I’ve said it before, but it bears repeating: Your company has a culture, just as you have your own personal culture. Period. End of story. Maybe you don’t know what your culture is, and maybe you’ve done nothing to actively build your culture, but you can’t not have one. From the second you started thinking about your company, your actions have been slowly but surely carving out a cultural identity for your business.

That’s important to note, I think, in light of the myriad articles out there about building company culture. I absolutely agree that companies should be deliberate in shaping and managing their culture, but don’t make the mistake of thinking you can just abstain from having a culture. You can control your culture yourself or you can let it arise haphazardly, but you’ll have one, one way or the other.

Culture and Decision Making

This is all so very important because your company culture will absolutely inform your corporate decision-making—and vice versa. It’s sort of an endless loop: Your decisions will be influenced by your company’s fundamental values, and those decisions will in turn shape your company’s values. And on and on it goes.

This includes decision making at all levels, but your hiring decisions may top the list. A recent article from Entrepreneur.com explains why this is so: “Entrepreneurs work hard to build and cultivate the culture of their organizations. But company culture doesn’t result from an edict from upper management. It’s made up of the work and values of every employee. Each new hire can contribute to sustaining or eroding that culture.”

Continues the article: “Hiring employees who understand and exemplify company values serves to reinforce the organization’s mission and vision and create a tighter team.”

Hiring for Fit

That’s all well and good—but how does a company hire new employees for organizational fit—not just for skills or items on a resume? The article offers a trio of good tips:

  • Think about your values, and translate them into a list of behaviors.
  • Use that list of behaviors to come up with relevant interview questions.
  • Be deliberate in communicating your core cultural values to job applicants/interviewees.

That all sounds fair enough to me—but I hasten to add that the really important first step is just acknowledging that your company has a culture, and being honest with yourself about what that culture is; how you might like to change it; and how it ultimately plays out in your decision-making, hiring and otherwise.