By Aleece Hobson

Corporate culture is the personality of an organization, and it can’t be fabricated, falsified, or duplicated. However, culture has become an overused buzzword in newsletters, articles, webinars, and speaking topics, often discussed as a “soft concept” in a highly subjective and ethereal world. Let’s get one thing straight, culture is not a soft concept; it is concrete. So, while we often hear about the importance of workplace culture, it is imperative to understand the impact it has on your firm. In the coming age of the talent gap, this element is key in the ever-expanding battle for attracting and retaining leading professionals.

So, what drives a solid culture? Leadership. A strong culture starts at the top. The top tier of a firm must think innovatively when molding the culture. Organizations are no longer simply competing for clients; they are also competing on the grounds of how they treat their employees and what they represent to their community. A culture with unified ideas and values, reflected in firm leadership, will attract the best talent and instill an unbreakable loyalty. These firms will also achieve higher productivity and deliver top quality products and services.

A well-defined corporate culture answers the tough questions. Will the company focus on becoming an integrated member of the community? Should employees work independently or in teams? How important is work life balance? An organization with a positive culture turns the answers to these questions into the very foundation of their firm. They share these beliefs with everyone – both internally and externally.

The process of sharing your company beliefs begins with the hiring process. A solid corporate culture means hiring individuals that fit the personality of the organization. A hiring manager must be aware of the traits that will make an employee successful, and use them as a litmus test during hiring. While interviewing, it is important to ask solid questions that allow prospective employees to respond and reveal who they truly are. As the candidate is speaking, listen for keywords that fit within the firm’s culture. When a candidate is an organic fit, results will be seen. Remember, skills can be learned, but personality and beliefs are inherent.

In the end, a firm’s culture is like a snowflake - there a no two alike and they come in many forms. With the right elements, a solid culture thrives, but when neglected, it melts into nothingness.