for granted.

In practise, the majority of time spent at the start of all the search assignments we work on is used to understand the personal dynamics, team and business culture as opposed to defining the hard skills or technical aspects of a role. And if we look at our most successful and long term client relationships, at the heart of all of them is a willingness to discuss and understand the company and business culture and ensure it is at the centre of the entire search and selection process. In the end, culture is what makes a business and a company and it runs through its people as well as its brand. To ignore or overlook culture is to miss the fundamental point and purpose of recruitment in the first place.

For an informal chat about your recruitment requirements, or your career aspirations, do get in touch with us at + 44 208 986 5002 or [email protected].

Isabelle Wear, Director
Business Recruitment, Europe
t. +44 20 8986 5002
C. +44 7852878997
e. [email protected]