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You may have experienced this yourself. Remember a job you accepted that didn’t reflect the reality of what you experienced after you started the job? It could have been due to a variety of different elements and reasons.
The first element is culture. When we’re talking culture, we’re really talking about what it takes to fit into an organization. You may have been told upfront in the interviewing process, “Oh, the organization is very achievement-oriented, we’re really goals-oriented. It’s a lot of fun to work here.” Your actual experience of the culture might be that it’s a bit dreary, it’s overly autocratic, and it isn’t the fun environment you were sold on in the job interview.
Your role as a leader is to see if you can help create the culture (or at least a subculture) in your team that does reflect some of the promises being made during the hiring process.
Culture is influenced primarily by two factors, one of which is leadership behavior. That is, your behavior and the behavior of the other leaders in your organization, including the senior leaders. The second factor is the HR policies or rules that govern how people interact and get promoted and how performance gets measured in your organization.
The second element is to reflect reality. You need to reflect the reality of working in your business. You have two options: improve the reality so it does reflect the promises made during that recruiting process, or tell the truth about some of the factors that do affect the workplace.
For example, if the scheduling is difficult or the work itself can be strenuous or difficult, let people know that upfront, so they don’t have a country club mindset when they’re really going to be working in the dungeon.
The third element is to make reality better. Making the reality better is partly your job and also the job of your fellow leaders and your HR department. Work on your leadership skills so the experience people are having is a positive one. Together with your HR team, look at your policies, or the rules that govern performance management, how people get promoted, how people ask for time off, vacation entitlements and so forth. Those policies can sometimes be so punitive it creates a very bureaucratic culture. You can influence those and control your own leadership behaviors.
You can stop the false advertising and make the product match the promotion, but why not instead make the product equal to or better than the promises made in the hiring process.
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