Learn to Leverage Your Culture for Better Recruiting

Understanding your organization’s culture can provide distinct advantages in recruiting and developing your employment brand as well as improving retention and engagement among current employees. But rather than discuss formal or academic definitions of organizational culture, let’s uncover how you can leverage your culture for better recruiting. I’d like to share with you a cultural framework that feeds into the process for thinking about and evaluating organizational culture.

We have developed the following model that both guides the nuances of culture and informs the process of discovering your own culture. This model combines three overlapping concepts: rational facts, emotional truths and the personality of an organization to reveal cultural essence—or as we call it, the employee value proposition (EVP).

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The Rational Facts

The Rational Facts are easily discoverable bits of information that help identify the basics of an employee value proposition. How do salaries compare? What is the value of the benefits? How profitable and stable is the company? Is the company highly structured and hierarchical, or flat and collaborative? The basic facts are often the first step in the research process, but candidate surveys have proven time and again that the culture and other intangibles are the deciding factor.

The Emotional Truths

The heavy lifting occurs in the Emotional Truths portion. In this phase, our trained research consultants identify and talk to employees. We complete one-on-one interviews with leaders and focus groups with line-level employees. The point of these conversations is to elicit the deeper meanings and the learnings that have subconsciously changed and influenced employee behaviors over time. These unspoken codes are every bit as important to fitting in and succeeding as who you choose for a mentor or which projects you prioritize.

The Organization’s Personality

Just like all of us, organizations have personalities. Some deeply feel an instant connection to an organization and others struggle to understand it. The personality tells the story of an organization and incorporates the characters shaping the company. For example, you might have a truly heroic culture that’s complemented with a sharp sense of humor or an extreme need of independence and autonomy.

In recruiting, it is these deeper truths that candidates want to weigh when determining where they want to work. An organization’s culture is often as important as what is listed in the offer letter.

How to leverage your organization’s culture

The magic to uncovering your organization’s authentic culture involves collecting and evaluating employee data from important and representative samples of your organization. The data is a great starting point to building a solid employee value proposition that can be the cornerstone for your organizational messaging, whether external recruitment campaigns or internal change management programs. Some efforts will lead to immediate results, while others will take time and effort. But remember, uncovering your culture can provide your organization with a competitive advantage in recruiting that makes a lasting impact on your business.