Culture – What Does it Mean to You?

In today’s recruitment world many businesses feel it essential that new hires fit the “culture” of their organisation. This blog will look at some key elements of culture and what it means to employees and the business as a whole.

workplace culture

Gary Vaynerchuk published a vlog on LinkedIn recently that resonated with so much of what we hear about culture and its importance to business success. On the face of it, his poignant narrative, passion and content make such perfect, business savvy sense, why wouldn’t every business take heed of his advice?  

LinkedIn, is the business buddy of everyone working in the recruitment industry. I read a lot of posts on LinkedIn, some good, some not so good, some more Facebook appropriate than for a serious business platform. However, a vlog that I viewed by Gary Vaynerchuk, Chairman, CEO and author was so powerful and really hit a cord with me (seemingly it did with the other 77,576 likes as well!). Essentially his message is that the culture of your business, combined with a lack of politics and high levels of emotional intelligence, are the absolute key to success.

So, with this mind, why do so many companies ignore behaviour that perhaps isn’t entirely palatable to the majority of the business because one particular employee is deemed “invaluable”? And why do companies insist on “one-size-fits-all” motivators?

Working in this industry for over 20 years I have seen many examples of both good and frankly terrible behaviour. The 1990s were certainly still a work-hard, play-hard era. To be honest, as long as you were successful (bringing in the cash), then you could almost behave as you wished.

Naturally as times changed, so did HR policy (phew!) and the expectations of what is acceptable behaviour and what isn’t has evolved. But this doesn’t necessarily mean that ‘old school’ cultures have been completely stamped out, on the contrary.

Sometimes, of course it is easier to ignore bad behaviour or, if that individual makes your job easier, to turn a blind eye in the hope that it won’t have an impact. Whilst this may be the case in some instances, I have witnessed earlier on in my career how one individual’s bad behaviour, ignored by their leadership team literally decimated a team and caused both commercial damage to the business and emotional damage to colleagues.

So, what can we do? Every employee has an obligation, not only to themselves but to the wider business, to be their best self. Of course, this doesn’t mean hiding your own, unique (perhaps idiosyncratic) personality traits. This doesn’t mean you have to be a constant ray of sunshine either. It does mean being respectful and kind and offering something to your team and the wider business. Clearly, you also need to be good at your job!

This brings me onto the equally valid points Gary makes about what businesses can do to incentivise and drive culture. As a parent, working full-time, it’s safe to say my motivators for succeeding my role are very different than when I joined the industry in 1998!  Businesses should do more to see employees as individuals and to offer them tailored incentives and a working environment that genuinely feels inclusive.  

By stamping out detrimental culture and implementing alternative and individual plans for employees will naturally create more work. Sometimes the sheer size of a company may hinder these levels of creativity and in reality, make it difficult to achieve. How can we think laterally and make this really happen?

I welcome your thoughts…

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