Point At Issue: How Contribution to Company Culture Has Evolved

Credentials and experience, once seen as the backbone of one’s tenure in the workplace, have now taken the backseat to ability to contribute to company culture. As the disparity of relevant work between potential new hires thins, applicants must find new ways to break off from the pack. This phenomena can be seen in roles ranging from low-end blue collar jobs to white collar positions requiring a high level of education.

If a manager is trying to hire someone for a cashier position at a fast food restaurant, chances are with an appropriate amount of training, the majority of applicants would be able to satisfactorily fill the role. With this in mind, what would the manager use as the basis of his or her decision as to who to hire?

One facet of it could be characteristics one may see as positive for the promotion of quality customer service. This can be manipulated through the interviewing process though, and one is likely to show the true colors of their work ethic as they become more familiarized with the day-to-day monotony of their job.

The key factor, however, is the way the applicant conducts themselves when first meeting the hiring actor. The idea of first impressions makes this crucial because, in an environment where employees may seem expendable due to the circumstances surrounding a low skill position, it is essential to convince employers of one’s confidence and ability to be a positive addition to the company culture.

This factor can also be used when determining who to hire in a white collar position as well, but for different reasons. In a position like this it is not as much that the majority of applicants have the potential to adequately fill the role, like in a low-skill position, but the applicants themselves are of higher quality.

As the number of people bringing the type of work experience necessary to assume the responsibilities of a given position rises, secondary qualities take hold of the decision making process of bosses when evaluating candidate criteria. These qualities include how well spoken, dressed or personable somebody is while facing the pressure of missing out on a potentially career changing opportunity.

Executives and business owners can use leverage to make decisions on these type of minute details through an element of narrow preference or borderline bias. In this case, employers are faced with the choice of basing their decision on thin disparities of credential, or evaluation of contribution to the culture of their business. The majority of times they will choose the latter.

This concept of managing these types of staffing decisions to fit the mold of efficiency within a company is not one we are seeing for the first time.

Since the mechanization of the means of production during the Industrial Revolution, the idea of workers being replaceable has taken over business climates and changed the mindsets of those making decisions on new hires. This has pushed the charge for those looking for jobs to distinguish themselves in the eyes of decision makers across the spectrum of employment.

Future applicants must find themselves going beyond the call of their work and setting a precedent of being a strong player, and irreplaceable in the one thing they control which cannot be replaced — personality.

Good additions can still be hard to come by for employers even with various levels of options open. For this reason, those hoping to find or retain jobs must excel not just in the way they perform, but how they act towards and around those who hold the positions they hope to one day fill.

Expendability is evaluated by employers, but determined by those hopeful to make their mark.