The question I always get asked by candidates is “What’s the culture like?”. I can tell exactly when the question is coming yet it always catches me by surprise. Describing PCN International (sister company's - Payments & Cards Network and Digital Source) culture is difficult because it isn’t something that’s static or tangible, making it hard to pinpoint.
Company culture is more important than ever for potential employees and candidates to understand before joining a company, but also one of the hardest things to describe. When you boil it down, culture relates to the overall mission of a company, the way things are done, how decisions are made, how people behave, whether or not it’s ok to wear your Game of Thrones or Britney Spears t-shirt to work, and everything else in between. So it’s only natural that when potential candidates are considering joining a new company they want to get the low down from someone on the other side.
Culture can sometimes be described as the personality of the company or if you strip it back, culture stems from the ‘why’, ‘what’ and ‘how’ of a company.
As a starting point you need to understand the mission of the company - the why. For example, at PCN International our mission is to connect the best talent with equally great companies. That is at the core of everything we do. Therefore, we are always looking to hire people who show a passion and interest in being able to build on this in their own way. If employees feel connected to the overall the success and objective of the company then they will feel engaged and more likely to succeed. Once you have this, you have the foundations to build on the personality - the what and the how of the culture.
While these things are great and no doubt can add to the overall fun of working at a company, putting a pool table in the middle of an office is going to have zero impact on your company culture. Instead, if you have specific values and behaviours that form part of the what and the how of what you do, these things can help nurture your culture.
For example, at PCN International we value openness, honesty and respect across everything we do. We believe this to be integral to the way we do things. I often stumble across people playing a game of pool in the middle of the day, while doing so they’re also discussing a specific issue within the business. This could be talking about trouble with a candidate or discussing the best way to approach a new client. So while we may have a pool table in the office, this isn’t at the heart of the company. What’s important is how we work together which contributes to the overall success of the company (but the pool table does help).
At PCN International we’re going through rapid growth, meaning we’re hiring more than ever before. So how do you go about embedding these values when new people come on board? This is something which happens naturally, but most of the time you need to be proactive and invest time to make sure everyone who joins understands the what, why and how of working for the company. You can do this in many different ways but start with educating new staters, continue to share and reinforce the mission of what you’re doing and never underestimate the power of team building.
What better way to create a sense of team, strip back all ego and add in a bit of competition (we are a sales team after all) than to spend an afternoon making complete fools of ourselves, laughing until our ribs hurt and hanging for the biggest Wipeout of the day!
Check out the highlights reel below:
So how do I answer the question “what’s your culture like?” I always refer back to the what, why and how of our company. It underpins everything we’re about and everything we strive to be - it’s our culture.
Get in touch with me at firstname.lastname@example.org for the full bloopers edit. Also get in touch if you would like a job (see comment above re: hiring like never before).