How Can an HR Manager Help Shape Corporate Culture?

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With a master’s in human resources management, one of the highest-paying master’s degrees, you will do more than manage the day-to-day employment issues of a company. You will also have the opportunity to help shape corporate culture through several of your job tasks. Changing and maintaining organizational culture is a job responsibility of human resources managers across industries and employers, even if doing so isn’t an express part of the job description. As you hire new talent, train new employees, manage worker performance and prepare company communications, you are expressing the organization’s values. Doing all of these tasks with intention is what allows HR managers to shape the kind of culture the company desires. is an advertising-supported site. Featured or trusted partner programs and all school search, finder, or match results are for schools that compensate us. This compensation does not influence our school rankings, resource guides, or other editorially-independent information published on this site.

Use the Right Hiring Practices

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Corporate culture is established by people. Filling a company’s workforce with people whose personalities and work ethics match the organization’s desired culture is a major way to shape that culture. Fortunately, as the professionals who oversee the recruitment and hiring process, human resources managers have a great deal of influence in how organizations select and hire their personnel.

The hiring practices that an organization uses when adding to its staff can go a long way toward shaping company culture, according to the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM). Shifting the organization’s focus from hiring based solely on skills to hiring based on a combination of skills and personality fit is the chief hiring practices change an HR manager can make. That isn’t to say that applicants’ skills, experience and professional certifications don’t matter, especially for positions that require specific sets of skills. However, there are fairly simple steps a company can take to integrate corporate culture fit into its hiring guidelines.

Clearly articulating in job listings what the company is looking for and what the work environment and corporate culture are like is a good first step for companies that want to prioritize the culture of the workplace. Although this step won’t weed out all applicants who are a poor fit for the company culture, it can narrow down the number of unsuitable applicants and give strong candidates more of a reason to apply to the job. Another change to hiring practices that can achieve this goal of highlighting how candidates match the corporate culture is asking behavioral questions in a job interview. These questions go beyond technical skills and queries about work experience to give the interviewer better insight into a candidate’s personality and values.

Some companies go so far as to ask prospective employees to complete personality inventories, but these formal tests aren’t the right fit for every company – and may even run counter to the corporate culture of more laid-back organizations.  

Don’t Neglect to Train New Employees in Company Culture

When HR managers hire a new employee, some amount of training is required even for the most experienced roles. A new hire may have years of practice in the technical skills the company requires but will still need to learn the specific systems and practices of the individual employer. Instead of showing the worker how to use the clock-in system and handing them a copy of the company handbook, HR managers should engage new talent in full-scale onboarding programs, according to the SHRM. These programs dive right into what the company values and what behaviors are expected of its employees, helping them assimilate more seamlessly into the corporation and its culture.

Onboarding practices that make intentional efforts to bring employees into corporate culture, rather than providing just enough information for the new hire to get to work, improve productivity and the long-term fit of the employee into the culture, the SHRM reported.

Manage and Reward Employee Performance

Nothing strengthens an organization’s corporate culture like making employees feel recognized and valued. After all, an employee who feels unappreciated and unfulfilled at work is likely to move on eventually, even if the company’s pay rate and benefits are competitive. If an employee doesn’t have enough feedback to know how the company evaluates their performance, they may feel a sense of insecurity about their job or their future with the company. Managing and rewarding employee performance is a crucial component of creating a sustainable corporate culture.

Human resources managers can start aligning performance evaluations with the desired corporate culture by setting clear and realistic expectations for employees and ensuring that workers know these expectations, according to the SHRM. Workers’ performance shouldn’t be evaluated based on responsibilities they didn’t know they had or criteria they didn’t know counted.

When workers perform well, and especially when they exceed expectations, they should be recognized and rewarded in ways that are consistent with the values entrenched in the corporate culture. Companies that consider teamwork an integral value in their culture but single out individuals to award bonuses to instead of distributing the reward across the relevant team could undercut their culture with their method of rewarding workers, the SHRM reported.

Although actions may matter more than words, the words a company uses are a clear reflection of its corporate culture. If the language or content of a company’s corporate communications contradicts its statements about culture and values, workers will notice.

Additional Resources

What Are the Typical Job Responsibilities of an HR Manager?

How Much Does Social Media Play Into the Everyday Doings of an HR Manager?

What Is the Difference Between an HR Manager and Director?