Culture Fit Challenges Revealed in a Non-Work Setting

Corporate culture is the only controllable competitive advantage for entrepreneurs. All the focus for corporate culture is on recruiting to bring the right people in as well as things to do internally to institutionalize whatever it is that makes the culture successful. There’s another rarely discussed item that can become an issue: when someone blatantly violates the culture’s standards in a non-work setting.

In the sports world you see it frequently when a player gets in trouble with the law. There’s clearly been a violation of team standards but it didn’t happen on the job. In the corporate world, it isn’t usually related to the law, but more so when people treat others in a way that’s clearly against the core values, and it comes back to the entrepreneur or team member via a friend of a friend.

The immediate response is that what someone does on their own time is their own business, and that’s true, but if they act in an egregious manner, that reflects on their employer, as people expect them to act the same whether on company time or not. I don’t have a good solution for it other than confirming to the source of the news that it’s not inline with the company’s core values. I’ve only had it happen a couple times and haven’t ever brought it up with the employee.

Sometimes culture fit challenges are revealed in a non-work setting and there isn’t much that can be done.

What else? What would you do if culture fit challenges were revealed to you in a non-work setting via a third-party?

One thought on “Culture Fit Challenges Revealed in a Non-Work Setting

  1. I served 8 years in the U.S Navy. In that organization, you were always a reflection of the Navy – whether “on duty” and “in uniform” or not. In fact, if you misbehaved during off hours you could be officially judged guilty of “behavior unbecoming of an officer” and sentenced to punishment at a “Non-Judicial Punishment” hearing (e.g. have your pay docked or receive”extra military instruction” which is a euphamism for extra duty hours and perhaps cleaning toilets). This was authorized under the Uniform Code of Military Justice – which is based on hundreds of years of organizational experience and tradition.

    Perhaps the private sector can learn from the military? If you reflect poorly on your private sector company, that could cost it money in the long run – and damage its reputation (which is more valuable than treasure accoding to Solomon). The leadership of companies might take a pointer from the military and not only establish core values, but hold employees accountable to them when they are “off duty” and “out of uniform”.

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