What is Corporate Culture?
According to Ellen Wallach, “Organization culture is like pornography; it is hard to define, but you know it when you see it.”
How many times have you seen clients with the perfect job having
the whole experience turn sour because of corporate culture and
internal politics? It is our responsibility to help our clients
appraise the corporate culture as much as the job description,
salary and benefits, acknowledging that understanding the culture of an organization before working there is a challenge, teach them these tips for uncovering it.
Encourage clients to keep the corporate culture in mind while
networking and interviewing. Listening for informal comments and
being very observant may prevent taking a job in a toxic environment. Clients should try to assess support for professional growth, rate of turnover, leadership styles, employee morale, style of dress, length of the work day, support for life work balance, and the ease and frequency of internal communication.
Besides looking and listening to clues, clients should also
look at the public relations material and the company’s web site.
Does the information seem forthright or withholding? Are people
in the organization featured? Are the values and goals espoused
by the organization ones that they can support? Encourage clients
to trust their impressions.
Asking for a tour of the facility including the cafeteria and
staff room can be worth more than information on the web site
or public relations materials. If they get one message from the
physical environment while being told something very different,
they should take notice.
As you know so well, corporate culture should not be confused
with the the corporate mission. But your clients may not know
that working for a non-profit will NOT insure working with nice
people, a kind atmosphere, fair reviews and less emphasis on the
bottom line. Encourage them to check out the philosophy and leadership
style of the CEO. They will be much better indications of corporate
culture than the mission of the company. Ask clients to find out
everything they can about the CEO. Show them how to conduct an
internet search for articles about her. Have them ask for a press
kit which usually contains biographical material . The CEO’s beliefs
and values will permeate the organization.
Finding the right organizational culture is very important
to your clients’ futures. Their progress in an organization will
depend a great deal on their compatibility with it. They will
be rewarded for “fitting in” as much as for what they do.
Ask clients to write their impressions in the following after each interview.
Impressions of Corporate Culture
|Rate of Turnover|
|Length of day|
|Values of Organization|
|Value for Employees|
|Reputation of CEO|
We ask clients to assess tangible information throughout their
assessment, research and implementation of a job search so that
they can be in charge of their compromises. Corporate culture
mush be considered. Recently a client of mine passed up a much
higher salary, a much more prestigious company and a position
with more responsibility because of the corporate climate. His
choice included a good salary, a position with lots of promise,
a respected company and most of all a philosophy of life work
balance that would allow him to be an equal partner with his wife
in the raising of their new born baby girl. Corporate culture
really counted when he considered his compromises.
For fun and some sound advice, suggest that your clients read
“Your Stay or Leave Equation” and “Birkenstocks or White Shirts–Which is Right for You? by David Jensen at http://bio.com/hr/search/search_1.html