Hiring to Enhance Culture, Not Preserve It
Is yours a toxic workplace? If so, candidates are talking. How to research, assess, and, if necessary, repair company culture.
“I don’t give a damn about my reputation,” sang Joan Jett in 1980. While such an attitude may be helpful in rock & roll, it’s certainly not beneficial to companies looking to recruit top talent in a tight labour market. ‘Company culture’ is more than a buzz term, it’s a critical deciding factor that the most sought after candidates use when choosing a landing spot.
Goldbeck has interacted with countless candidates over the years and can definitively say that negative reviews from current and former employees will cause them to seriously question whether or not they want to apply.
The bad news? Your reputation can’t be faked. The good? It can be managed.
What should you do if yours needs a boost? Let’s break it down.
What Does Glassdoor Say About You?
Your future potential employees are on Glassdoor, as are your former and current ones, which makes it a great place to start. The popular online platform allows employees to leave anonymous reviews which can, and will, be read by potential recruits.
These reviews cover various aspects of company culture that are of interest to workers. Have past or current employees felt mistreated or abused while working for your company? Are your values and mission well defined? Is your workplace inclusive and diverse? Are communications solid and expectations clear? Are employees empowered or micromanaged? What about teamwork, leadership, and work-life balance?
These questions cut deep to the heart of an organization’s DNA. If you’re found lacking there are no quick fixes. The results may surprise you. Then again, they may not.
Managing Your Reputation Online
The best way to gain a reputation for good company culture is to actually establish one! Of course, everybody’s already working on that.
In the short term, though, there are a few things that can be done to boost your rep on Glassdoor and other online platforms.
Engage with Reviews and Respond Constructively: Ignoring bad reviews will not make them go away. Address specific concerns with a professional and constructive tone. Share any steps the company is taking to address the issue. If possible, move conflict offline, away from the looky-loos. Avoid mudslinging! Nobody wins when you engage in online brawling.
Highlight Positive Aspects: It’s always a good idea to accentuate your successes. What is your company doing right? Positive reviews should be acknowledged and celebrated.
Encourage Employee Advocacy: Remind your satisfied employees to share their thoughts online. Just make sure it’s authentic. If you bully your staff to descend upon forums en masse with glowing reviews, the stench will wrinkle noses from miles away. You’ll fool no one and wind up looking desperate.
Monitor and Implement Feedback: Think of Glassdoor and other platforms as free focus groups. Some reviews may be unfair, but large trends should not be ignored. Take the time to review the good, the bad, and the ugly. You’ll be stronger for it.
The Importance of Transparency with Candidates
The notion of ‘good’ or ‘bad’ company culture is oversimplified. The reality is that different people thrive in different environments, which is why it’s important to be transparent with candidates.
What speed does your company move at? Is the tone “laid back” or “exciting and robust”? What are the true expectations new employees will face?
Candidates are advised to ask questions of their potential employers, just as employers are best served by offering transparent information. When a company fudges the reality of the job, the likely result will be a dissatisfied employee. They may leave in short order, sending you back to the drawing board, a true lose-lose situation.
When clients hire a Goldbeck Recruiting candidate, we guarantee that they’ll be employed for at least six months. Otherwise, we’ll find their replacement for free. This is why we strive to make partnerships that will truly work for both parties.
Does Your Recruiter Provide Honest Feedback?
Part of Goldbeck Recruiting’s value proposition is providing real time feedback to our clients, helping them understand the labour market and their position within it. This includes candidate availability and salary expectations, but also covers attitudes toward the company. If candidates repeat common themes, either positive or negative, we’ll inform the hiring company, readjusting our game plan as necessary. Information, whether good or bad, is always better than ignorance.
Improving Company Culture
Is your company culture good or bad? The question is best asked in a less binary fashion. In reality, all organizations have aspects of company culture that are working and others that can be improved.
The first step toward better company culture is honest self-assessment. As we mentioned, online feedback can help in this regard, as can honest one-on-one conversations with current employees and other stakeholders.
Once areas of improvement are identified, it’s time to set goals that are specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, and time-bound (SMART). Track and communicate your progress as it’s made. If necessary, consider hiring a reputation management consultant that can help you improve your online reputation.
Companies are as complicated as individuals are; making it work is no easy task. No company enjoys the endorsement of all their current employees, let alone their former ones. Reviews can be arbitrary or downright unfair.
Companies should, however, be open to acknowledging feedback trends. Addressing weaknesses is the only way to improve. Those who ignore their cultural shortcomings are doomed to repeat past mistakes, placing themselves at a competitive disadvantage in the hiring market.