How to paint an honest picture of your workplace culture

Human Resources  

Communicating what it’s like to work at your organisation throughout your recruitment process is key to finding talent who will excel within your business.

Having recently been ‘on the market’ as a candidate looking for my next career move, I know how important it is personally to gauge the real and aspirational culture of prospective employers - the ways of working, management structures, team dynamics and overall work environment.

Recent research by the Robert Walters Group says 90% of employers in the UK say it is very important to find candidates that are a good cultural fit - yet 73% of professionals have left a job because of poor cultural fit. This means candidates are being sold the dream and then leaving once they experience the reality.

Here are four ways employers can promote the strengths of their company culture while ensuring candidates are getting an honest picture of the realities:

  • Be upfront about fierce demands
    Two thirds of professionals feel they have been misled about company culture during the recruitment process. If your business fosters a strong spirit of competition and specific work patterns or demanding periods, candidates who thrive in such environments are more likely to be successful and to stay longer. Let the candidates decide for themselves if the risk is worth the reward. Set up some time for the candidate to talk to an employee on the team or someone who started in the same role and who has since moved up the ranks.
  • Communicate cultural goals and aspirations
    Acknowledge what parts of the workplace culture you are making strides to improve. Are you in the infancy of rolling out flexible working arrangements? Are you working towards having a more gender balanced leadership team? Have you begun partnering with a local charity?  By communicating your cultural aspirations with your candidates, you can open the door to finding people who are passionate about helping you achieve your goals.
  • Respond to reviews
    As review sites such as Glassdoor gain popularity, candidates will research the culture of an organisation before accepting an offer and, in some cases, before they even apply. Employers who respond to every criticism in a constructive and sincere way demonstrate that the culture of their organisation is a priority.
  • Shed light on workplace sub-cultures
    Communicate regional and departmental cultural nuances in addition to company-wide cultural values. Working in the back office isn’t the same as being on the front lines. Similarly, what contractors and permanent staff experience may differ greatly. LinkedIn reported 27% of contractors globally leave a job because of poor cultural fit. With non-permanent employment and the Gig Economy
     on the rise, leaving a role is now easier than ever.

Employers can easily match counter-offers when it comes to salary but matching your company’s culture to top candidates’ workplace ideals is far from simple. Top talent will have multiple offers on the table, and being as honest about your company culture will help you find staff who are a good cultural fit - improving productivity and retention while yielding benefits for the business. 

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