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Company culture

Company culture can be described as “patterns of accepted behavior [within a company] and the beliefs and values that promote and reinforce them.” Hiring those who are a good fit with your company and its culture is important for a number of reasons. First, poor cultural fit is a top reason for disengagement at work. And, turnover due to poor cultural fit costs organizations upwards of 50 percent to 60 percent of a lost employee’s annual salary.

Employee retention isn’t the only reason culture is important. A recent survey of those about to enter the workforce shows they’d accept 7 percent less pay to work for a company that shared their values. Other advantages of fostering a positive workplace culture include:

  • Reduced friction among employees
  • Decreased recruiting costs
  • More knowledge-sharing among employees
  • Reduced injuries and illness

Cultural interview questions

Of course, assessing for a cultural fit begins with the interview. Experts recommend asking open-ended, behavior-based questions. For instance, “Describe how you handled a difficult situation?” Or, “Tell me about a time you needed to be flexible?” Other questions more directly related to culture include:

  • What type of culture do you thrive in?
  • Describe your ideal workplace.
  • What about our organization’s culture attracted you to this position?
  • Tell me about a time when you felt you were not a good cultural fit in an organization.

Develop a culture handbook

It’s not enough to merely talk about culture during the interview. You must ensure new hires and veteran staffers alike live, eat and breathe your culture. One way to reinforce this is by incorporating culture into your employee handbook. Better yet, develop a separate culture handbook. Use these tips to make it one worth reading:

  • Don’t call it a handbook: Jazz up your title so employees actually want to read it. Think “Team Guide” or “Our How-to Book.”
  • State your purpose: Lay the foundation and engage your employees right away by starting the handbook with your organization’s mission and values.
  • Personalize your policies: Explain each policy’s purpose in the voice of your company.
  • Promote your perks: Give shout-out to your perks early on—this tells employees what to expect and how your company will invest in them.
  • Present with pizazz: Make your document attractive and provide incentives for people to read it. Create a fun quiz and hand out prizes for correct answers. Screen cleaner/phone stand combos, stylus pens or pen and notebook sets make nice prizes.

If you do your handbook right, it can be your best recruitment tool. Take it to all your recruitment events. Store printed copies in a professional-looking presentation folder and save digital copies on a USB drive.

Remember, there’s more to company culture than employee retention. It can make or break your employees’ health, happiness and devotion to your company—and its bottom line. For more on company culture, check out our Blue Paper.

Andersen, Erika. “Is ‘Cultural Fit’ Just a New Way to Discriminate?” Forbes. Forbes Magazine, 17 Mar. 2015. Web. Retrieved 12 Oct. 2015.

Florentine, Sharon. “Hire for Cultural Fit, Train for the Right IT Skills.” CIO. CXO Media, Inc., 02 Apr. 2014. Web. Retrieved 12 Oct. 2015.

Bouton, Katie. “Recruiting for Cultural Fit.” Harvard Business Review. Harvard Business School Publishing, 17 July 2015. Web. Retrieved 12 Oct. 2015.

Hunt, Steven, PhD. “Culture-Based Recruiting: Hire for the Organization, Not Just the Job.” Monster Hiring Resource Center. N.p., n.d. Web. Retrieved 12 Oct. 2015.

“Company Culture L 4imprint Learning Center.” 4imprint Learning Center. N.p., 11 Jan. 2016. Web. Retrieved 08 Mar. 2016.

Christensen, Nathan. “How To Create An Employee Handbook People Will Actually Want To Read.” Fast Company. Fast Company & Inc., 11 Mar. 2015. Web. Retrieved 06 Oct. 2015.

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