Recently I’ve been involved in hiring for a couple different companies. It was vital that we share the culture of each office with the potential employees so we could get the right fit and have people feel comfortable. Â In each case, someone had concerns about it thinking the company might not “look good”. Â But after discussions about why the company did what they did, it became clear they didn’t want to change so we had to find people that would “get” it.
I worked with a company once where everyone swore – a lot. That wasn’t going to change. So in the interview process with new hires, I put it on the table. I let people know up front so they could decide if they could handle that environment. Â And some people took themselves out of the running as they felt the company wasn’t professional enough. Â I can assure you not only was this company very professional with their clients, but they were extremely supportive of their employees and the swearing was because they felt it important to express your feelings strongly – good or bad – so you didn’t take them home with you. Â It worked for them.
Another company I came across had a project management philosophy that you didn’t take anything in for funding until every detail was worked out and the team was on board. Â For me as the consultant, that sounded like my worst nightmare. I like to come up with ideas and discuss their viability first getting the details later. But for this group it worked because the owner hated to say no so instead, projects were stopped long before they got to him because the rest of the team wouldn’t get on board. And the engineers we placed there LOVED it. Never again did they do a bunch of work only to have really good ideas shot down at the eleventh hour.
More recently I worked with a company where a person truly has to be self-managing. Â It isn’t that the others in the office don’t want to manage – it is a work load thing. There is so much to do and so many variations in schedule, a person can’t expect someone to tell them what to do. They have to figure it out. The hiring manager was concerned that would sound cold and seem like teamwork wasn’t possible. But the reality is their teams are extremely strong as they often have to start a project and then hand it off without much interaction. Â They have to be able to communicate effectively through multiple channels and keep everyone in the loop.
Each of these environments could be seen as terrible places to work if you were the wrong person, and absolutely fabulous for the right person. Â But regardless, it is vital to communicate the cultures to potential employees. Â So start by identifying what your culture is. Â Next, decide if you like that or want to change it. Â And then – SHARE. Â What cultures have you encountered that could have been awful but turned out great for you?