Employer Branding

Why Company Culture Matters When Recruiting

A big part of successful recruiting and hiring in a high-growth environment is creating a culture people want to be a part of and want to contribute to. Lots of people talk about the importance of creating a great company culture, but the real challenge is enhancing a good culture as you add people and grow.

A company’s culture is always in the background, either motivating or frustrating employees. Saying you have a great culture and having one might be two different things. And, in the context of recruiting, you can’t hide a bad culture for long. Eventually, people find out.

“Culture” is about establishing a North Star and pointing everyone in that direction. At OnDeck, we’ve spent a lot of time identifying the behaviours we value and those traits that are taboo within the type of company we want to build. Our values inform everything we do and are the reason we are fuelled by the notion of continuous improvement—from the products we bring to market to the recruitment programs we develop.

Cultural fit is critical:

When recruiting, we believe you should never compromise on cultural fit. Never.

Even a potential rock star employee can be a bad hire if they don’t fit the culture. A negative attitude can infect everyone. Even if an individual has remarkable professional skills, hiring a bad cultural fit is a big mistake.

Of course, we want to hire the best people and we’re always looking for them, but how they’ll fit into our culture and how they’ll embrace our values is just as important to us. I know everyone says that, but it’s important enough that we’ve introduced what we call the Culture Interview SWAT Team.

The SWAT Team is a group of people interspersed throughout the organization that interviews potential hires to determine not just whether or not they’ll fit in, but whether or not they will be able to succeed at OnDeck through making lasting and important relationships. The relationships we create among our colleagues in turn have a positive influence on our ability to succeed and deliver business results.

We believe everyone in our company has a responsibility to help each other find success. We spend a lot of energy and time training our leaders to help build a purposeful culture that keeps employees motivated and our company successful. We are a very values-driven organization.

How to keep those values alive:

  1. Make employees a cornerstone of recruitment and onboarding.
  2. Include them in our performance acceleration process (also known as reviews).
  3. Account for how well everyone exhibits the values when they interact with each other and our customers.
  4. Make sure our employees see how our values impact the decisions our senior leaders make by enabling transparency throughout our company.

There’s no shortcut to building a good company culture, but it’s worth the effort. It impacts the work we do, how we do it, and how our customers respond to us. If you’d like to contribute to and be part of our culture, can bring your A-Game to help us build a successful company, and feel passionate about leveraging technology to fuel Main Street businesses all over the country—and now in Canada and Australia—we’d love to talk to you.

Image Credit: Shutterstock

By Lorna Hagen

Lorna Hagen is the SVP of People Operations at OnDeck, the country’s leading online platform for small business loans. Under her people leadership, OnDeck has more than doubled the number of employees and completed an incredibly successful IPO.