By Mary Ann Faremouth, CPC
The idea of “the right culture” has been tossed around a lot lately with regards to the workplace. Post-interview feedback from job seekers seems invariably to touch on how positive the work environment feels, how happy the employees seem, and how team interaction is portrayed, in and out of the office. Meanwhile, employers seem to focus on candidates with positive attitudes who take the time to research a potential employer and discuss how their backgrounds might align with the company mission.
I never received feedback quite like this in the thirty-plus years before Covid. Work culture may have crossed job seekers’ minds when they were deciding whether to accept certain offers, but it didn’t seem to play as big a part in their decisions as it does now. Employers, too, are being more selective than ever before, seeking prepared and like-minded candidates.
Why has this become so important to the candidates of the New Work World? With the challenges Covid presented, many of us have reevaluated what’s important to us. For many, that now centers around work environments that include meaningful work, collaborative work relationships, understanding bosses, and good work/life balance.
Understanding how important company culture is, how can we make sure we find the right fit? If you’re an employer, how do you make sure the candidates you are looking to hire align with your culture? If you are an employee, how can you work with your company’s existing culture? If you’re a job seeker, how do you know what kind of work culture to seek? Let’s review the Faremouth Method to answer these questions.
• Step 1: Do a Self-Inventory
If you’re an employer, examine your employee retention. Review employee performance levels and customer satisfaction. If you’re an employee, take an inventory of how you contribute to the company and interact with your coworkers. Determine whether there are any changes you could implement or recommend that would make the work experience more enjoyable for you and your team members. If you are a job seeker, make a list of the attributes you want in a corporate culture that would align with your career goals.
• Step 2: Ask Better Questions
As an employer, what could you do to make the work experience more enjoyable for your employees? Could you do more activities in and out of the office to build more positive collaboration among team members? Would attending sporting events, picnics, or other events to celebrate accomplishments encourage higher productivity among the group? If you are an employee, ask about opportunities for cross-training to expand skillsets within the workplace? If you are a job seeker, ask potential employers about employee retention to evaluate the internal operations and management styles of the company you are interviewing with.
• Step 3: Step Out of Your Comfort Zone
For employers, what could you change in your management style that might have a positive effect on your employees? For example, if you tend to micromanage, try outlining clear, achievable goals and then stepping back to allow your teams to accomplish them more independently. As an employee, how might you stretch yourself? For example, if you like to work on your own, could you reach out to a coworker and communicate positively with them or assist them with a skill that challenges them but comes easily to you? As a job seeker, consider taking an online class to enhance your skillset and become more valuable to prospective employers.
• Step 4: Take the Time to Do It Right
If you’re an employer, taking a long-term approach to your company’s culture can better ensure employee retention. Don’t just create programs as you think of them. Instead, reach out to employees for ideas and feedback and plan the release of new programs over time. If you are an employee, give your time and focus to coworkers when you interact with them or to training when you undertake it. Giving them the time and focus they deserve will allow for better knowledge retention and create a more positive work environment overall. If you are a job seeker, take the time to research the companies you apply to so you can learn about their cultures and whether they’re cultures you would like to be part of.
• Step 5: Be a Hunter
When searching for a new employee, it is not enough to just post a job opening and expect stellar candidates to seek you out. A positive company culture and appealing work environment and benefits are key to attracting candidates in your hunt for the best employees. Similarly, if you’re looking to earn more or move up in your existing career, you must hunt out opportunities to contribute to the culture of your department and the larger company. For job seekers, focus your attitude on determination and success, rather than fear of failure or rejection, to make your hunt for your amazing new job more enjoyable, no matter how long the search takes?
The New Work World might not be able to achieve the perfect work environment, but leaders can strive to create more positive workplaces where employees can feel encouraged to expand and grow in their careers. Employees can seek more collaborative efforts to feel more connected with and supported by their coworkers. And job seekers can make the job search less challenging by changing their mindsets and determining how the cultures of the companies they apply to fit the career paths they are looking for. The right culture can be achieved in the workplace if we all make a concerted effort to work together, assist each other, and build more positive relationships.
Mary Ann Faremouth
Mary Ann holds a CPC (Certified Personnel Consultant) credential, was certified by the Board of Regents of the National Association of Personnel Consultants in Washington, D.C., and was awarded an Advanced Communicator Bronze, Advanced Leader Bronze Awards by Toastmasters. She cofounded Jobs: Houston magazine in 1997. Mary Ann maintains affiliations with professional organizations, including oil and gas, financial, construction, IT, and structural, mechanical, and civil engineering. (www.faremouth.com)
Mary Ann’s award-winning first book Revolutionary Recruiting has been listed by Book Authority as Number #1 Best 100 Recruiting Books; #1 Best Seller, Non-Fiction, Amazon (2019); Top 20 Recruiting books, Recruitics; Readers’ Choice finalist (2019), Houston Literary Awards; Best Non-Fiction (2018), Best Cover (2019), and Best Self-Help (2018), Authors Marketing Guild. Her books support individuals and corporations, tap into each candidate’s unrealized potential to find the right person for each job, maximizing both employee satisfaction and the employer’s bottom line. Mary Ann showcases her expertise of the recruiting world on a monthly podcast for The Price of Business and weekly articles for USA Business. Her new workbook, Revolutionary Reinvention, was recently released on Amazon. Mary Ann lives in Houston, Texas.