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Recruitment vs career culture shock

Hiring Fair
Hiring Fair
Photo by Spencer Platt/Getty Images

Transitioning into a new job can be difficult when the new position has an unfamiliar culture. There are typically two types of cultures with each organization. There is the publicly advertised culture and the actual employee experienced culture.

When you begin the process of job searching, often we are impressed with the advertised culture. There will be many positive and catchy mission statements, and strategically placed verbiage that indicates inclusion and diversity. The websites will include useful social media widget links to blogs and videos that will encourage you to believe that this is where you could fit in. Many of the faces on the website and media links will have someone that will look and sound like you. Corporations now go the extra mile to even shop their employee affinity groups so that any and everyone that is associated with some personal alliance can feel that they now have another resource for support. You are so excited to join this organization when they call and make you an offer.

Six months into your career with this organization, why are you feeling the same way you felt at the other corporation you left behind? Unrealistic expectations could be a major contributor.

Regardless of the vision any business owner has, ultimately, they must have revenue to sustain themselves in the marketplace. The bottom line: money matters. Whether the money is considered revenue through sales or received in donations, without income, a corporation cannot meet the demands and expectations of payroll (salaries, medical coverage, dental coverage, eye care, tuition reimbursement and 401K retirement plans). Without sufficient income, corporations and organizations will struggle to meet the expectations of stock/stake holders. No matter how elegantly we would prefer it be worded, in a nutshell, (income, revenue, donations) money must be a constant inflow. That is the real and primary culture that applicants often ignore when seeking employment.

Human capital is the primary engine that makes up the bases of any organization. Human capital is also the single largest expense to an organization. One would think that with those factors being taken into consideration, more effort would be made to ensure the success of its employees by being completely honest instead of commercially correct when orientating new hires into the workplace. Sadly, as corporations become larger and seek to appear competitive in the recruitment pool, it is easier to overlook the basic human resource guidelines which are to seek and ensure basic business acumen skills are present with every applicant and enforced with every employee.

Because major corporations are turning into mega media campaigns to draw the best and brightest talent by attaching their business brand to every social norm, the marketing and communications department ends up running the hiring fairs and selling the corporation on an inappropriately perceived atmosphere instead of an actual mission of financial responsibility and service to its communities. In an attempt to attract and lure candidates, potential employees are shopped among recruiters by dangling carrots that resemble:

· Flextime

· Work-from-home opportunities

· Immediate from the start medical coverage

· Tuition Reimbursement (even previous student loans)

· Impressive Titles

· Promises of challenging but not difficult work

· # of vacation and sick days

· # of paid holidays

· Impressive per diem rates

· Partnerships with impressive clients

· Employee discounts

Often, new hires are so focused on what is in it for themselves when they come in that they forget the primary purpose of why they were hired: to perform. While on the company paid cell phone bragging about the company issued laptop, while taken an all expenses paid airline flight to a company meeting, it can be easy for employees to forget that to whom much is given; much is required. Ultimately, this is precisely when the new hire may begin to question the ‘real’ culture of the organization as opposed to the one that was advertised. It happens right about the time an employee is given feedback and or a probationary performance review that does not fit with their entitled perks perception of performance.

Human Resources or members of an established professional development team should invest a few additional hours of orientation covering the translation of many company perceived perks. For instance, a company issued laptop translated could mean, “don’t miss any emails; regardless of what time the message was sent. “ Human resources should be required to provide more specific translations of the organizations culture norms and behavior expectations. Being provided a laptop in one corporation could translate to something totally different in another corporation and the genuine expectations should be discussed and reviewed. Expectations can vary within the same organization by department so clarity should be provided as soon and as often as possible.

A general rule of thumb is that if you perceive a lot of freedom and perks are given, then you should also anticipate that you are perceived as mentally and emotionally free to be more creative and productive in your role. Yes, the organization values you and wants to provide you with the best atmosphere possible; but that is because there is an expectation of a return on their investment; the necessary productivity to meet the demands of their customers which provide the revenue for the perks you have come to enjoy.