Workplace culture a deal breaker for many employees

Oct 19th, 2016

Employees rank workplace culture as a decisive factor when seeking a new job and more than half believe it is misrepresented by future employers in their job interviews, a survey has found.

The survey of nearly 1000 hiring managers and 1800 workers in professions across Australia and New Zealand by recruitment company Robert Walters found more than half of employees felt misled about the company culture during the recruitment process.

When asked to rank what was more important, 29 per cent of employees said pay and the remaining 71 per cent chose a cultural aspect of work including flexibility (19 per cent), performance review (18 per cent), teamwork (13 per cent), ethical standards (13 per cent) and social activities (8 per cent).

The vast majority (96 per cent) believe cultural fit is an important factor when weighing up career options.

Kylie Kwong worked as a government policy adviser in NSW before changing jobs to one in the private sector that provides her with mentoring and professional development.

Her new job as a corporate communications consultant has also given her the flexibility to complete a master's degree and diploma in the past three years.

"There is a very big cultural difference between the two workplaces," she said.

"The policy adviser job was very fast paced and I was providing a service and solving problems.

"The job I have now is a lot more nurturing."

About 60 per cent of employees surveyed say a poor cultural fit with an organisation has caused conflict.

An estimated 1 million Australians leave their jobs each year because they are not suited to their workplace culture.

"The challenge for employers is finding the 'sweet spot' where their employees' own values match those of the organisation," the study authors said.

"When employers get the cultural fit wrong, almost two-thirds of employees will vote with their feet. Our survey found that 64 per cent of respondents had left an organisation because its values did not match their own."

Most employers said an employee's ability to fit in with the workplace culture was an important consideration in deciding whether they would be promoted within the organisation.

While most employers said they discussed workplace culture during recruitment interviews, more than half of employees said they felt misled. Of those, about three-quarters said the organisation's environment did not live up to what was promised in their job interview.

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