Hiring for One of the Most Underrated Types of Culture

Creating and hiring for a social cultures is an aspiration for many companies. But there's another type of culture that's just as viable.

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Mar 27, 2023

When I ask HR and talent leaders to describe the most desirable corporate cultures, I usually hear words like empowering, fun, flexible, creative, friendly, inclusive, and nurturing. Words I rarely hear include structured, methodical, predictable, and stable. Yet surprisingly, structured and predictable cultures are nearly as appealing to employees as fun and friendly ones.

Research shows that 31% of employees desire a Social culture most. That’s the classic fun and friendly culture in which employee well-being is prioritized, the work atmosphere is relaxed and casual, and lines are often blurred between professional relationships and friendships.

But 28% of people prefer Dependable cultures. These workplaces prioritize process and predictability, fostering a highly collaborative environment where employees respect established protocols and embrace a methodical approach to change. This culture emphasizes clear roles, responsibilities, and processes, ensuring a well-structured and stable work environment.

The Dependable culture certainly doesn’t win awards for its allure, and you won’t see beanbag chairs and foosball tables featured in any business magazines. But for employees who’ve experienced the turmoil roiling industries like the tech or financial services sectors, stability and predictability can be quite appealing.

For talent acquisition leaders, the task isn’t to pretend your culture is something it isn’t but rather to highlight the benefits of the culture you do have. And if you’ve got a Dependable culture, there are a number of highly attractive benefits for candidates and employees:

Clear expectations. Have you ever seen employees frustrated by unclear or conflicting directions? Or annoyed by constantly shifting performance standards? In a Dependable culture, expectations and guidelines are well-defined, so people have a clear understanding of their roles and responsibilities. If you’re talking to candidates who are tired of working in chaotic environments, your company might offer an attractive alternative.

Stability and job security. A Dependable culture emphasizes predictability and adherence to established processes, which can foster a more stable work environment and increased job security. These cultures often move a bit more slowly than other types of corporate cultures, but that’s not always a bad thing. It’s likely that more than a few laid-off tech workers would have preferred that their former employers were more judicious before their hiring sprees or moved more methodically in announcing layoffs.

Reduced stress. A predictable and stable culture can help reduce stress for frontline employees, as they’re more likely to rely on consistent routines, and employees know what to expect in their day-to-day work.

Fairness and transparency. With a focus on following protocol, Dependable cultures are less likely to make capricious changes to performance standards and more likely to value fairness and transparency. This can make rapid changes tougher to pull off, but that can sometimes be a benefit.

It’s not just in corporate cultures where stability and predictability are highly valued. Research shows that the steward leadership style is similarly unexciting yet desirable. Stewards are the rocks of organizations. They’re dependable, loyal, and helpful, and they value rules, processes, and cooperation. They’re less likely than their hard-charging and visionary colleagues to make the covers of magazines, but a calm, methodical, and predictable leader will have quite a few fans these days.

If you have a Dependable culture or Steward leaders, don’t shy away from expressing that to your candidates. Given the current environment, it’s not a stretch to imagine that job ads with phrases like fairness and transparency, stability and job security, reduced stress, and clear expectations would attract a lot of stellar candidates.

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