Cultivating Culture

November 1, 2013
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How do you build a company that people want to be a part of? Are the employers that end up on those Top 100 Great Places to Work lists the ones that provide lunch everyday, or are closed on every holiday or host a big retreat in Hawaii every year? Are they the ones doing that great new thing that no one else is doing yet? Well yeah, great companies sometimes do those things, but that’s not the mechanism that makes them great. Their people are.

Incredible people are the building blocks of incredible companies. Without them, without you, none of the perks matter. A progressive company’s number one goal has to be to recruit and retain fantastically talented people who fit well into not only the role they have been recruited for, but into the company’s culture; without that fit, you risk ending up with a box full of mismatched puzzle pieces, each with a piece of the picture on it, but not fitting together with the rest.

Culture fit interviews and team-vetting are good ways to get a feel for whether a particular candidate is up to snuff, after they have already made it through technical or functional interviews. It’s also a great way to help your candidate get a feel for the types of people that they will be working with and for, and it will help them make an informed decision when the offer is on the table.

Again, perks are not what makes a company great. So why bother? Perks and fringe benefits are tools that are designed with the intent of making those amazing people want to perform well and to stay with you for the duration.  In the eyes of the employee, they can be differentiators that set a company apart from its competitors. A strategic fringe benefits plan and set of employment policies can be a big draw and can encourage people to focus on results rather than just hours worked.

 So in the end, this is kind of the opposite of Field of Dreams. Don’t build the culture so that the right people will want to join it. Find the right people, and the culture is intrinsic.  Once you get it rolling, it’s its own entity; ever dynamic and evolving, fueled by the people it benefits.

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