In 2015, The New York Times investigated work conditions in America’s eighth largest Fortune 500 company: Amazon. As soon as the exposé was published, the world was shocked to discover that the working environment in Jeff Bezos’ Goliath was, as the newspaper described it, “bruising”.
Since then, the idea of a company culture has taken hold. Business culture now is one of the hottest topics among business reporters, CEOs, HR execs, and even ordinary people. As the media raises awareness of the importance of a healthy working environment, huge corporations like Google, Netflix, and Under Armour have been moved to improve company culture.
But what is company culture?
First of all, it’s not a new concept.
The term “organizational culture” was first introduced by Dr. Elliott Jaques in 1951, referring to the “way of thinking and doing of things, which is shared to a greater or lesser degree by all its members.” Accordingly, company culture can be good, bad, or even non-existent.
In an attempt to maintain a healthy working environment and avoid pitfalls, businesses started taking the idea of good company culture seriously (i.e. you’d much rather be the organization with the creative company culture than the one with the toxic company culture).
With so much focus on company culture from both the media and the public, someone could reasonably assume that company culture training is, in fact, offered everywhere.
The answer is no. Company culture is still neglected. Especially at the early stages of the employee lifecycle.
Company culture training missing despite new hires’ needs
According to an onboarding new employees study conducted by TalentLMS, 61% of new hires receive zero training on company values, mission, and culture. Trainers’ number one concern is still compliance, while 46 % and 41 % of new hire training focus on business practices and technical skills, respectively.
Although corporate culture training is often overlooked, new hires seem to care a lot about emotional, culture-related challenges when they start a new job.
The study examined 399 individuals. Fifty-five percent responded that their main hurdles about their onboarding had to do with issues related to the environment and culture (i.e., fitting in, conflicts with co-workers, learning the expectations of their supervisors, etc.). The other 45% addressed more practical challenges such as performing well, learning how to do their job, etc.
So, by comparing the type of onboarding training currently offered with the actual needs new hires express, we can understand why only 35% agreed that their onboarding training equipped them with the resources to deal with their challenges.
Establishing a healthy company culture
Dr. Allison M. Ellis, Ph.D., TalentLMS’ academic partner, had a straightforward question she wanted to examine: how meeting their supervisors on day one would affect new hires’ satisfaction with onboarding.
Believe it or not, 15% of the respondents said they didn’t meet their supervisor on the first day at work, and their overall onboarding experience scored a satisfaction rate of 20%. For those welcomed by their supervisors, the number doubled to 41% leading to a good first impression and a gradual fabrication of a warm company culture.
So, even if training on values and goals is not part of a business’ onboarding process, the slightest alteration in the way employees behave with one another right at the beginning can work as an introduction to a gracious organizational culture.
The study concludes that employees look for a workspace where the same values, goals, and visions are shared. And once they find it and form a connection with real human beings, they’re more likely to stay for the long haul.
About the author: Aris Apostolopoulos is a content writer at TalentLMS and a follower of the continuous learning philosophy. His work can be found at TalentLMS Blog where he publishes long-form reports and posts on the latest eLearning news and trends.