Company Culture Q&A with Catherine Spence

In today’s highly competitive business landscape, 84% of companies believe that company culture is critical to the success of their business.*

Catherine Spence, co-founder and head of product at Pomello, would agree. Pomello, an Outmatch company, is a culture analytics provider that helps companies understand and hire based on their unique CultureDNA™. In a recent webinar, Catherine answered audience questions on the importance of demonstrating cultural values, managing culture in a decentralized business, and hiring for culture fit.

1. What’s the impact on company culture when espoused values don’t align with demonstrated values?

Espoused values are things that might appear on the wall or in your annual report, but if they’re not lived or demonstrated, especially at the leadership level, it can be very damaging. It lowers employee engagement and creates confusion. You’ll see a breakdown in cultural alignment because employees are getting mixed messages about what’s important and what the culture really is. Living your values is critical, and you cannot pursue a culture initiative without having the buy-in of leaders. It also has to be aligned in the messaging and daily activities of your organization.

2. How do you manage company culture in a consulting business, where most employees work at client sites?

What’s interesting to note here is that company culture over distance still exists. The leaders that you have are still there. What you don’t have are leaders showing you on a daily basis how to live the culture. So, be proactive and thoughtful in your communication. For example, make sure that consulting wins are contextualized in values that you’re cultivating. Some companies that have been fully remote for almost their entire existence have some of the strongest organizational cultures because they pay so much attention to it.

3. What are some questions you can ask during an interview to get insight into a candidate’s values or culture mindset?

We recommend asking open-ended behavioral questions, particularly in the context of organizational culture. For example, if your company is highly focused on customer orientation, ask a candidate to give you an example of a time when he/she listened to a customer and it changed their behavior or response, and what did that feel like? What was their reaction? You can dig deeper and see if being customer focused is something that the candidate naturally geared to do.

To learn more about the five key questions that will uncover your company’s unique CultureDNA™, how to use your CultureDNA™ to maximize employee engagement, and how to connect engagement analytics to performance metrics, check out Catherine’s webinar on-demand: CultureDNA™: How to Measure, Endorse, and Turn it into Your Competitive Advantage.

*People Management 2018 Industry Report