July 30, 2021

Company Culture – Initial impression vs. Reality

company culture, company culture definition, employer branding culture, bad company culture, employee experience, employee attraction, recruitment strategy, sales, agile company culture, agile hr

A thousand words will not leave so deep and impression as one deed.“ – Henrik Ibsen

A topic so prevalent in today’s HR topics that make it one of the most important aspects of everything related to employee experience and satisfaction – company culture. Whenever an employer wants to make an impression on the prospect quality candidate, they will almost always talk about how good their company culture is, aside from the obvious financial benefits and perks. Let’s talk about Sandra who entered the final step of the selection process with both her future line manager and the director of the company. They talk about the vision and the mission of the company while describing day to day activities and what their general values are. Sandra ends up quite satisfied with what was communicated to her because it correlated directly with their employer branding across the social media. She accepted the offer thinking that she became a part of the company culture which was to her liking… except that wasn’t really the case. You see, Sandra found out in the first 3 months of working there that not everything is what it initially seemed through the communication in the selection process. The company culture doesn’t thrive on individual ideas and editing of the process to their own liking like it was communicated, it doesn’t have a laissez-faire approach to and organization but instead the authoritarian approach as the director likes to micromanage everything they get their hands on, it doesn’t portray the culture of frequent and detailed feedback, it doesn’t have that many satisfied employees as her colleagues very early show their disappointments, so on and so forth. Very early, Sandra realizes she made a huge mistake.

This situation happens more often than not. How should a newly boarded employee react to these types of situations? Should they quit or adapt? We’re not going to discuss how to spot the irregularities before a start date, but how to remedy the situations that’s already taken place.


Culture connected through various variables.

Curb your enthusiasm

It doesn’t sound as harsh as it looks on paper but anything that’s presented to you as a candidate should be taken with a grain of salt. We have to remember, everything in business is first and foremost, a sale. Employers are very well aware of the business strategies and cultures which have to be set in place in order for their employees to be satisfied. The problem with that is that many of those employers either don’t share those ideals or they don’t have the required resources to make those aspects available. So instead, they eloquently increase the state of their organization with poetic descriptions in order to make you more interested. The fact of the matter here is that if a thought of everything sounding too good to be true at first glance, it probably is. Every company has their upside and their downside, it’s inevitable. The only question here is whether the candidate in question is willing to adapt to that working environment.

Entering a new company has to be done with a prepared mindset. Some things will be well organized, well placed, well within the candidate’s ideal, but some of them will be the complete opposite. That way, the disappointment will be less intense and it will be easier to adapt.

Another thing to consider here is time. Time is really important here because no matter what kind of company culture it really is, you have to give yourself a bit of time to see whether you can flourish or perish, so to speak. Really good employees can makes culture changes happen, either with their character or their performance. The question is whether you are that candidate.


Invest, learn, progress.

Hold the line until time is right

Sandra’s scenario seems quite the difficult one just from couple of pieces of info. Having a micromanager as a board member is not something that’s easily avoidable, I can tell you that much, I was in the same situation. So what can a newly boarded employee do if the situation is dire and there’s not really too much to do to change the culture? The easiest answer here is to wait it out until the time is right to leave. Sounds quite simple, but it’s difficult in practice. You can’t really stay on top of your game if the company culture doesn’t allow you to do so. Oh the irony. The best thing to do is the do you best when it comes to performance and stay at least a year so your CV doesn’t suffer too much. A bit more aggressive approach would be to wait until your probation period ends and then you can challenge your line manager with some difficult questions. An employee with a strong character and experience will do exactly that, I assure you. At the end of the day, who knows, it just might work in the employee’s favor.

Another good thing to always do is to invest the time and resources into yourself while you wait it out. Remember that everything is sales so increasing your value on the market will make your chances of getting a better job opportunity skyrocket. That’s how you will stay motivated in a volatile company culture.

Takeaway

Company culture is one of the keystones which make employees satisfied and engaged in the workplace. Using employer branding with bogus or false information to attract candidates is nothing short of unethical but if you find yourself in that situation, hold that line and know that it’s just an obstacle to overcome. It’s quite common and doesn’t need to be looked at as another fuel of frustration. Do what needs to be done, try to influence the culture however you can or simply leave when the time is right. If anything else, it’s another experience from which you learn and shield yourself from a future scenario.