Ah, company culture. It seems to be one of those fiercely contested topics in the business community, particularly because it’s so difficult to quantify and define. MIT Sloan School of Management Professor E. H. Schein defines company culture as: “The set of shared, taken-for-granted implicit assumptions that a group holds and that determines how it perceives, thinks about, and reacts to its various environments.” Most people do agree that company culture can have a strong influence on a company’s economic performance. Organizational psychologists have been studying the effects of companies that thrive on cut-throat, high-pressure environments to drive their employees. These type of organizational cultures believe they can pressure and push their employees to perform at higher levels. However, it has been found that these type of cultures tend to have higher levels of health care expenditures (even as high as 50% more). In addition, these types of companies tend to have low employee engagement (aka loyalty) so turnover costs tend to be relatively high as well.
Some believe that company culture is intrinsically tied to a more relaxed office environment. This sparked a movement towards features such as open office spaces, casual dress, and free snacks, etc. However, it is important to remember that creating a good culture goes beyond these types of perks. It’s about establishing an environment where individuals feel positive, purposeful, and engaged.
While we could go on and on about the benefits of each type of culture I wanted to focus on one particular benefit of having a positive work culture—lower cost of recruitment. For instance, companies that have reputations for being great places to work organically grow the pool of potential employees through word of mouth and employee referrals. If you have ever been responsible for hiring new talent you know how difficult and resource dependent the process can be.
RESI’s Company Culture
Here at the Regional Economic Studies Institute (RESI) (while we may be lacking free snacks), we pride ourselves in having an easy-going, family-friendly, and flexible workplace. I think this “company culture” has been instrumental in our employee retention. More importantly, our positive work environment allows us to focus on being productive and efficient in our day-to-day responsibilities. Through the recruitment process we are very conscious of hiring individuals that fit in with our culture and organizational goals. I believe that it’s not only beneficial to us as employees but also for our clients. After all, you know the saying: Happy Life, Happy Client. Ok, I may have just made that up. All joking aside, if you think you would be a good fit for our close-knit, innovative, and hardworking team, I would love to hear from you!