Why Culture Eats Job Descriptions for Breakfast

Ok, so I know that’s not the quote. It’s “culture eats strategy for breakfast”, but the point remains the same.

In fact, you could say that culture eats most things for breakfast.

Why? To paraphrase the author himself, Peter Drucker, it’s not that strategy (or job descriptions) are unimportant, it’s that a powerful and empowering culture is a surer route to success.

And that without a great culture, most initiatives will fail before they even begin.

Why does a person want to work for anyone?


We can apply Peter Drucker’s thinking to many different facets of a business, but in this case, let’s apply it to recruitment.

The act of looking for a job has many dynamics, but one is always prevalent – top talent will always evaluate the culture of an organisation. They will make a series of decisions that will ultimately impact your success in hiring them. From first application, to whether they accept an interview, to what they think of your organisation when sitting in reception and watching all the passers-by, to whether they accept your job offer over another one – culture will be up there with all other key considerations, including total remuneration. Even if you offer the best salary in the world, if your culture’s bad, they won’t take the role.

What overcomes even the dullest of jobs?


There are some jobs that aren’t all that sexy. But in the right company, they can be. Take Google or Facebook for example. They have the same need for support that any company has, including some roles that you might steer away from if it were to be advertised by not such a ‘high profile’ organisation with a renowned culture. Use this to your advantage when recruiting – show top talent what’s on offer beyond the role spec. What can you give them, how can you motivate them and what’s in store for them should they come in succeed at this initial role?

What drives someone to do a good job?


Likewise, once they’re in the job, no matter how well defined their role is, how good they are, and how many awesome sounding objectives the role description has, if they don’t feel empowered or supported by the business culture around them, they will struggle to succeed and may become disengaged. You simply can’t create a ‘great role’ with lots of interesting projects if your culture isn’t right. Vice versa, if you can’t give someone all of those interesting pieces of the puzzle, give them culture. Give them involvement in social events and working groups across the company, give them something to look forward to every Monday.

After all, how you feel about the company you work for is how you feel about your job. Funnily enough, it’s rarely about what you actually ‘do’ that matters, it’s ‘who’ you do it for.

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