corporate cultureWe talk to our clients a lot about corporate culture and the value that hiring for alignment to the corporate culture can have on an organization.  It is proven that by on-boarding individuals that share a similar set of values, beliefs and goals there is greater employee engagement, higher productivity, and longer tenure.  While it’s true that each organization has an overarching company culture, it’s also very true that within most organizations, if not all, subcultures exist. In the article Jacque Vilet wrote for TLNT, “Why It’s So Difficult to Really Change a Company Culture,” she outlines the 3 most common:


  1. Operations subculture — “The people who get products and services out the door, the drivers of day-to-day process. They view people as potentially valuable team members that are capable and reliable. They know that technology generally doesn’t work unless people are around to work out the “kinks”. Operations managers appreciate the importance of finance and raising capital, but they have no gut feel for it —nor do they feel warm and fuzzy towards engineers who see operations people as troublesome nuisances.”
  2. Engineering subculture —“The engineers and technical specialists that focus on the design challenge of creating an ideal world of elegant machines. The only thing they’re impatient with is other people. They are preoccupied with designing humans out of the systems rather than into them.”
  3. Executive subculture — “The people who focus on deals, leverage, and capital flow. Members of this culture typically include the CEO, the board, the business-unit leaders, and the finance staff. They are the only ones directly accountable for the company’s obligation to return money and value to shareholders. Because they are so “money” driven, they tend to view people as “costs” — i.e., expendable resources.”  – Scary considering many, if not most, organizations promote their employees as being their greatest asset.

In the article Jacque suggests that the “goal of business leaders is to create a broad, overarching business strategy that doesn’t crush these subcultures but pulls all of them together and ensures they can work as a unified team.”

Here is how “Cultures” and “Subcultures” can help to guide your hiring process:

First, when making hiring decisions you have to take into account not only the culture that exists across the organization, but also the subculture of the team you’re hiring for.  Second, one of the best ways to ensure your new hire is a great all-around cultural fit is to include individuals within that particular subculture within the hiring process or on the hiring team.  Finally, compare the assessment scores of current successful employees as a baseline with the assessment scores of candidates.

Author: April Jennings