Kelley Kalbas

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The Fascination With Company Culture

The Fascination With Company Culture

One of my favorite topics is company culture. I find it completely fascinating in my job as a Relationship Manager. I envy anyone that is able to do culture work with large companies - working with senior leadership, to analyze, change, or define corporate culture. Sometimes, I think that a career change is in order for me!

I have always believed that if large companies paid more attention to and worked to understand and define a culture that would attract and retain the best talent, so many “training” issues would be solved or at least improved. Hiring the right people starts with attracting them.

I was recently reading Fortune Magazine’s article on 100 Best Companies to Work For in 2015. These are the companies that get it. They are using culture as a competitive tool. Companies like Twitter, Google, Adobe Systems, Publix, American Express, and Workday. They also believe their financial success can be attributed to their happy and engaged employees. Google has the top spot on the list for the 6th time in 8 years! Google’s leaders explicitly attribute the company’s stellar financial performance to its benevolent people practices. Fortune goes on to state that since 1998, the 100 best companies to work for have outperformed the S&P 500 index by a ratio of nearly 2 to 1.

Today, as a Relationship Manager, I have to adapt my style to the corporate cultures of the companies I work with. I’m constantly evaluating the talent of consultants with multiple measuring sticks. I not only ask the question “can they do this job?” More importantly, I ask “can they do this job, and make a connection with this client?” Will they fit in to the corporate culture? Will it be a good place for the consultant as well? Is it a good match? It’s amazing the differences in work style, how meetings are run, flexible work hours, openness to ideas, and how these things change from American Express to UPS to AT&T.

Maybe it’s not too late for me! I could get a new fancy Organization Psychology MS degree and an entry level position at a consulting firm and help companies recognize the power they can have in their corporate culture. As the BoDeans’ song goes, “it’s good work if you can get it.”

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