by Sarah Kent, Human Resources Generalist & Katie Sens, Human Resources Director / Howco Inc.
Enter “work culture” into your favorite search engine, and you will find varying but similar definitions and descriptions.
Work culture comprises the core attitudes, beliefs, values, behaviors, visions, and assumptions that people in a workplace share. This can be influenced by individual upbringing and work ethic, in addition to social and cultural contexts. It is also shaped by the company seeking to create and sustain its own culture.
Values that are commonly used to define culture within a company include:
Workplace culture is most successful when it’s designed by a team from within the company. The chosen values speak to the team and provide a shared vision to achieve success. These core values and the mutual vision must be communicated consistently to all candidates and current team members.
Astute candidates hoping to work for a company will research the organization via its website, social media accounts, review sites, forums, and other online sources, as well as through personal “word-of-mouth” insights, to learn more about the potential employer and its culture. It is vital that companies showcase their culture through these various avenues so that prospective employees can learn about their potential employer, both vetting the company and pre-qualifying themselves before applying for a job.
Employees are the heart of most companies and their cultures, and having a like-minded team working as one can lead to success for both parties. To achieve that, the culture must come from the top and filter through all levels of employees. This effort begins with the interview process. Hiring for culture means evaluating not just an applicant’s experience and skills but also their potential fit with the company’s purpose, vision, and values.
To this end, authenticity and transparency during interviews is paramount to setting the stage for successful recruiting, hiring, onboarding, and retention. The interview is the introduction at which the company sets authentic expectations for the job and team and clarifies its mission and standards. The interview also allows the interviewee to confirm and define their ability to meet these expectations and ultimately add to the company’s culture in a positive way. The last thing you want is an interviewer and interviewee saying only what each thinks the other wants to hear. The interview process needs to be a two-way conversation that focuses on discovering and exploring the candidate’s skill set and their workplace culture compatibility.
Creating Your Culture
A dynamic and positive work culture is beneficial for both a company and its employees. It’s the glue that bonds employees, ensuring that together they reach a shared vision for success. It also acts as a magnet to attract the best prospective talent and ensure the company’s success and longevity.
For operators new to the industry who don’t have an established company culture, begin with a written outline or blueprint of your vision. Develop a purposeful hiring process, one that is documented, promotes fair and diverse hiring practices, and aligns applicant expectations with company leadership’s purpose, mission, and values.
It's imperative that the values leaders select for their company culture be modeled by all levels of management. Practice what you preach to ensure an inviting workplace and successful business.
Following these guidelines can help your employees understand and share the vision of your company:
- Create excitement and positive energy toward a shared vision of the future.
- Help employees realize the growth potential for the company, the team, and themselves.
- Provide meaningful feedback and set clear expectations.
- Lead by example and model desired behaviors every day.
- Vocalize the culture and values you want others to embrace.
- Recognize and reward employees who contribute to a positive workplace culture.