Company Culture – More Than A Custom T-Shirt and Flip-Flops…

Jason Pankow Culture, Jason Pankow, Recruiting, Retention

Culture is a word you hear thrown around a lot.  Seems nowadays, everyone is talking about theirs.

But, what does it mean to the average candidate, and how can we, as recruiters, work it to our benefit?Culture

Barry Phegan explains company culture essentially as interests, values and attitudes shared by employees to help them “work together in harmony.”

But, to me, culture is more than that. It’s what, other than “a paycheck,” gets you up in the morning to go to work.  You may love what you do, but do you love where you do it?

The work environment is a huge part of a company’s culture.  Cubicles are being replaced by “high density clusters.”  The slacks and tie look has gradually moved from “shirt tucked into jeans” to “shorts and sandals.”

Other than make money, what does your corporation do?  Bill Gates and Microsoft have taken a lot of flack over the years, but employees go home feeling really good when they hear that profits are going to more than just shareholders.  Extra kudos to your company if they are one of the thousands that will match your own contribution to a charity you personally support.

How do we portray this, beyond our regular elevator pitch?  I think Daft Punk and Maren Hogan say it best.  You gotta work it.  You have to live the culture.  I know I’ve got a good gig working here and I need to exude those feelings to those I am interviewing.  Beyond just the recruiter lingo that any professional can sniff out.  “You played Ultimate Frisbee in college?  Me, too!  Did I tell you about the company league that plays weekly on campus?  My team got creamed last week by Marketing!”

Today at work, I am wearing blue jeans and a t-shirt that says, “La Buena Vida.”  Now, am I suggesting you run around with a shirt that says “The Good Life,” everyday?  No.  This just happened to be the only one that didn’t smell funny, this morning. It’s the look I am referring to.  Even as an HR guy, I wear laid back clothes.

My office is more than recruiting paraphernalia.  It’s bobbleheads, Seattle Mariners gear, posters of games made by more than just my company.  I’ve got an Xbox and TV set up, as do most of my hiring managers.  Yeah…we make games.  But, it’s not uncommon that one person will challenge another to some Call of Duty in the middle of the day.

Culture is important.  And, as the proverbial gatekeepers, we should be singing Karma Chameleon because we’re part of the Culture Club.  (Oh, man…I’ve been waiting this whole post to throw that in).  Culture is part of why we LOVE where we work!