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“If you do not manage culture, it manages you, and you may not even be aware of the extent to which this is happening” (Edgar Schein, professor MIT Sloan School of Management).

What’s the culture of enterprise?

A company is a place of wealth creation, but also a living place. As such companies have all different cultures that characterize them. However, corporate culture doesn’t limit itself to aspects immediately obvious (jobs, dressing standards, language). Such as an iceberg, the most impressive part is located under the surface … We are talking about organizational values originating from the belief that some codes of conduct are better than others in order to achieve efficiency and performance in one’s company.

Corporate culture could be defined like: « the set of values it upholds to and that is promoted through the activities of the company ». Those values include not only the area of specialty. For example, a company producing cars could be either conqueror (searching for new markets) or more conservative (searching to consolidate positions acquired). Even if they are both producing the same type of goods, the orientation of their activity will create divergent set of values, and therefore different cultures. The same person will grow and flourish in one of them and be dissatisfied in the other. And yet, both companies have the same job profile. In addition, one is not better than the other, just different because of its corporate culture. That’s why it is essential to determine as precisely as possible the “corporate culture” of companies in order to ensure an efficient management and to know the level of adequacy between the shared values of the company and those of its employees or, of the candidate that might be recruited.

Do not confuse personality and culture

Initially, researchers in organizational sciences tried to link personalities to organisations, with no success. In 1989 Chatman work marked the birth of a new model in the field: adequacy of an employee and its company is linked to values not to personality. As a matter of fact, personality corresponds to preferences and behavioral habits of an individual (shyness, open-mindedness, anxiety, leadership, etc.). Those are stable passed adulthood. Values, for their part, learned from experience, acquired through life represent the convictions of a person regarding codes of conduct preferable to hold. For example, the way we think we should be managed or treated in a company by colleagues or a boss, how our salary should be calculated: through success, seniority or according to the level of responsibility. Those values forged through our own existence direct us in the way we function and manage situations, and therefore affect our motivation at work. Those values have a bigger impact than personality. Adequacy between the personality of an individual – which means the behavior in everyday life (shy, altruist, anxious or authoritative), and the goals of a company is secondary here.

Why corporate culture is essential?

Research shows that the cultural adequacy constitutes a key factor of success both organizational and individual. By sharing the same values and the same approach of efficiency, the motivation is shared between management and collaborators. It has been shown that it allowed to increase satisfaction, personal commitment and to reduce turnover: factors ensuring involvement and cohesion, as well as company’s performance. To know the values of the company and those of our employees is, in this new approach of human resources, a first essential step and the pre-requisite for any action. Corporate culture has often been presented like a fixed and constant value. Yet, culture evolves over time because of context and individuals working in the company (themselves changing and evolving too):

  • When a company chooses to recruit a new person, the major question emerging is to know if the candidate has the potential to reinforce the corporate culture by his or her own values, or rather to undermine it. Here is where the company’s cultural profile is valuable, allowing to make a prognosis of the adequacy of the company with the cultural profile of a candidate.
  • A company can also be willing to make its culture evolve. To achieve that challenge, a pre-requisite is to take in consideration the management objectives in the recruitments undertaken and to determine the profiles (of new candidates and employees) with the best potential to make the culture of the company evolve in the way its management want to. For that, you need cultural profile and audit.

How to determine corporate culture with Vadequa?

Research has shown that companies really capable to tell what is their culture are rare. Even fewer are the ones having the tools to measure and identify their culture and values. Vadequa is a French tool based on methodology, analysis and tests developed by researchers in psychology and statistics. This tool relies on the validated scientific models of Robert E. Quinn (1983), The Competing Values Framework. As the corporate culture is not directly accessible, we need to determine it indirectly. The ones best placed to do it are of course the ones working (or that did work) in the company. That’s why Vadequa relies upon them to determine it.

How does it works?

With an anonymous on-line questionnaire Vadequa gathers the answers of collaborators. The algorithm generates a detailed report on the company’s values pinpointing them according to the 4 categories of culture identified by Quinn (Innovators, Competitors, Collaborators, Organizers) and providing recommendations and potential solutions according to management’s objectives. The company gets a detailed diagnosis on the organisation audited whether it is a small team, a department or the whole company. The information provided covers the profiles that characterize the company, shared values, “felt values” and social climate. A wide range of data where you can also compare different groups of collaborators such as for example Sales department versus R&D department, etc. Management and/or HR get a clear and objective understanding of their organisation, in order to work on its performance and cohesion, whether for change management, team building, conflicts resolutions, intern mobility, and more.

Vadequa give the opportunity to optimize recruitments and to get to know better the company’s employees. The tool also allows measuring the adequacy of the candidate/employee and the company. Through an second on-line questionnaire potential candidates are evaluated on their motivations, values, culture, personality and job requirements for the position they applied for. A detailed report is then automatically provided giving an objective insight on the potential of adaptation and integration in the company of the candidate.

Corporate culture: a strategic challenge

Corporate culture is not a trend in order to inject “happiness” in a company. It a real concern especially for company’s management, not only for HR. Beyond the clichés, corporate culture is a real matter of business with a serious impact on performance and results. A good knowledge and management of corporate culture has direct consequences as essential as the financial growth, development of products, sales or marketing. It has an influence on the development of the organization whether for clients, income, investments, services and products. If Google, Apple and Microsoft understood it, the strategic value of corporate culture is valid for any kind of enterprise, allowing it to stand out among it competitors.

Benefits of that kind of tool

Apart from saving time (pre-selection of candidates) and saving money (avoid recruitment mistakes, improve performance), Vadequa is a new way of managing human resources. By offering rigorous scientific data, it allows the company and teams to progress by taking into account 3 main elements:

  • Culture cohesion: agreement on playing rules. A candidate or an employee needs to agree to the corporate culture to flourish at work and to contribute to the performance of the company.
  • Compatibility of personalities: avoidance of emotional conflicts, benefice of diversity in work preferences. Candidate or employee’s personality has to allow him or her to adapt to the corporate culture. In addition, his or her personality must be compatible with the ones of the other members of the team.
  • Diversity of competencies: each person provides its own contribution. Candidate or employee needs to have the technical and behavioural competencies necessary to do the job effectively.

The easier and quicker moment to act on culture is the recruitment phase. To find the right candidate, you can no longer rely only on its professional skills. Research has shown that problems with management and lay-offs are rarely due to competencies, but to soft skills. Corporate culture can become the motor of the development of companies by playing an essential role in the attraction, motivation and loyalty of employees and future collaborators.

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