Thought Leadership

How We Work Here: Introducing New Employees to Your Culture

By Viriginia J. Vanderslice, Ph.D.

Recently, I was interviewing a member of the senior team of a 100% ESOP company. He had been employed there for eight years. Reflecting a serious commitment to an ownership culture, internal decisions and changes are made relatively slowly because people from all levels participate in the firm’s internal problem-solving and decision-making processes. To my surprise, this leader told me that although he now appreciated and was committed to the company’s way of doing things, it had taken him more than five years (during which time he was often frustrated with slow decision making) to understand why the company did things the way it did. Coming from a military background himself, he was used to having a few senior people make decisions and everyone else falling into line. It was disheartening to think that for five years this person had struggled to understand why the culture was what it was, even though the culture clearly was working in terms of the company’s steady growth and success in a very competitive market.

This article originally appeared in the November 2011 ESOP Report, a publication of The ESOP Association, 1726 M Street, NW, Washington, DC 20036.

Download the PDF