A Leading Perspective

Pragmatic insights for the leader in you

Culture Shock

Ever heard the phrase, “Pay now or pay later…either way you’ll pay”?

As an HR Professional, this saying comes into play for numerous things.  Whether it be for investing resources in your staff’s development, creating and maintaining adequate documentation regarding performance, or, in the case of this post, investing in the recruitment and selection process.


Pay now or pay later…either way you’ll pay.


I believe corporations need to spend some time ensuring their recruitment strategies align with their corporate culture and, likewise, ensure their selection processes are consistent with their culture.  I believe this results in a high probability of the selected candidate fitting into their culture.


If you are a Recruiter, HR professional, Supervisor or Leader who simply wants to fill the vacancy as quickly as easily as possible, there is no need to read more of this post.  Good luck to you!


However, if you want to find someone and have that employee stick, read on.


Corporate Culture can be described as the “norms” shared by employees in an organization that control the way they interact with each other, with other stakeholders and with customers.


I believe corporate culture is made up of the following:


Vision & Mission

Where your organization is going and how it plans to get there are important to the majority of people who live and work on this planet.  Take the time to educate yourself in these subjects and make sure you are communicating them to your candidates.  Better yet, have your candidates tell you why and how they believe they “fit” within your plans.


Organizational Values

The principles your organization holds itself to will speak volumes to potential candidates. Likewise, candidate values and behaviors should speak volumes to you.  If you see behaviors that are at odds with your corporate values, it’s a good chance the individual will have a hard time fitting in.


Work Environment

Work environment can include things like dress code, office spaces, group/staff spaces, etc.  It could also include things like ability to telecommute, group thinking sessions, meeting protocols, etc.  Whenever possible, walk the candidate around, allow him/her to talk with staff during the screening process, encourage questions about the work environment so there are no surprises (and misfits) later.


Leadership Style

Leadership styles are a critical part of an organization’s culture and sub-cultures.  Consider what types of leadership styles are being utilized most of the time.  Don’t make it difficult; generalize into the basic three: autocratic, democratic and laissez faire.  Engage with the candidate about these issues.  Tell stories, offer examples, etc.  Trust me, if you throw a perfectly capable and competent person into a team where the leader is predominantly autocratic, you’ll be re-recruiting within six months.


Organizational Structure

Organizational structure is how your departments, programs or offices are organized, what type of power/authority is delegated to them, etc.  This has a huge impact on corporate culture as it strongly affects communication, efficiencies, effectiveness and sanity.  Engaging with candidates about their comfort level with autonomy, or lack thereof or talking with them about what they see as the pros/cons of your structure may give you some insight into how they will fit into the “lines” and how they will manage to work “in the white space.”  (More on managing the lines and the white space in a future post)


Personal Qualities of Workforce

The qualities of the current workforce play a big part in the culture because they are the ones living and breathing it. I didn’t use the word “personalities” but to be honest, personalities are a part of this.  Is the staff a group of high performers or entitlement whiners?  Are they competitive or complacent?  Are they welcoming or do they live in their cliques?  Are they social butterflies or hermits?  These are the realities of the workforce and your new hire will need to compliment them, not work against them.


In summary, corporate culture isn’t something the CEO defines and gets “blessed” and implemented.  It is the norm that is created over time by leadership and the workforce.

Culture shock is a waste of time for everyone involved!



I suggest you invest your resources to recruit and select a good cultural fit now. 




I can assure you that if you don’t, you’ll pay later.



Corporate CultureEmployee EngagementEmployee RelationsHuman ResourcesLeadershipOrganizational CultureTeamworkWorkforce Satisfaction

Heather Kinzie • July 7, 2012

Previous Post

Next Post

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published / Required fields are marked *

WordPress spam blocked by CleanTalk.