Smart, talented people care about where they work.
Good companies know this and strive to create a place where smart, talented people will feel excited about working. They know that potential employees care about things like:
- the kinds of products they build / services they provide
- the customers they serve
- the tools they use
- the people they work with
- the compensation they receive to do this work
These are all things that companies cover in their job openings at length in an effort to sell you on applying to the firm. But one big element is missing from that list – something that plays a “crucial role in worker wellbeing and engagement” according to a 2006 Gallup study:
The role of managers and the corporation’s management style / culture.
It seems that most business skip out on the section that matters – how decisions are made, how performance will be evaluated, how the team communicates, etc. Obviously theses things are communicated implicitly – especially during the interview process, but organizations don’t just “put it all out there”. There are notable exceptions to this rule that only showcase how rare it really is:
Unsurprisingly, these are also companies which have many, many people wanting to work there (Southwest Airlines had 90k applications for 830 hires in 2009). I believe being more open and clear about the way the organization is run is a competitive advantage. People who aren’t interested in the culture won’t waste your time – and the people who ARE interested in the culture become even more interested in working at the firm.
I understand that every manager is different – but that doesn’t mean there shouldn’t be approaches to management and the way things operate that are done that permeate throughout the company. We already expect to know about a company’s market, its product, and its team – why not its management style? I suspect there are a few reasons:
- Many orgs don’t have a well-thought out culture / management process
- Many orgs would be embarrassed to describe the culture / management process as it exists in their company today
- Many orgs don’t see their culture / management process as a core part of their offering to employees
- Many orgs don’t know what a good culture / management process looks like
Perhaps there are others – but none of the reasons I just listed are particularly good ones. (My not-that-inner hard-ass is yelling “No excuses!” right now.)
In today’s knowledge-based society where productivity comes from much more from creative output than from physical labor, and hiring the best performers is key – there are many good reasons to explicitly state your company’s culture and management style.
What do you think? I’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments.
- How to Develop a Leadership Style (WSJ.com)
- Employee Engagement and Financial Performance (Gallup Study)
- How to Manage Smart People (Scott Berkun)
- Managing Business Creativity (Teresa Amabile)
- Netflix Presentation on Culture (Slideshare)
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