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Culture--Better Than Bling

Byline: Emily Osterhaus

Company culture is often what causes an individual to want to stay (or leave) a company. If the culture stinks, employees feel no pull to stay and no remorse when leaving. I’ve personally seen people take a pay cut to leave a company that didn’t have good company culture. Leaving something stable that pays well and has good benefits to try to find something with better culture is a pretty bold statement, and it says a lot about the importance of culture.


When looking for a new career opportunity, people tend to consciously look for a few things: a salary increase (usually), paid vacation time, and great benefits. All of that stuff is easy to advertise to candidates. It’s what they’re unconsciously looking for that can be a bit more difficult: a place where they feel they fit in and know how they fit in.


Most companies offer competitive pay, time off, and benefits for their employees. I’ve seen some companies boast about how great they are for giving their employees mugs, pens, and jackets, but those aren’t things that they’ll often use outside of the office.


That need to belong, to feel significant, and like how we fit in is where company culture comes in. Culture is not an easy thing to define. One definite thing about culture is that it’s easy to tell when it’s lacking.It’s not giving out jackets embroidered with the company’s logo and it’s not giving out mugs and pens. It’s the feeling that you’re in the right role with the right company at the right time. When our complex ‘sense of belonging’ needs are met by the company we work for, we feel a sense of pride in our work, and we feel proud to be a part of the team. It makes us want to do our best work.


It’s a bit of a virtuous cycle; a great company culture creates happy, satisfied employees who in turn create a great culture. There’s one thing I know for sure and that’s that great companies lead with their culture.


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