As a child in gym class, you may remember as the teacher picked team captains and then captains picked their teams. Students stood in a group as those captains chose: the fastest, the strongest, the player with the desired skill. Just like your business today, those team captains of your youth were hoping to build the best team to get the job done and win the game.
When hiring to fill a role, you want the best individual in place to create team success. Such a simple concept should be easy. Unfortunately, not all hires work out. Sometimes we intend to cover all the bases, so to speak, but we missed something.
Hire Slow, Fire Fast
Remember that no process or system of hiring will ever be perfect. Whether hiring a team member or hiring a company to clean your floors, there are bound to be times when things simply don’t work out. Don’t beat yourself up. Learn the lesson, adjust, and move forward.
Hire Skill or Fit?
I remember instances where teachers in school overlooked or even excused behavior or attendance issues with a student if that student was getting straight A’s. Though these students did well for themselves, they disrupted others. Similarly, if you’ve ever hired someone with great skill and later learned that your hire was a cultural mismatch, you’ve no doubt experienced frustration.
Admittedly, there are times that skill is crucial to perform the duties of the job. It’s essential to determine whether the new employee must have the skill at the time of hire or if the skill can be learned on the job. The consideration is whether skill is the determining factor for that hire even if cultural fit will be negatively impacted.
I’ve heard many people boast that they can quickly judge the character of someone they’ve just met. Unfortunately, I was not born with this skill. I find that my perception of a person evolves after a few conversations in different settings. My experiences have taught me this is the reason to hire slow.
It is well advised to have more than one person conduct an interview for additional perspective. Sometimes things are brought to the surface that may otherwise have gone unnoticed.
What is “Fit?”
Skills can be far easier to define and understand prior to hiring than cultural fit. For example, when hiring a contractor to refinish VCT floors or clean carpets, asking specific questions about prior work, getting references, or possibly seeing a demonstration would help determine if a person has the skills necessary to complete the job.
Cultural fit on the other hand, begins first with the ability to understand the cultural environment that exists in your own organization. Observe your team. Watch for verbal and non-verbal clues that explain the shared values. Understanding and explaining the culture and acceptable behaviors to a potential hire not only helps the hiring manager communicate with the candidate, it also helps the candidate understand certain non-skill expectations within the role.
The more clearly and accurately an organizational culture is identified and explained, the more likely the organization will hire the best employee for the role.
How to do it
Explain what your organization stands for. Describe the values of the team. There are resources available to assist your team. Regardless of the method you use, I recommend discovery, not creation. There may be things that look good on paper or sound good as aspirational thoughts, but if they don’t define you and your team, they are not core to you, and they are not your organization’s culture.
At Action Unlimited Resources, our first attempt at this process left us with a list of values that sounded great. However, it did not define our team and therefore had no meaning to us. When we got it right, each person on the team could relate. For any new hire to join our team he/she must exemplify our values.
This is us
We don’t always get it right, but because we share a set of values, because we understand our culture, we can get it right most of the time.
COMMITMENT TO CUSTOMER SATISFACTION
Every team member is first in customer service. We will go the extra mile to deliver truly remarkable experiences to customers and make every customer feel they are the most important customer.
We are determined to MAKE IT HAPPEN when others would give up, to push through difficult challenges and overcome obstacles to find a way. We have the persistence to keep going and we do not quit.
We all have the opportunity to expand our roles on the team. Our individual effort to grow and develop will expand our horizons.
Our actions and decisions are guided by our integrity to do the right thing, at all times.
We are committed to honoring our team. This is OUR team. We respect the team, support the team and defend the team. WE are the team.
There is no “one size fits all.” There is no single quality that make an employee the best fit in every situation. In my experience, though there are always people who can adapt to multiple environments, most people have strong beliefs and values. It is important to ensure that those beliefs align with the organizational values to find the best employee for your team.
I believe that a team of people with a shared culture have a synergy that will always outpace a group of stellar individuals that can’t work effectively as a team.
A team that knows itself first is positioned best to identify individuals that will make the team stronger.