Corporate culture is a key consideration that job seekers weigh when accessing their potential fit with a company. But what exactly is culture? While other dimensions of job fit like salary, benefits, job title and role responsibilities seem rather straightforward, culture is different. Culture is an ambient quality that's difficult to parse.
Your company's culture is like its personality. It can seem abstract, making it challenging for interviewers and interviewees to evaluate and measure in their discussions about corporate culture. But it's vitally important. A growing body of research shows that healthy, strategic corporate culture correlates with better financial performance, greater innovation and increased customer satisfaction.
Glassdoor recently partnered with MIT Sloan Management Review (SMR) to create a tool - the Culture 500 - that identifies and quantifies the most important components of culture. Read on for more insight, and make sure to watch Dr. Donald Sull, MIT Sloan School of Management senior lecturer and creator of the Culture 500, explain the tool in depth in our video, The 5 Myths of Company Culture.
More Than Instinct
Leaders construct corporate culture mindfully and purposefully. Healthy corporate cultures are dynamic, self-reflective, poised to weather growth. Culture is one of leadership's most important products: in fact, Glassdoor data reveals: "Companies that were listed among the Best Places to Work based on their corporate culture delivered nearly 20 percent higher returns to shareholders relative to comparable companies over a five-year period."
Culture is important to job seekers too. After all, they are aren't just pursuing job fit; they're also pursuing cultural fit. Glassdoor Chief Economist Dr. Andrew Chamberlain points out: "According to Glassdoor data, company culture is among the top factors that job seekers consider as part of their job search."
Clearly, culture is a top consideration for leaders and job seekers alike. Such a vital evaluation has to been driven by more than gut feelings. Providing a meaningful window into corporate culture empowers candidates to do the deep, systematic evaluation that a lasting job fit requires. When candidates are better informed, it leads to more productive interviews and increases the chances that they will stay once you've hired them. After all, they have a better sense of what they are signing on for.
The Culture 500
Created by Sull, the Culture 500 tool applies AI technology to Glassdoor's rich data, scientifically ranking the corporate cultures of more than 500 top U.S. companies. Collectively, the companies employ 34 million people, accounting for approximately one-quarter of private sector employment.
MIT researchers started their work by analyzing 1.2 million Glassdoor reviews. They used a natural, language processing algorithm to classify free text into more than 80 culture-related topics; those were then categorized into nine cultural values. Affectionately termed "the Big Nine," the cultural values include: collaboration, integrity, agility, diversity, customer orientation, execution, innovation, performance and respect.
The algorithm calculates the percentage of mentions and positive reviews that each company earns across each of the Big Nine values. This renders culture a measurable continuum. Job seekers can customize their searches by pulling a set of companies and comparing them along any of the Big Nine values.
The Culture 500 systematizes cultural analysis for companies and for job seekers alike. It makes the abstract tangible, inviting informed conversations about culture, which benefit those on both sides of the table.
Parsing Culture: Getting to Know the "Big Nine"
Culture is on employees' minds, and it drives their relationships with their employers. In fact, 96 percent of Glassdoor reviews that the MIT team sampled discuss some element of culture. This helped researchers isolate the Big Nine.
The Big Nine are those aspects of culture that matter most in today's job market. Here's how they break out:
Agility: Agile companies are nimble, flexible and quick to seize opportunities. Internet and management consulting companies are leading industries when it comes to this value. Uber is a top-notch practitioner of this corporate value.
Collaboration: When companies exercise this value, their employees are cohesive and productive, within their group and across teams. Fast food and retail apparel are some industries that have this down to a science; HP is a standout.
Customer: The customers' needs are central, for businesses that radiate this value. The company prides itself on listening to customers and creating value for them. Pharma & biotech and Medical devices are leading industries, while Chick Fil A is a distinguished player.
Diversity: Bring yourself, because there's a place for everyone in these inclusive cultures. Diversified financial services and consumer goods are some top industries when it comes to cultivating diverse cultures, and TD Bank is a leader.
Execution: Companies implement this value by fostering behaviors like taking personal accountability for results, delivering on commitments, prioritizing the activities that matter most, and adhering to process discipline. Toyota is a high performer when it comes to execution.
Innovation: Companies that value and fuel creativity and experimentation and are eager to implement new ideas exhibit this value. Communications equipment and enterprise software are lead industries when it comes to innovation, and SpaceX is a standout.
Integrity: Staff members across the board, from entry-level professionals to company leaders, maintain a code of honesty and ethics that consistently inform their actions. Industrial conglomerates and electrical equipment companies are leading industries when it comes to integrity, and Charles Schwab is top notch.
Performance: The company recognizes performance and rewards results through compensation, recognition and promotion, and it handles underperforming employees tactfully and strategically. The insurance and semi-conductor industries stand out when it comes to performance, and Goldman Sachs is a leader.
Respect: Employees, managers and leaders exercise consideration and courtesy for each other. They treat one another with dignity, and they take one another's perspectives seriously. Consumer goods and enterprise software are high performers when it comes to this value and SAP is a standout.
Fueled by Transparency
Sull explains: "The Culture 500 shines a light on a million employee voices, pulling culture out of the shadows and transforming it into strategically rich, actionable data… Whether you are an executive, manager, entrepreneur, board member, investor, employee or job-seeker, this tool offers a revolutionary framework for comparing corporate culture, evaluating fit and identifying ways to improve."
It represents another way that Glassdoor invites transparency to inform employers' and employees' professional experience. This way, job seekers can find the corporate culture that fits their life, which positions them to thrive and to stay.