In the past, culture change has often been delegated to HR departments. In many instances, it was simply a tick-box on a long list of to-dos. These days, organisational culture is less about free snacks in the break room, and more about the glue that binds your strategy and people.
Covid has fundamentally shifted the way leaders and employees interact. With the threat of restrictions and lockdowns a new constant, it’s more important than ever to remain flexible and agile. That can’t be done with a top-down approach.
Then there’s technology. It’s never been easier to critique a workplace. You can be sure when hiring new talent, that your candidates will do their research, which means building and maintaining a positive workplace culture is critical.
Recent high-profile culture crises, involving some of the world’s (seemingly) leading organisations, show how easy it is for culture to make or break your bottom line.
There are countless definitions of organisational culture. ln essence, it’s how your company chooses to go about its business – almost like an unspoken code of conduct that informs the way people make decisions or interact with each other.
There are also many different viewpoints on who defines organisational culture. According to one study, 40% of millennials say employees define culture, 26% of managers say the executive team does, and 33% of HR professionals say it’s their job. But here’s where they’re all wrong:
Don’t get us wrong, HR teams play a very important role in enabling a business to facilitate culture change. As Trudie Harriman, Chief People Officer at Cravable Brands says, “We need to be a conduit that tells the story of our people’s experience, as well as a custodian of the levers that can help drive an improved culture.” HR provides the appropriate tools, systems and processes, but there are some parts of the organisation they simply have no control over.
If HR departments take the leading role, the business may take less ownership and responsibility for the change, palming it off as someone else’s job or just another administrative task. The job of leadership and senior management is not to hand company culture down from on high, but rather to prioritise it and allocate necessary resources.
The benefit of collective responsibility is that it frees up resources to focus on other areas. In HR’s case, it means they can have a greater positive impact elsewhere.
Research found that corporate culture accounts for 40% of the difference between high and low-performing companies when it comes to revenue growth, profitability, customer loyalty and employee engagement. That’s huge.
It would be safe to assume then, that if everyone plays their part, this will have the greatest impact on creating higher levels of performance – right?
So, where do recruiters fit in the company-culture puzzle? It’s all about the candidate experience.
These days, candidates aren’t just interested in what a company can offer - they also care about what you stand for – which means company culture has become a key factor in attracting new talent.
It’s critical, especially in high-volume recruitment, that you deeply understand the culture of your organisation and align your recruitment teams and systems - (Weirdly can do this in lots of ways.) You can use culture as a to create your long lists; that way, you can be sure you’re attracting and hiring candidates that have the same values-fit – and ultimately, will help the company grow.
Organisational culture has always been a little fuzzy around the edges, but dig deep and you’ll find that it manifests in every part of a business. It makes sense then, that when a company wants to change its culture, it should be a shared responsibility. Different people and functions within the organisation play different roles in developing and maintaining the culture. For recruiters, that space is building an unforgettable candidate experience – for both successful and non-successful applicants.