Two more critical dimensions of Corporate Culture

Part 1 of 2

In my book MATCH: A Systematic, Sane Process for Hiring the Right Person Every Time, I point out eight Cultural Norms. In doing many Cultural Profiles since 2010, I have discovered two more norms. While I have always strived for simplicity and ease in the MATCH process, I think that they should be included in the effort to understand one’s Corporate Culture.

Corporate Culture is the behavior of people who are part of an organization, and the meanings that the people attach to those behaviors. Corporate Culture includes the organization’s values, visions, norms, working language, systems, symbols, beliefs and habits. It is also the pattern of such collective behaviors and assumptions that are taught to new organizational members as a way of perceiving, and even thinking and feeling. Corporate Culture affects the way people and groups interact with each other, with clients and with stakeholders.

In MATCH I make the argument that the key to organization success (which includes profit in a for-profit organization) is to first understand the Corporate Culture of the entity. Then it is the job of the hiring team to attract candidates with a cultural proactivity that matches the organization. Working in this way leads to greater hiring success and retention.

I offer a Score Card approach to quantify the Cultural Norms. In my book I highlight eight of these norms. I am now convinced that it will serve you better to include two additional norms.

The first of these two cultural dimensions is “Dress Code.” As with the other eight dimensions of my score card, a dress code continuum allows us to quantify our cultural dress norm with the far left representing “Street Wear” and the far right representing “Black Tie.” Somewhere between 1 (Street Wear) and 10 (Black Tie), every organization has a cultural “Dress Code” score. An organization with a 3 would be more relaxed in dress code – perhaps business casual would be the daily wear. While an organization with a 9 would be a business suit every day.

By the way, there is no correct answer there. The whole point is that our organizations are stronger when we understand them. If we strive to understand our culture first – before we hire, then we are much more likely to hire and retain the right person.

One more note – Ideally, this Cultural Profile is administered to a whole department, or even an entire company. By collecting data across a large section of the organization, a cleaner definition of a true Corporate Culture can be wrought.

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Dan Erling