Organizational culture is the unique social and psychological environment that develops over time as a result of interactions within a business or organization. It is often referred to as work culture or company culture. Culture may guide employee behavior in the absence of leadership or guidelines.
Beyond human resources and the bottom line, it's just more enjoyable to work at a company with a positive work culture.
12 Tips for Helping New Hires Become Part of Your Organizational Culture:
1. Make the new hire feel comfortable.
People feel a little awkward on their first day of work. They’re suddenly thrown in with a new group of people, in a new environment, probably learning new tasks, and all that’s riding on it is their financial future, and possibly their family’s.
2. Get them comfortable with their surroundings.
No one wants to ask where the restrooms are or wander around trying to find the break room. Show them around their new workspace.
3. Make introductions.
Take them around and introduce them to everyone they’ll have daily contact with.
4. Assign a buddy.
If you won’t be with them all day, make sure they have someone that can show them around and keep them company.
5. Make sure they've got someone to sit with at lunch.
Is there anything worse than walking into a lunchroom full of strangers and having to decide who to sit by? If you can’t have lunch with them, plan it so someone else does.
6. Listen to them.
You’re going to have to do a lot of the talking during orientation, but make sure to listen when they speak. We all have a deep psychological need to be listened to, and it naturally makes us feel good when we’re being heard.
7. Have them do some customer service.
By doing customer service, new hires create a bond with customers, learn how basic customer problems get solved and how your company communicates with its customers.
8. Show new hires how culture guides real decisions.
Show them how the company’s culture and core values helped make decisions in the past. Ideally, some of these would be high-level decisions, and some would be smaller day-to-day decisions. Give them an example for each core value - it will help values become much more than idealistic words on a page.
9. Get new hires connected before day one.
Help your employees meld with your work culture by getting them connected to your company on social media from the day they’re hired. In a great article at Forbes, Ryan Scott points out that nearly 60 percent of employees use social media to build relationships within their company.
10. Play a team building game to help break the ice.
There are dozens of team building activities that are appropriate for a business setting. Pick one that you think is suitable and get the team involved on day one.
11. Find new hires who fit in with your culture.
In his book "Setting the Table", restauranteur Danny Meyer talks about questions he'd ask to get a sense if people were compatible with his style. His questions included:
- "How has your sense of humor been useful to you in your service career?"
- "What was so wrong about your last job?"
- "Do you prefer Hellman's or Miracle Whip?"
There are no necessarily right or wrong answers to these, and these might not even be the questions you should be asking (especially Steve's). The idea, as Meyer notes, is to figure out if they're a fit for your culture. So you need questions that are related to your company's style.
12. Build a private social network for your company.
New hires can log in, get caught up on what employees have been talking about, and get in on the conversation when they’re ready. Facebook groups already have this functionality. Just make sure to set your group to private.
For the best HR books on culture, leadership, and people in general, check out our Top 10 HR Books for 2020 list.
Learn how to improve your business and employee performance with these resources:
What are the four types of organizational culture?
- Clan - A clan-oriented culture is family-like and rooted in collaboration with a focus on mentorship, teamwork, and communication.
- Adhocracy - Adhocracy culture is based on entrepreneurship, creativity, and innovation. Individuals are given the freedom to experiment.
- Hierarchy - Hierarchy oriented cultures are based on structure and control in the workplace. Leaders are organized while employees are forced to "play by the rules."
- Market - Market culture is goal-oriented with a focus on competition, profitability, and success.
Read our guide on how to introduce new staff members to your organization's culture here.
What does organizational culture mean?
Organizational culture is the social environment of a company that affects how employees interact and their attitude towards work.
What are the 3 levels of organizational culture?
- Artifacts: visual organizational structures on the surface level.
- Espoused values: strategies, philosophies, and goals.
- Basic underlying assumptions: underlying assumptions and values.
How do you maintain organizational culture?
- Be selective when hiring new staff members to ensure that they fit in with your organization's culture.
- Create and maintain traditions in the office.
- Make other staff members a part of the hiring and onboarding process.
Why is organizational culture important?
Besides giving employees an internal compass to guide them in the absence of leadership or clear rules, it has been shown that a positive organizational culture keeps turnover low and makes companies about 12 percent more productive.
Learn more about employee turnover.
How do I develop a positive organizational culture within the company?
Culture is what gets created when a group of people interacts with each other over a period of time. It's tough to dictate it from the top down. What really matters is who you hire, and how you go about introducing them to the existing team.
How does organizational culture affect performance?
Different cultures have an effect on different employees, and each culture has its own strengths and weaknesses. An organizational culture that suits its team can promote efficiency, increased productivity, and a better retention rate.
Learn more about attrition in companies and what you can do to reduce it.
How do you identify organizational culture?
The first step in identifying your company culture is to perform a culture assessment.
- Observe how your employees interact with each other, and how they resolve conflicts while being as impartial as possible.
- Observe employees' emotions: do they seem interactive and happy or sullen and withdrawn?
- Look around at the office environment. Have your employees personalized their spaces with photos, plants, and trinkets? Are the common areas warm and inviting or sterile and lifeless? How is the space allocated?
- Conduct culture interviews with your employees where you ask them open questions about the organization and their team environment.
These tips will help you to determine employee engagement and confirm what sort of company culture exists in your workplace.
What is a successful organizational culture?
A successful organizational culture is one where employees know their purpose and are driven to achieve the company goals. Other characteristics include a diverse workforce, effective communication, teamwork, and constructive feedback.
Check out our guide of team-building activities to help motivate your staff.