“We are hiring!” Many adverts are boring, but some job postings are fun – like this one I happened to read recently: “Thanks for taking a look at the job description for … We felt a little bit impersonal just throwing you right in there with words like “revolutionising” and “disrupting”. As such, we want you to know that the person that wrote this job description apologises in advance for any clichés, tropes or sudden-insecurity-driven-panic-attacks that you might find in the description below…, etc. As a member of the team, you’ll have access to:

  • Working with some of the best and brightest minds in their field, helping you to achieve the best that you can.
  • A culture that celebrates success, reliability and building a great community.
  • A top of market salary. If you’re truly great, we’ll pay what we need to.
  • Equity in an honest-to-god-could-buy-a-yacht-later company. Travel is a huge industry and infrastructure is a huge part of that.
  • A minimum of 36 days paid holiday per year. Unlimited holiday means you never take it, we just decided to give you a lot.
  • A professional development budget. That we make sure you spend with frequent PD sessions.
  • Generous maternity and paternity leave.
  • Health and wellbeing scheme. Including access to Headscape, Meditation/Stress management, Massage Lottery, Health Food Voucher etc.
  • A bunch of great benefits, like private health insurance, cheaper gym membership, cycle-to-work scheme, an everlasting friendship with the author of this post, annual “un-sick” day and many more.”

This posting sounds like a great company for whom to work – they certainly have a sense of humour! Some other companies sound professional and fun, however, the reality is far from exciting. If their respective job postings were described accurately, they might look like this: “We see that you noticed the job – we are a large, but perhaps obsequious company, impersonal and highly politicised in character. We are led by jerks that don’t really care – not for anyone, least of all their colleagues. Our customers range from those who are unrealistically demanding to those who are just plain stupid. Working for the company requires you to be really tough, so we hope that you are strong. What we offer includes the following:

  • Working with some of the dumbest people on the planet – life here is so boring
  • A culture that is punitive, unreliable and inconsistent
  • An average salary, if we pay on time or at all
  • No equity, bonus or anything else for that matter
  • Preferably no leave, although there is some flexibility with absolute emergencies
  • If you do need some leave (no more than three successive days), then you need to request this a year in advance. Even then, there are no guarantees
  • As having a baby is not considered to be a health issue, there is no maternity leave. Paternity leave is not even a consideration – there is no such thing
  • You need to take care of all insurances, vehicle and wellness issues personally. There is no ‘travel to work’ scheme – walk”

The above environment sounds toxic, unbearable, disheartening and exhausting. I would certainly not apply for the advertised post!

Many executives and others in leadership positions believe that company culture is a human resources responsibility – those in Human Resources are paid to do this job! While those in human resources may view culture development strategically, taking a bird’s-eye view of its growth, the real catalysts for the formation of an endearing company culture, however, are all those who lead, from the chief executive to the supervisor. They need to model the values. They need to exercise fairness. They need to care. They need to practice authentic engagement. They need to make sure that salaries and conditions of employment are market-related or better. They need to provide adequate and reliable resources. They need to supply relevant and sufficient pieces of information to reduce uncertainty. They need to treat everyone with dignity and respect. They also need to provide training and development opportunities for all.

Executives have to “model the way” when it comes to creating a great corporate culture. Any superficial approaches which don’t mirror the values of the company will ultimately be detrimental with respect to developing alignment to the values and commitment from all to the behavioural expectations.

Free To Grow helps organisations develop endearing cultures, providing those in leadership positions with the skills to engage fairly, authentically and effectively with employees

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