Shut up about the almond milk: Why company culture STILL reigns supremePosted over 4 years ago by Nick Boulton

This week, I attended a CW Jobs roundtable about their latest research about hiring in the tech industry . One topic in particular made the hairs on the back of my neck bristle:

“What do Generation Z prioritise when looking for their next job?”

It threw up some surprising views about how ‘company culture’ was declining and that opportunities for individuals were more important: the ability to work on ‘interesting’ projects that would further their careers and make them more valuable, was at the top of the list.

So, let me get this straight. As a business owner, not only do I have to offer…

  • Great working environments
  • Free fruit
  • Drinks
  • Break out spaces
  • Bean bags
  • A full range of company benefits
  • Inflated salaries and more

… I now need to ensure these commercial infants get to work exclusively on the best projects – making them a more valuable commodity in preparation for their next role – while sweeping 20 years of company culture under the carpet? Bite me!

Culture isn’t a nice-to-have, it’s essential. It’s the thread that keeps everything together. It’s paramount when deciding whom to hire. Without a strong culture running through your veins, how else do you stand out from the crowd? How else do you navigate turbulent waters of economic uncertainty and generational divide?

Unless you have a strong and clear company culture - especially in tough times – you’re inviting toxicity to fester instead. And this becomes even harder when you’re trying to scale. After all, the culture you bed in when you’re a fledging start-up might not be right when you’re at Series B.

And the buck stops with a company’s leadership. It’s incumbent on them to evolve a company’s culture while remaining true to its values… but you can only lead a horse to water.

Here’s the cold hard truth many young workers need to reckon with: If they spent more time focusing on doing an outstanding job, did everything to impress their boss, manager or work colleagues, embraced company culture to the core and learned that being successful is bloody hard work, they probably wouldn’t be as fragile, demanding or needy. They might even be a touch successful.

Never have I known so many sick days taken, excuses for tardiness, and less responsibility taken for one’s own actions. Stop whining about the almond milk running out, what clients, team or projects you might be working on or sulking that your last review didn’t lay out your entire career road map.

Knuckle down, work hard, suck up that company culture and who knows—you actually might enjoy your job, make some money and – GASP – become more valuable along the way.