My business, Able Bridge Recruitment is all about treating the people in the same way that I would want to be treated if I were on the other side of things.  I remind myself regularly to think about this, especially if I am about to engage in a difficult or awkward conversation.  But as the company grows and more employees join, does the moral fabric of a business change, and become less important? 

Companies use the term “unique selling point” frequently when trying to differentiate themselves from their competitors.  I have frequently argued that the only unique selling point of one company to another is its employees, but maybe this is too simplistic.  It might be more realistic to say that people are gravitated towards likeminded and similar personalities – so it is possibly this that drives and promotes a company’s culture.

Over 20 years in the recruitment industry I would like to think that I have had the fortune (and misfortune), of working for a number of these companies.  The cultures within some of these companies has included pressurised sales, encouraged late night working and an ethos of fear more than praise and rewards.  On the other hand, there have been others where the environment would be considered as too far relaxed.

Recruiting within different industries has given me an insight into the cultures within different companies.  Whilst generalisations are often based on experience or perception, they are sometimes incorrect.   In the past I have recruited for a charity where many have perceived the organisation to be ultra-professional and strait laced.  The reality is something very different.  Employees are actively encouraged to socialise and promote weekends away for team building and arguably promotes a culture of blurring the line between personal and professional life.

Similarly, I have recruited for companies where the opposite has been the case.  Take the telecommunications/software sector.  Often the perception is that a relaxed, easy come easy go culture is promoted.  The rationale is that the creative teams are given the ability to be creative and this filters through to the widder business.  There are some however that are the exact opposite and creativity is deliberately constricted to ensure that a product is not altered and enhanced but consistent. 

The point being that neither one is right or wrong and will not be easier to recruit and retain staff than the other.  More a case that different people will be suited to the different environments.

Ultimately, the culture of an organisation is what will potentially lead to an individual joining or leaving a business.  This in turn has an impact on the success of any business. A reliable, dependable, and engaged employee base will increase productivity, sales and ultimately growth.  The culture or moral fabric of a business may seem like an intangible and holistic aspect; however, it is a vital one. 

To create and maintain the culture of a business comes down to having a clear sense of how you want to be perceived in your market.  Living the core values on a day-to-day basis is essential and must be led from the top down.  Similarly, when hiring, looking at a candidate’s technical competency is important, but so too is the character and personality of an individual and what their values equate to.  The culture of a business obviously evolves and evolves with changes, however having a clear and defined culture drives success on multiple levels.  When we look at the potential changes in working patterns over the next few months with a blend of remote and office working, now has never been a better time to look at the culture of your business and if you are looking for a new job, what the culture of your new employer may look like.

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