Defining Company Culture

The Management Recruitment Group completes in excess of 250 retained recruitment campaigns per year. The vast majority are within the Real Estate, Development and Operations space helping organisations recruit new talent to strategic roles across their organisations.

When we discuss our process with our clients, one of the key elements is how we articulate the proposition to the candidate pool. This entails verbally being able to explain the role requirements, where it sits within an organisations structure and why this is a career enhancing move compared to their current role. We also tend to create visually pleasing, detailed candidate briefing documents to provide more information to read and video content to watch.

It’s safe to say, that as experienced recruitment professionals we’re able to more than competently describe the key selection criteria and competencies which have been agreed with the clients. It’s easy to give the hard facts of the organisation or the elements of the role which are tangible; think team size, project values, service charge or similar.

According to research by Deloitte, 94% of executives and 88% of employees believe a distinct corporate culture is important to a business’ success.º We find that most of our clients cite their “culture” as one of the main selling points to why they are successful and emphasise that this is something we should turn to when articulating a new opportunity to candidates. And we’ve all heard and read the line… “They/We have a great culture!”  Great! But what does this mean? Is “Great Culture” a universally accepted phenomenon? How do you define culture? The fact is that culture isn’t consistently good, everyone’s view on what makes a good culture will be different. What I think a positive or good culture looks like might be someone else’s idea of an awful culture.

So, the question remains, how do recruiters articulate the culture of an organisation in an objective and universally attractive way?

Well, what exactly do we mean when we talk about culture? Workplace culture is a vague term that is most easily described as being an organisation’s “DNA”, the values shared by its individuals, defining how a company functions and the principles it lives by. A healthy internal culture has long been seen as a building block of performance, belonging and success.

So, when you talk about a company’s culture, you are articulating their shared values. Values that every individual, from the CEO right down to the graduates, strive to live by. The Harvard Business Review defines culture as “expressing goals through values and beliefs and guides activity through shared assumptions and group norms”.¹ It’s the ideas which are encouraged, discouraged, accepted, or rejected within a group. When properly aligned with personal values, drives, and needs, culture can unleash tremendous amounts of energy toward a shared purpose and foster an organization’s capacity to thrive.


Culture, not “Mirror-tocracy”.

According to the Financial Times article “What do we mean when we talk about workplace culture?” by Annie Auerbach ², a Mirror-tocracy is where “companies create an echo chamber, where there is a lack of diverse voices and experiences.”

Oftentimes, culture can fall into this dangerously narrow definition, whereby employees simply “get” the same jokes and share the same cultural references as the leaders in the business. It’s important to stress that this is not a good example of workplace culture. In the long term this is bad for a company’s bottom line, while studies have shown diversity encourages more innovation and better problem-solving.

Therefore, it’s important as recruiters that we really get to know our clients. Ideally, it’s worth speaking to more than one person on the team, so you can contrast and compare their opinions. Staff that work for a company with a “good culture” will share and uphold strong values and strive to achieve a common goal together – whichever department they are in. The definition of culture is to cultivate and grow, and that is what a good culture in an organisation does – it grows organically, through the shared values of its staff. By getting a full 360 view of an organisation and the cogs within it, you can relay this back to the candidate candidly and honestly.

And as employers, it’s crucial that we are able to define what makes our company culture unique. Whether relaying this to a new starter, or a prospective candidate, it needs to stand out in a way which makes the individual say – “I want to be a part of this”.


Finding your “why”

When we think about companies with a strong culture, what does that mean?

As the well-known legend goes, President Kennedy was visiting NASA’s headquarters in 1962 when he met a janitor in the hallway. He asked the janitor what he did for NASA, and he replied, “I’m helping put a man on the moon.” He saw where his contribution fit in the organisation, and how his purpose fed into the greater picture. He understood that his contribution mattered.

Companies with a strong purpose and a strong culture, are able to articulate that offering to their staff – from the senior directors to the graduate recruits. By cultivating a culture where everyone’s role is integral, it brings everyone along on that journey. Rather than seeing their job as a series of isolated tasks, it’s seen in terms of the bigger picture and the company’s ultimate goal. According to Jude King, “Work is more meaningful when daily responsibilities have broader significance. When day-to-day responsibilities are imbued with a deep sense of significance, individuals thrive and weather even the most daunting aspects of employment including challenging task, low wages and stigmatized work.” ³

It can be daunting knowing where to begin when articulating culture. For some organisations they may feel they have lost sight of their purpose; or, like ourselves, they are embarking on the journey to create one. But one thing is certain; in a candidate-led market, it’s never been more important to articulate your offering, beyond the salary and benefits package. As we come out of the pandemic, we are looking at our own “Why” and assessing what MRG seeks to achieve. While we have a collective understanding of what we seek to achieve verbalising it is more difficult.


I find organisations with clear values and sense of true purpose much easier to represent from a recruitment standpoint. Often times the culture of the business is set by its leaders but lived by the teams underneath. MRG are able to offer significant support to our clients in understanding their sense of “why”, how to articulate values and what this means to recruitment and employee retention.

If you’d like to have a conversation about how The Management Recruitment Group can help your organisation to cultivate a strong working culture and learn how to articulate it, please get in touch.






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