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Are You Recruiting For Your Culture of The Future?

How often do you question your company culture and the impact that has on your recruitment decisions?

The impact of Covid-19 on company culture and how we grow and develop our teams is more important than ever. Meeting the culture challenge within this new normal home-working/hybrid environment is now fast becoming a hot topic of debate and a significant issue for companies to master, especially when it comes to shaping their recruitment strategies. Is there a right answer?

In this article I discuss this topic with Leadership Effectiveness consultant Kate Thomas from sister company NewlandRock. We look at how company culture is created; should you be hiring now for a culture fit, culture add, or culture change and the mistakes organisations make when they don’t fully understand where they need to be on that culture curve.

Kate Thomas from Newland Rock

Kate Thomas From Newland Rock

When thinking about defining culture we start off by looking at the values and behaviours that the senior leadership team are demonstrating, as that is what duplicates and filters down through an organisation.

When an organisation is relatively small it’s undoubtedly easier to embed a clear set of values and live and breathe a strong culture. The challenge comes when that organisation grows. Kate explains her thoughts on this.

“In my experience growth can become the Achilles heel for culture in a lot of organisations. In their foundational years many companies hire people like themselves with the same appetite, values, and vision. The challenge is keeping those leaders aligned on the longer-term ambition. The companies that I’ve seen continue to build a strong culture are consciously evolving, clear on what success looks like as they evolve, with a focus on the behaviours that they want to see – they are meticulous with hiring. When a company isn’t clear on what environment they are trying to create (high performance isn’t a strong enough pull) they find their performance levels dip.

This is when you end up with mini franchises opening in your organisation and everyone starts to create their own sub-cultures.  This situation makes it difficult for companies to deliver results for their shareholders as tracking performance becomes harder, and there is no consistency on how or what good performance looks like across the board. This can inevitably lead to creating a negative, firefighting, them v’s us environment and an organisational culture that people struggle to identify with”

Has Covid-19 Changed Company Culture for Good?

The sudden change to our working environment during Covid-19 has created not just a range of hybrid work patterns but also in leadership skills. In my role as an executive search consultant at BartonRock, I’ve had numerous conversations around the challenges presented in managing a disrupted team culture and identity effectively. Many senior leaders are having to re-think the way they communicate, for example and how they engage with their teams. In some cases, they are having to work harder as the goal posts have changed, yes, they have to deliver results but keeping the wellbeing and motivation levels high within their teams is a big priority and requires a fresh approach.  Dialling up leadership skills such as being empathetic, relatable, and personable.  The need for leadership skills that drive culture forward is greater than ever before.

Online Meetings

After the initial dramatic shift to online working, zooming and slack channels, many companies are now debating what stays as part of their new working culture of the future, and what goes. The pandemic helped companies and employees to see what parts of their culture they valued, how they manage their own productivity levels and the importance of a work-life balance.  The growing movement towards introducing a 4-day working week is now a hot topic that many companies and countries are seriously debating with Scotland amongst many of the countries planning to launch a trial four-day workweek following a campaign promise made by the SNP

What is the new culture they are hiring for? Kate’s thoughts on this are interesting. Are they recruiting for the job or the person?

Where Are You on The Culture Curve?

“When companies are considering their recruitment plans, the first question they should ask themselves is what do you want this appointment to fix? What are you really hiring for?  Are you hiring someone to add to the future culture of your organisation?  If so, what does great look like as you grow?  In many cases organisations are hiring to put out a fire somewhere today with someone who will be a ‘fit’ for a couple of years? Will that really add anything to your culture? Does a fit for today match up with where you want to go as an organisation?

The next step and what differentiates successful hiring is shifting from interviewing for the job and focusing on interviewing the person. How does this person fit our needs for the future?

This comes back to the original question of what are you hiring for?  If you get your culture right, then you will sleep well at night.  Recruiting the right people will be a challenge when an organisation has plateaued, and something needs to look different. What do the behaviours that change the culture gears need to look like?  That’s about the company having a clear vision so they can start to identify people that fit within that.  Companies need to decide where they are on the culture curve.  What do you need? Each stage of that culture curve needs something different. Are you looking to find a culture add, fit or complete change? Does that candidate bring the potential to be a part of your change journey?”

Are You Adding To Your Team Culture

Hiring For Culture Means Hiring for Behaviours

There’s no doubt that it’s going to be a different working environment in the future, people have got a taste for home-working and the race for space is pushing up the prices of homes in the country with space for a homeworking office. The working culture of the future is going to be permanently different to the way it was.  This is a great opportunity for companies to evaluate their hiring processes to ensure that they are adjusting the success criteria to match up with what the market demands and what they need.  Speed is of the essence as this new way of working is already 18 months old. Partnering with external advisors like NewlandRock is a way to mitigate risk and leverage expertise such as candidate assessment tools to help organisations dive into the qualitative data behind the person and find the fit for the company culture of the future.

For more information on how Kate Thomas can help you with candidate assessment, leadership effectiveness coaching or talent strategy advice on the best way to develop the culture within your teams please contact Kate at

For more information on how you can maximise your recruitment strategy to fit with your culture plans for the future please contact Guy Day at

About BartonRock: We are the executive search partner for companies where data-driven digital leadership is intrinsic to growth.

We manage the careers of leaders whose know-how and commercial acumen within digital steers the strategic direction and future survival of companies.

Our assignments search for executives who understand how to implement and lead data-centric digital agendas.

For more information visit: or contact or call +44 (0) 20 8092 6048.

You can also subscribe to BartonRock’s Digital Careers podcast by visiting Apple Podcasts

Looking for support in Leadership Effectiveness? Speak to our sister company led by Kate Thomas

Focused on Assessment | Executive Coaching | Wellbeing Solutions – Internationally