Companies that say this are like a lonely high-schooler masquerading very hard so they can make friends with the cool kids.

And, just like that high-schooler who wants to make good friends, companies don’t need to be this way just to hire good people.

Not least because I know that the statement can never be fully realised or true.

People are hugely different and unique. And each person should and hopefully will make an individual choice about how much of themselves they want to bring to work and where their boundary lines will be drawn. Some are very private, some not.

And company people who codify company cultures through values and behaviour codes actually know full well what the behavioural limits are.

But they like to pretend there aren’t any by throwing around this tired old phrase.

So instead of throwing around statements like this, try the following:

  1. Make sure your people know what protections they have under the law, before they start declaring all sorts of personal stuff that could be used against them. it matters because protections vary from country to country (and state to state).
  2. Teach your managers how to actually deal with behaviour that doesn’t build the type of culture you want. I say this because so many don’t know how. A lot of managers also don’t know how to take feedback about their own behaviour – fix this for the sake of your company’s reputation in the long run.
  3. Make sure ALL your leaders role model the behaviours you actually want to see (and limit the airtime given to those leaders who are slow to develop these).
  4. Stop throwing around cheesy statements.

In the same way that many people don’t speak to their grandma in the same way they speak to their mates; many people bring a version of themselves to work, that is different to the version they bring to the people in their lives outside work.

And that is ok.