Company Culture: Actions Speak Louder Than Words

Have you ever gotten–or given–an impression of an organization only to realize that the impression didn’t reflect the truth of its day-to-day reality? When it comes to company culture, actions speak louder than words.

To explain what I mean, here are a few true scenarios that illustrate this concept (with names and details changed to protect anonymity):

  • Sam works for a company that claims to value ethical behavior. But after Sam had a bad performance week, his regional manager retaliated by withholding one of Sam’s commissions to “motivate him to work harder.”
  • Chelsea encourages her employees to act more autonomously, take initiative, and figure out things for themselves. Yet she maintains an open-door policy so they can seek her advice on any problems that arise, and she gets too involved in the details of their daily issues.
  • Marge was hired with the promise of a supportive team environment. But once she received her orientation tour, she discovered she was on her own without training, mentoring, or the help of her coworkers.
  • John’s employer expects its workers to practically bleed for the company, demanding that they stay late, forego doctor visits, and skip lunch to meet their quotas and get the work done. Yet the company’s internet slows down or fails almost daily, sabotaging John’s efforts. He feels as if they are not equipping him with the technology to accomplish the ambitious goals they’ve set.

Candidates, when you’re looking for a job, are you concerned about fitting the culture as well as the job’s qualifications? You should be concerned, advises Beth Taylor of PayScale.com. Why? A strong company culture that offers consistent codes of behavior makes it “easier to do your job because you know what is expected of you, and this leads to greater job satisfaction. To find out what it’s like to work at a company, do your research. Ask the right questions during the interview process, and don’t confine your investigations to the hiring manager.” Taylor suggests speaking to prospective coworkers to ask what they like and dislike most about their job to learn more about the company’s culture.

Employers, have you stopped to wonder what mixed messages you may be sending within your organization? If you’ve created a written document that defines your company culture, are there any unwritten rules you’re unintentionally enforcing that may clash with what you claim to value? And when you interview candidates, are you careful to select only those who fit with your company’s culture? “Employees are also most likely to enjoy job satisfaction when their own values match with the values in the company culture,” says Taylor. “This creates a sense of belonging to a team with common goals.”

If you’re a candidate who wants to find a job, be persistent and ask questions in your interview until you have an accurate picture of the company culture. Job failure can be caused as much by a poor cultural fit as it can by a lack of qualifications or ability to do the job.

If you’re a leader, it takes time and thought to build a strong company culture. Actions speak louder than words, so take the time to evaluate the message that’s being sent. If you’re saying one thing but acting out another, make the necessary changes to build a consistent code of conduct. Remember, your employees’ satisfaction and success depend on it!

What do we value? Click here to peek into Amtec’s company culture.

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