Cultural Fit: Assessing If a Company’s Culture Is Right for You

guy giving thumbs up at his desk

These days, everyone seems to be talking about cultural fit.

Many blogs you’ll see, however, focus on cultural fit from the employer’s point of view. It’s not often that people talk about cultural fit from the candidate’s perspective.

That being said: cultural fit for employees is important, if not essential. Getting acclimated to the culture of the company you want to work for can make or break your experience with the company. Even if you’re exceptionally qualified, a poor cultural fit can turn a great offer sour very quickly.

Today, we’re going to go over a few key tips for assessing what kind of company culture is right for you. Take a look below:

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How to Take the Jump and Work Remotely

Work from home

When we used to think of going to work, many people had in mind a sterile office with beige or grey cubicles. Work was always conducted sitting down at your desk for 8-10 hours a day with only a small lunch break, where you finally had a chance to get outside and experience some sunlight, fresh air, and other humans interacting.

 

These days, things are a lot different. Companies like Google have made a huge impact on the work environment, making the workplace fun by using crazy colors, awesome interior designs, and fun activities that make you feel like you are working at a playground rather than in an office.

 

Unfortunately, not all companies can be as fashion forward as Google, and not all people really want to be in that environment, but at the same time they don’t want to be stuck at the same old boring office. So what do they do? Well, many of them start working remotely.

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3 Tips for Building a Better Company Culture

office space

On Tuesday, we gave you three reasons why you need to vamp up your company culture.

As we mentioned, having a great company culture is an extremely important part of running a successful business, which is why just about everyone is talking about it.

But just because you know that having a great company culture can make you successful, doesn’t necessarily mean you know the best way to go about vamping up your own. To help point you in the right direction, we thought we’d talk about exactly that. Take a look below:

  • Match culture to your goals. First things first, you need to figure out the main goals of your company and match your culture to those goals. The main focus of your company culture is that it should reflect the goals that you’ve set in place for your company. Always consider how the culture, characteristics, and work ethic of your company will affect the goals you have in mind, because if you don’t, then you run the risk of missing your goals altogether.
  • PrioritizeWhen you decide to change or improve your company culture, the last thing you want to do is to have a complete and sudden overhaul. These kinds of improvements–at least, the successful ones–don’t just happen over night. You need to make sure you do your best to figure out what matters to you the most and execute those priorities first. From there, you can go down the line until you’ve successfully built up a top-notch culture that strives towards the goals you have in mind.
  • Be authentic. Above all, you need to be authentic. Don’t try do something that won’t jive with the goals of your company, because chances are you probably won’t meet those goals as successfully as you’d like. Throughout this whole process, you need to do your best to ensure that what you are doing actually means something. If your candidates see a disconnect in what you want and how you execute it, then that will reflect poorly on you, which is definitely not what you want to see happen.

What do you think about company culture? Is it as important as people say it is? If you have any tips you’d like to add to our list let us know by connecting with us on Facebook or Twitter. We’d love to hear from you!

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3 Reasons Why You Need to Work On Your Company Culture

facing a crowded room in a plaid shirt

Take a look around an HR blog or website and you are bound to find the words “company culture” popping up again and again.

For many, company culture can be somewhat of a mystery. It’s something that every company has, but just because you have it doesn’t mean it’s benefiting you in all the right ways.

Some leaders don’t know what needs to be done to get their company culture in the right place, or whether they need to actually put much effort into it at all, since for many, company cultures seems like a byproduct of just being a company at all.

However, as we’ve brought up many times on this blog, company culture plays an integral role in the success of your company. To help give you a better idea of why company culture is so important, we thought we’d break down why you need to pay special attention to your company culture, and how to go about doing so.

For today, we’ll start with why. Take a look below:

  • It’s a top recruiting tool. When a job candidate takes a look at your company, chances are, they are looking into your company culture. What we’re referring to are the things that you value, why you value them, and how you go about attaining/upholding those goals and values.

    For many candidates these days (especially the Milliennial generation), relating to the values of the company is one of the biggest factors when it comes to choosing where they apply. That’s why it’s so important to make sure that you do your best to narrow down your company culture and highlight what makes you stand out as a company.

  • It helps solidify your team. Not only is having a great company culture important for recruiting, it is also an important aspect of solidifying your team/company as a whole. When you hire like-minded people who value what you value, then hopefully they will band together in order to obtain the goals that you set up for your company. When employees believe in what you do, they should be more likely to succeed—and a big part of that is having a crystal clear company culture that can help guide them towards those goals.
  • It helps put everyone on the same page. Adding to our point above, a crystal clear company culture is great way to ensure that everyone is on the same page and knows exactly what the company is striving for. The hope is that you won’t have to worry about any stragglers because you’ve already made it clear what you expect out of them, and what they should expect out of you.

On Thursday, we’ll get into how you can vamp up your company culture to ensure success. In the meantime, let us know your thoughts by connecting with us on Facebook or Twitter!

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Employers: Hiring Employees Who Care (Part I)

notes

When it comes to employees, one of the major sayings that gets tossed around is “quality over quantity.”

But there’s more to that saying than simply hiring employees who have the skills, experience, and characteristics for success: they need to have passion, too.

Over the next few days, we’re going to talk about hiring employees who are passionate about their job. For today, we’ll talk about three reasons why you should hire employees who will really care about their job. Take a look below:

  • When your company succeeds, they succeed (and vice versa). One of the most important things about hiring employees with passion for their job is the excitement they gain from seeing that your company does well. Simply put, these employees have a lot to gain when your company does well because they’re personally invested in your company. In turn, a lot of their success depends on yours and vice versa, making it a highly reciprocal relationship. This helps to ensure that both parties are doing their best to reap the benefits of this teamwork.
  • They look for progress. Employees who are truly passionate about their jobs and want the company to succeed do more than just meeting the end-of-the-year goals—they’re also trying to go above and beyond and look towards the future. This drive and push for progress can do wonders for your company, as it helps you to think outside of the box, giving you a better chance to stand out amongst the competition.
  • They strive for excellence. A passionate employee’s strive for excellence is one of the driving forces behind their work ethic, which is a great thing for you because you see all of the great benefits from it. Passionate employees go above and beyond in every aspect, from their push to help others succeed, to the extra details they add to their work, and even to pushing themselves to learn and adapt beyond their boundaries. This kind of work ethic can do wonders for your company culture and success, making these types of employees a valuable asset.

Check back tomorrow when we go over a few ways you can scope out these passionate employees during the hiring process. In the meantime, let us know your thoughts by connecting with us on Facebook or Twitter!

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Millennials: How to Prepare Yourself for Your Future Career (Part I)

millennial typing on a computer

Throughout this week, we’ve talked a lot about the Millennial generation.

As we mentioned, Millennials are entering the workforce at an increasing rate and there is a concern that they won’t be as prepared for their first job as some of them would like to believe.

But rather than give up on this new generation, we believe that employers should be taking the initiative to help get them ready for their jobs and future careers. They are, after all, going to make up a pretty big chunk of the workforce in the coming years.

In order for things to work, Millennials need to take the initiative on steps that will help them build their future career into a success. To help them do that, we are going to give them some great tips on how they can prepare themselves for a successful future career. Take a look below for our first two:

  • Find a potential employer whose values match your own. If you happen to be a Millennial who places authenticity high up on their list of things you look for in a job–as most Millennials do–then take the initiative to ensure that you are finding the right company for you. While it might be great to land a gig at some very well-known company, if their mission and values don’t speak to you, then chances are you won’t want to contribute as much as you would for another company.
  • Find out what it means to be prepared. Likewise, take the time to scope out the company’s definition of preparedness. As we mentioned in previous posts, there is a large gap between most Millennials and business decision-makers when it comes to defining what it means to be prepared. Knowing what to expect before you apply will help you better meet their demands once you’re hired. And if you find that there is a huge disconnect between what you believe and what an employer believes, then you should really think about whether or not you want to work for them.

On Monday, we’ll talk some more about what Millennials can do to better prepare for their future careers. In the meantime, let us know your thoughts or questions by connecting with us on Facebook or Twitter!

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Soft Skills: What Are They and Why Do Your Employees Need Them? (Part III)

man working on his cell phone

Over the past few days, we’ve talked a lot about the importance of soft skills. In part one, we explained what soft skills entailed and why your employees need them. And in part two, we gave you a few tips on how to screen candidates so you can find those great employees with exceptional soft skills.

To round off our series, we thought it would only be fair to talk about soft skills from the employee’s perspective. So without further adieu, here are a few ways to improve your soft skills, as well as how to properly showcase them during the interview process:

How to improve your soft skills 

Keep your attitude in check. People who possess exceptional soft skills do very well under pressure, so you always need to maintain your composure. Taking a few minutes each day to sit back and reflect on the day, your actions, and others’ responses to your actions help you become more self-aware, making it much easier for you to prevent any unwanted breakdowns.

Network. Networking is also another a great way to hone in on your communication skills. Take the time to branch out and talk with others; having that kind of exposure can help broaden your thinking skills and sense of perspective–an important asset to have when working/leading with a diverse group of peers.

Put yourself out there. Putting yourself out there can help give you a significant confidence boost that is necessary for great decision-making, innovation, and leadership skills. We’re not saying you should take unnecessary risks, but when coupled with a sense self-awareness that allows you to know your limits, you can really push your career in the right direction.

How to showcase your soft skills in an interview

Communicate. Interviews are all about effectively communicating why you’re qualified for the position, so it should come as no surprise that you need to show that you can communicate well.

As such, you need to make sure you come to the interview prepared to answer any questions thrown at you. The best approach is to use concrete examples, and when you do, to make sure they’re concise and to the point. Just because you can ramble on about a subject doesn’t make you an effective communicator, so keep it short and sweet.

Focus on values/work ethic. Though it might not seem obvious, employers do take cultural fit into consideration. Make sure you take the time to emphasize how your values match that of the company you are interviewing for. Showing them how well your work ethic meshes with their own is a great way to stand out amongst your competitors. 

Be confident, positive and focused. Provide specific examples of how you’ve proved yourself to be a leader and decision-maker in your jobs past. Showing that you’re confident can go a long way when it comes to making an impression on employers.

That wraps up our series on soft skills! Are there any tips you’d like to add to our list? Let us know by connecting with us on Facebook or Twitter!

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Soft Skills: What Are They and Why Do Your Employees Need Them? (Part I)

communicating on a project together

When it comes to assessing the qualities and skills of candidates, we tend to usually focus mainly on the technical side of things. Are they proficient in the software we use? Does their education match up? Are they skilled in using/learning new technology/programs?

Once we square those facts away, only then do we start to consider qualities like personality, communication skills, work ethic, and the ability to work with others–though more often than not, this part of the interview is pretty brief and seems more like an afterthought.

In turn, we end up losing out on learning about some pretty important, if not essential, skills that can differentiate between a good employee and a great one.

We are, of course, talking about soft skills. And despite their unassuming name, they happen to make a pretty big impact when it comes to a business’ success.

To get you better acquainted with these skills, we thought we do a little series on them. For today, we’ll be focusing on what soft skills entail.

So, what exactly are soft skills?

“Soft skills” is an all-encompassing term that deals specifically with a person’s personality traits, and soft skills are meant to complement a person’s hard skills (i.e. technical skills). When broken down, soft skills refer to a person’s attitude, communication skills, ability to work with others, critical thinking skills, and work ethic.

Why do my employees need great soft skills? 

Basically, the reason why employers should look into a candidate’s soft skills is so they can judge whether or not that person is a good fit into the company culture. On one hand, while we want our employees to be infinitely qualified for the job on the technical end, we also want them to be able to work with others and be able to perform the tasks that they were hired for efficiently and effectively. 

All in all, soft skills will make your employees better–better communicators, better teammates, better decision makers, and better thinkers. Those who possess soft skills tend to have the ability to manage themselves, making for a more productive work team, and allowing you as a leader to have more time to concentrate on the bigger issues in the company.

Check back with us on Monday when we give you some tips on how to find candidates with exceptional soft skills. In the meantime, how much emphasis do you put on soft skills and why? Let us know by connecting with us on Facebook or Twitter!

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Showing Your Employees Some Love

Treating your employees right is definitely a topic we don’t shy away from. Because your employees are the backbone of your company, it shouldn’t be a surprise that treating them well will keep productivity high and creativity flowing.

But we aren’t the only ones who think this way. Recently, the Harvard Business Review published an article titled, “Employees Who Feel Love Perform Better.” In that article, contributors Sigal Barsade and Olivia (Mandy) O’Neill discussed their study, “What’s Love Got to Do With It?: The Influence of a Culture of Companionate Love in the Long-term Care Setting,” which they put together for the forthcoming Administrative Quarterly.

In that study, Barsade and O’Neill surveyed 185 employees, 108 patients, and 42 patient family members on two separate occasions, 16 months apart from one another. According to the researchers, the purpose of the study was to explore the influence that emotional culture has on employee, patient, and family outcomes.

Here’s what they found:

  • Employees who felt they worked in a loving, caring culture reported higher levels of satisfaction and teamwork. 
  • Those same employees showed up to work more often.
  • Research also demonstrated that this type of culture related directly to client outcomes, including improved patient mood, quality of life, satisfaction, and fewer trips to the ER. 

Barsade and O’Neill also conducted a follow-up study in order to see whether their findings held true across industries. In their follow-up, they surveyed 3,201 employees in seven different industries from financial services to real estate and found the results to be the same. (For more, you can read rest of the report, here.)

Caring is a pretty significant part of employee satisfaction.

What this study shows is that people who work in a environment where they are allowed to express compassion and care for their fellow co-workers are more satisfied with their jobs, and feel more committed to the organization, compared to those who work in an organization that abides by a “dog eat dog” mentality.

As a leader or manager, it’s important to set an example for your team. Don’t be afraid to show your team that you genuinely care for them and that you are there to support them. Having that kind of support will give them the drive to work hard and make them feel like it’s okay to help others to do the same, making this a win-win situation in the end.

What do you think about this study? Does your company already practice a company culture of love? Let us know by connecting with us on Facebook or Twitter. We’d love to hear from you!

Giving Your Employees a Slice of the Decision-Making-Pie

We talk a lot on this blog about the importance of letting your employees know that they matter. One way to really let your employees know that they make a difference is by giving them what we’d like to call “a slice of the decision-making-pie.”

Simply put, when someone knows their contributions are directly influencing the decision making process, then they actually feel like they are making an impact on the company. In turn, they realize their importance, which will most likely boost their productivity and drive.

It’s important to get your employees involved in the decision-making process, and here’s why:

Employees have great insight into your company

You don’t need to be the CEO to have good insight into what’s going on within the company—in fact, employees might actually have a lot more to say about a certain area than you do as the big boss.

We don’t want to turn this into an “us against them” battle—because it isn’t—but it’s very important to recognize that when your employees are working hard on a specific task every day, they’re likely to have insights that you wouldn’t about that subject.

These insights are great assets to have, but many employers don’t take advantage of them because they aren’t confident enough in what their employees have to say. In that case, your employees are much more likely to hold back, keeping you out of the loop and slowing down what could be high productivity.

To make the most of your employees’ insights, start by letting your employees know that their contributions matter, and that what they have to say actually does influence the decision-making process. Employees are the backbone of the company, so it should go without saying that they matter—but if they don’t know that, then good luck getting some of that great first-hand knowledge they possess.

Giving employees a say creates a seamless work environment

The last thing you want in your office is some kind of “class warfare”. As TLNT contributor Tim Sackett points out, “to be truly power-less, sucks.” If an employee feels like their opinion doesn’t matter, then they will more than likely feel like their work doesn’t matter. In turn, their drive will crash and burn, which won’t do much to help you or your company.

To help combat this, do your best to level the playing field. As we mentioned above, letting your employees know that their contributions matter is an important part of making them feel appreciated. Don’t make them feel like they’re second-rate and that they’re just another cog in the machine, otherwise you might see some serious burnout.

Giving your employees a say in the decision-making process can do wonders for the company. You already know how much your employees matter—so why not show them?