onboarding

The 7 C’s of Onboarding: How to integrate Culture?

Appical Team
Manouk te Rietmolen
December 8, 2022
8
min read
Table of Contents
Tell me a story about something that only happens in your workplace. Yes, you! Take some time to think about it. What was the first thing that popped into your head? Was it a good or a bad memory?

Well, whatever it was, chances are that this specific event says a lot about the culture in your company. Culture is part of 'the 7 C's of onboarding' (Compliance, Clarification, Culture, Connection, Confidence, Checkback & Creativity) and is therefore an important and interesting topic in the workplace. Let's dive into it.

What is the meaning of Culture?

When speaking of culture, most people tend to visualize other people living in different countries, with different ways of living. But in this blog, we challenge you to think about the culture in your workplace. There are multiple subtle cues that indicate what is acceptable at the workplace and what is not. 

A workplace culture is the shared values, belief systems, attitudes and the set of assumptions that people in a workplace share (Forbes)

Do people say hello to one another in the hallways? Are your coworkers comfortable with expressing their emotions? And is it okay to reply to an email using a GIF?

But don’t forget, several cultures can exist within the same organization. This can also vary per situation. Think of social workers or medics, who will always appear professional towards clients. But they may cry about a hard situation they just faced in front of colleagues in a private room.  

5 reasons why Culture is important

Stories about company cultures and (un)healthy work environments are coming to light more and more. Think of The World Cup in Qatar and the ‘fear culture’ that appeared in De Wereld Draait Door, a Dutch television show. We can definitely say it’s a hot topic. It’s also something we can’t get around: Culture is the environment that surrounds us all the time. 

We believe that the focus on culture should be a top priority for companies. Here are some specific reasons why:

1. Employee wellbeing

Workplace culture has a significant impact on employees’ wellbeing. A toxic environment is created by low compensation, poor management, ineffective leadership and conflict among team members. This causes unnecessary stress and often leads to higher turnover and poor results (LinkedIn).

While a positive work culture does the exact opposite, according to Valamis. It prioritizes work-life balance, mindfulness programs and encourages open communication, trust, empathy and respect. It increases loyalty and promotes better job performance. 

2. Employee performance and productivity

Workplace culture influences the way that people perform. A positive and supportive workplace also encourages employees to perform at their best. And organizations with a stronger culture are more likely to be successful ánd they have high productivity levels (Workplace).

3. Attracting talent 

A good culture is also an important factor in attracting top talent. More than 77% of adults would consider a company's culture before applying. In addition, more than half of the 5,000 respondents indicated that company culture is more important than salary when it comes to job satisfaction (Glassdoor's Mission & Culture Survey).

4. Retaining talent

Employees who feel valued, encouraged and respected are more likely to feel connected with the company and to stay at their jobs. Happy employees mean less turnover, which saves companies time and money in the hiring process. Because let’s be honest: If you had to spend 40 hours a week in a negative work environment, you'd already be running, right? 

5. Effective Onboarding

Onboarding is a great way for companies to ensure new hires understand the core values of their business. We can’t expect employees to understand our unique cultures from day one. To get them involved, we need to put in the effort. By creating a culture focused onboarding, it becomes stronger and more effective. 

Types of Work Culture

In general, there are four types of organizational cultures. But to make it more inclusive and less ‘traditional’, we added two extra types of culture in this chapter. And don’t forget: it will always be a difficult topic to wrap your arms around because culture is something intangible. 

  • The Hierarchy Culture

A traditional type of culture where leadership hierarchy, processes and power are important. Most activities and decisions are dictated by existing procedures, rather than a lot of innovation and freethinking.

  • The Market Culture

Results-oriented, hard-working, demanding, and highly competitive. It can be a high-pressure environment, but simultaneously rewarding when that hard work pays off with real, measurable results. 

  • The Adhocracy Culture

Comes from the word “ad-hoc”, which describes this culture type’s tendency to take risks in order to innovate and move quickly. Employees are encouraged to take risks. As a result, a lot of innovation, learning, and growth takes place – for employees and the organization as a whole. 

  • The Clan Culture

Employees are a top priority, and there’s a large focus on trust, collaboration and teamwork. A friendly working environment, likely to use open and informal communication. Employees are seen as ‘family’.

  • The Purpose-driven Culture

Driven by a strong purpose. Their culture is built on a defined, shared reason for being. They attract employees, customers, and partners who share those ideals. Employees know who they serve, what they serve and how to embody brand promises.

  • The Emotional Culture

Most organizations manage their cultures more cognitively than emotionally. We present organizations as rational enterprises when the truth is, as humans, we cannot separate our calculative decisions from our intuition. “Every organization has an emotional culture, even if it’s one of suppression”, says Sigal Barsade. Definitely something to think about. 

How do you apply Culture in your onboarding program? 

Pre-hire phase

The pre-hire phase is a good moment to share which type(s) of culture your company applies. Which characteristics come with it? Is it a match with the personality of the applicant? In this way you are giving yourself and your applicant the opportunity to see whether or not they fit in with your company. 

Preboarding

In the preboarding phase you can share more examples of your company’s culture. How does the company celebrate successes? How and on what occasions do employees provide each other with feedback? But also think about some less informal things, like the dress code and the favorite Spotify playlist in the office. 

Last but not least, the preboarding phase is the perfect moment to invite the new hire to a team activity that gives a good idea of the company culture.

Onboarding

In the onboarding phase it’s best to connect the new hire to a buddy straight away. This provides ongoing support for the new hire and creates room to ask smaller questions as well. Another way to apply culture to your onboarding program is to involve employees from various departments. It will give new hires a bigger picture of company culture, structure, and operations.

Provide opportunities for feedback and questions and don’t forget to show appreciation at all times! 

How to measure the Culture of your workplace? 

The best way to measure the culture of your workplace is by sending out anonymous surveys. This gives your employees the opportunity to share their thoughts on the company culture in a safe way. Share the results in a meeting and provide some space for open discussions about it. 

If you struggle with finding questions for your survey, betterworks prepared 10 questions to measure company culture to give you some inspiration. 

Best practice Culture

The UK Government digital service wrote a complete list of things that are ‘okay’ to do in the company. How cool! This basically comes down to: “write the unwritten rules”. You can rewrite this list based on your own company. Make some copies and put them on your office walls. A great example of a small effort that can help your new hire absorb the culture quickly and easily!

Thinking about rules

By now we hope you gained a good insight into organizational cultures and how to step up your game. If you would like to get an overview of all the 7 C’s, don’t hesitate to check out our onboarding journey whitepaper!

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