I recently received an email from an intern who worked for us last year. He asked if I could send him stories that illustrate the culture at the company I work for. He was specifically interested in tales of commitment and dedication – these stories were needed for his class in Leadership, Change & Organizational Culture.
There was no hesitation on my part to yes; I could send him some stories. Through organizational restructuring, a couple of acquisitions, and countless changes in corporate priorities there has been no shortage of people who forge ahead and commit to whatever the company requires.
There may be inherent qualities that companies look for when hiring, and the same holds true for those applying for a position. Applicants want to know if the company fits their idea of a good company to work for; a place where they will ride the tide of ups and downs willingly because they care about the company and the company cares about them.
Does this sound idealistic? Does it sound implausible in this economy? Some might say yes, but for others it’s the way they shape and define their careers.
My opinion is that if you are fortunate enough to find a company whose culture is what you are looking for, one where you believe you can pursue your goals and one that opens its doors to you, then you’ll find other like-minded people there. It doesn’t matter what type of position you’re applying for – IT, supply chain, operations, human resources, customer service, finance – when you land that job at your “ideal” company, you’ll find yourself doing whatever it takes to make both you and your employer successful.
Of course, challenges exist. You may think you’re doing a great job, but your supervisor may think otherwise and may encourage you to seek training or other resources to enhance your skills. Perhaps management thinks you’re suited for a different position – maybe they see something in you that you don’t see in yourself. Situations like these could cause a person to wonder if the company is as committed to him as he is to the company. But belief in the company and its leaders will spur the person on to face the challenge being presented. This is the type of company culture where it’s understood that people should embrace change and challenges. It’s contingent upon the management and leaders to support their staff and guide them through whatever is ahead. It’s commitment in both directions.
How do companies insure that they’re sending the right signals to prospective employees? I think it starts with a mission statement and a set of core values. If possible, people should talk to employees at the company who are at their level (or the level they want to achieve). They should ask if they have stories they can share about the company and its relationship with its employees as well as how the employees feel about the company. Do they have to stop and think if there are any stories they can share – or are they quick to tell tales of the corporate culture and the commitment levels of its employees?