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Three profound ways ‘culture fit’ impacts your PR efforts

Southwest Airlines at Houston Hobby

Once upon a time, there was an HR software company that had an extremely unhealthy internal culture. The company became infamous for its unprofessional staff that preferred to party at the office rather than do their jobs.

When a new CEO stepped in, one of his first moves was announcing a large number of layoffs and a new approach. He saw the old culture was actually having a negative impact on the brand’s reputation because employees were not providing the best level of service to their clients.

This shift in perspective allowed the company to hire professionals that shared the same vision. The HR team brought on qualified candidates that were dedicated to a culture of professionalism and a customer-centric approach to sales. As a result, the company was able to turn around its brand perception and become a shining example of why internal culture is so important to external success.

A study from Northwestern University found customers had a better experience and a higher satisfaction rate when they purchased from a company with a highly engaged culture.

Here are three reasons why a “culture fit” approach to hiring is a smart PR strategy.

Culture influences retention rate

When it comes to your brand’s PR, a high turnover rate is never a good thing. A revolving door type of business shows employees are unhappy or treated unfairly, and thanks to social media and company review websites, this can certainly stir up some negative PR. On the other hand, businesses with a healthy culture tend to have employees that stick around for the long term.

When your company properly hires for culture fit, it can improve employee retention rates and promote it as a selling point. Remember: An awesome company starts on the inside. AI-assisted recruiting tools are helpful here because they can quickly gather data about each candidate and assess his or her strengths and weaknesses.

Southwest Airlines is famous for its incredible company culture, and with a turnover rate of just 2%, it’s easy to see that its happy employees want to stick around.

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We're trying something new called #TakeoverTuesday, featuring some of our best Employees, who also happen to have a knack for photography. Jason is an Employee who has been with Southwest for six years and when he's not working on the Ramp in Little Rock, he's snapping photos, or spending time with his wife and kids. Be sure to check out our story for a behind-the-scenes look at life on the Ramp. Like the series? Let us know, and we'll do more of them. . Jason: "When I capture my photos I try to get perspectives that most people who don't work at the airport get to see. I like to go for more of an artistic view. I use a lot of HDR (high dynamic range) editing because sometimes I like to give it that "painting" feel when I look at it. Here are a few of my favorite photos that I've shared on Instagram (@GulfstreamGuy). I hope you all enjoy them."

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Southwest is also notoriously picky when it comes to hiring new staff. The airline looks for three important qualities employees must possess: a warrior spirit, a servant’s heart, and a fun-loving attitude. This commitment goes to show that hiring for culture fit really can influence the success of your business as a whole.

Sets a standard for employee behavior

How an employee acts outside of business hours can have a potentially dangerous effect on your company’s PR. Of course, employees are allowed to have their own personal lives outside the office, but if their comments are offensive or contradictory to company values, they could end up hurting your brand. Social media has made just about everything a public matter. It’s easier than ever to pry into the lives of other people and make judgments about them based on their posts or overall personal brand. This presents a potential danger for businesses because customers may judge a company based on the employees’ behavior.

Your brand need to find a way to make the company culture and values evident through its employees’ actions and attitudes. This standard of online social behavior should be apparent from the very beginning, which is why hiring for culture fit is so important. If a person’s values are conflicting or problematic from the start, it could lead to bigger problems later on.

There is some debate over whether companies have the right to monitor an employee’s social media behavior. However, the harsh reality is the social activity of an employee is a public reflection of the quality of people your company brings on board.

To avoid potential catastrophe, establish a firm company code of ethics to supplement efforts surrounding culture fit.

Supports a unified vision from the start

A big part of culture fit is hiring people who share a similar vision. This is especially critical in companies that aim to support social causes. For example, Patagonia is well known for its commitment to putting the environment’s well-being first and creating quality products that allow people to enjoy nature.

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Off to the big leagues. Photo: @fmarmsaterphoto

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Its culture reflects this well with its “work hard, play hard” mentality. Patagonia wants its employees to love its products as much as its customers do, so workers are encouraged to spend time using Patagonia products on outdoor excursions. The company is also committed to creating a community within its business and often hires based on employee referrals.

Your hiring team must be sure that each new employee not only understands the core values of your business but has the opportunity to get involved and become more passionate about it. Hosting engagement-building events is one way to get people more connected to your business as a whole. The more people your company hires that are passionate about its vision, the stronger the message will be from an outside perspective.

Supplementing the culture of your company with new hires that influence it in a positive way helps your brand create a healthy internal environment that can be used as a positive PR message.


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