Who’s Checking Out Who?

Find and clear your objects

No one forgets their first week in a new job, particularly when new to the organisation. Everything from the environment to the culture is brand new, and probably quite different to previous places of toil. One gets an immediate sense of the mood of the place. It could be playful, urgent, formal, serious or light-hearted – a bit like the title of a book. As you interact with people that mood seems to take on a form of consistency: 

This is how it is around here. Get used to it. When you come in again tomorrow, it will be more of the same.

If you fit in, you usually stay around. If you don’t it becomes hard to function properly and sooner rather than later, you’ll leave. Because organisations need its new folk to adapt to its style, prospective employees need to find out about the culture of the potential new employer while they’re being checked out. In the past only the employer checked you out. Well, that’s changed. It’s now a 2-way street. Prospective employees are now seriously researching the appropriateness of the culture of an organisation they’re considering joining.

Organisations go to considerable lengths to mitigate risk in their recruitment processes. But the risk to the prospective employee is possibly greater, regardless of the stage of their employment trajectory.

This puts a different kind of pressure on management. 

  • Do they clearly understand what it feels like in the trenches? 
  • Is the culture that has evolved (or that they’ve created) inclusive? 
  • Do people feel motivated to contribute in a meaningful way? 
  • Is the picture being presented one that would make quality candidates keen to join?
  • How far are they prepared to go to keep their best people?


The risk of getting it wrong during the recruitment process can have dire consequences for both parties. However, the risk of not acclimatising a good newbie into organisational culture bears its own set of risks. To mitigate that risk, management needs a clear understanding of organisational culture at all of its levels. They then need an onboarding process that allows them to meet and interact soon with other key employees for effective, rapid integration of the new person.

Just as organisational cultures will evolve organically, so they can be adjusted by intervention. The starting point for knowing whether or not it really needs to change is to accurately establish where you are right now.

The best people are usually the hardest to hold on to because everyone wants them. But good people are difficult to dislodge when they love the culture and the people with whom they interact daily.  

Who's Checking Out Who?