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What’s your Culture?

We hear this word a lot, Culture, and hear about its importance. Everyone talks about the culture of their brand. We put a lot of time and effort into creating the right culture and we go to great lengths during the interview process to assess each individual against our company culture. But what is Culture really and how important is it?

When speaking to candidates about their career search that word usually comes up every time in answer to the question – ‘What are you looking for next?’ The answer tends to go something like this – ‘I’m looking for X challenge and Y development’ and the culture of the company has to be right’.

We are all unique individuals, so Culture means something different to each person. We cannot use that word and know immediately exactly what it means to that person. It is therefore essential that we are able to describe our culture, explain it so that it is understood, and an individual will generally know instinctively whether the description of a culture is suited to them.

Our company culture comes to life through our brands values. If our values say one thing and the reality of our culture is something else, then we may find ourselves struggling to retain our employees. When a culture becomes damaged or changes over time due to leadership changes or organisational changes that have needed to occur, we are going to find our employees saying things like ‘It isn’t the same company as the one I joined’ or ‘the culture is different, and I want to go somewhere that is similar to how it used to be here’.

Your company culture can be both part of the reason why your employees decided to leave your business and part of the reason why they decided to join your business in the first place. That’s how important it is – it attracts talent in, but it can also push talent out the door. In other words, Culture matters. There is no point in having the best product or service in your field if no body wants to work with you. You can pay the best salary, provide the highest level of bonuses, pension schemes and other benefits but this will only get you the best talent for a period of time. I could list several businesses that have had some of the best people in the industry working for them but their employee journey there is short lived because they just ‘couldn’t take the culture anymore.’ These firms are sadly joined only for either the kudos of the brand on the CV or the high income/bonuses on offer. Candidates will say things like ‘If I can just stick it out for a year or two.’ What a terrible legacy to have as a business. Knowing that your employees feel this way and actively take the decision to ‘put up’ with the culture in order to earn the salary level or bonuses for a period of time until the financial aspect of their aspirations isn’t the primary driver anymore.

As the right culture is relative to the individual there isn’t a right or wrong culture to create for your business but knowing that this intangible asset is a key driving force in your employees either joining or leaving your business means it is something we have to nurture. Through every organisational change, transformation, leadership level hire we make moving forwards, the culture of your brand is key to retaining and attracting the right people for your business.