The importance of cultural fit

In many cases (or oftentimes), the tasks of a particular position within competing companies are very similar. What is different, is the way employees fulfill those tasks, the environment and the values on which they base their decisions.

Culture is probably the most important factor at RB. We truly believe that living our culture and the core values linked to it, are the key drivers of our success. Employees who thrive at RB have a hunger for success and innovation, they appreciate teamwork and have an entrepreneurial spirit. This, combined with responsibility and the freedom to decide, while continuously driving RB to improve in terms of business and social responsibility, make working for the company a unique experience.

The company today known as RB was born through the merger with UK-based Reckitt & Colman plc and the Netherlands-based Benckiser NV in 1999 and its roots stretch over 150 years. RB is the world’s leading consumer health and hygiene company. Inspired by a purpose to deliver innovative solutions for healthier lives and happier homes, RB is in the top 20 companies listed on the London Stock Exchange. Its health, hygiene and home portfolio is led by global Powerbrands including Nurofen, Durex, Vanish, Dettol and Scholl. Since that time, we’ve been nominated as “Best employer in Germany” 2014-16 and as “Britain’s most admired company”! – much of this can be attributed to our focus on culture.

As a member of the Talent Acquisition Team, we are the “Gate Keepers” and play an important role in identifying and attracting the right candidates for RB. We are talent magnets!

Our approach is pretty simple: In the whole interview process we focus on cultural fit. Always!

We are ‘flat in hierarchy and high in responsibility’. We empower our people to take decisions and drive the business. There is a healthy balance between strategy and culture. Both elements are closely linked and interdependent on each other. We are also operating in the Fast Moving Consumer Goods sector, so speed is key. In fact, we prefer speed over perfection! For potential employees, it is helpful if they have experience with companies operating in the same sector as we do, as they are used to speed, too.

We’ve realised over the years that we have similar cultural values as CEMS, which might explain why we have so many CEMS alumni working for us. Many of them we have met at the CEMS Career Forum, like Alexa Schlamp (Finance Graduate), Lea Mühlebach (Junior Customer Communication & E-Shopper Manager) and Sophie Schmid (Commercial Graduate).

“I have always wanted to work in the FMCG industry. RB has a variety of products that people around the world use every day. To me, having the opportunity to work with products that people use on a daily basis, seemed like a great thing to do (and still is),” says Sophie. “In addition to wanting to work with well-known brands I also liked RB’s can-do attitude and opportunity for fast career progression. At RB, you never get bored. You face new tasks and challenges every day or at least every week and you also get responsibility for your own projects and get to work independently. If you need support, you ask for it and people help you. For me, this is a great way to develop my skills and feel proud when I successfully complete my projects.”

Alexa adds, “as a Finance Graduate I spend two years rotating through different roles within the Finance Area. I find it very motivating to always be given new projects and tasks which offer me the possibility to not only get a deep understanding of the Finance function at RB but also of how the company operates. One of the most important motivational factors are also the people. All my colleagues have welcomed me very warmly and always support me in case I have questions. It is great to be able to learn from so many talented people. Another motivational aspect for me is working in a truly international environment. I enjoy it a lot to work with colleagues from all over the world having different kinds of backgrounds and experiences and to be involved in multinational projects. Therefore I am also happy to have the opportunity to gain even more international experience when doing part of my graduate programme abroad.”

Lea has this advice for CEMSies looking to start their careers, “Always be true to yourself and know your own values. When looking for a company, talk to as many people who work there as possible. Personal stories give you way better insights about working culture, than company websites or glossy brochures. Culture and future development possibilities are way more important than “exciting” tasks written in job descriptions.”

Alexa concludes that “there is not one single perfect way to start a successful professional career! Try to find the right position and the right company for yourself, don’t just try to meet the expectations of others or feel pressured into anything by your environment or peers. In my opinion there are several major benefits of starting your career in the corporate world. For me, bigger companies mean more opportunities: You will have the possibility to get to know a variety of different positions. Even within one function you can become an expert for a very specific topic or you can get a broad overview of different areas and develop into a more generalist role. Compared to smaller firms large companies usually also offer more international career options. You will have the possibility to work in another local market, in a regional or even in a global position.”

Unlike other companies, RB doesn’t follow the “grow or go mentality”. We accept applicants from many stages in their career, so if you think RB is the right cultural fit for you, we’d be happy to hear from you!