Benchmark Business Group

Workplace Culture – Defined and Communicated when Hiring

February 26, 2019

As a business owner, have you ever experienced the following scenario?

You decide to hire a new employee. But you don’t want just any employee, you want a rock star!

So you spend more money than usual to advertise. You take additional time to conduct interviews to make sure their job skills match. Finally, you allocate a higher salary than you can afford, but you justify it because they are going to take your business to the next level.

And then two weeks later… your rock star quits!

As frustrating as this is, it isn’t unusual. So why does this happen? It may be because the new employee wasn’t a fit for your workplace culture.

Every Business’s Culture is Unique

Business owners have their own beliefs, values and unwritten rules. Your business and its culture becomes a reflection of these beliefs and values. The culture reflects how work is conducted, how employees are managed, and ultimately how your business is seen by customers.

Some cultures are built very intentionally. And others are built over time by chance. We recommend that all businesses build their culture intentionally using a Culture Values Statement, but even if it’s not, it’s vital for you to understand the culture your business has when hiring.

Understanding your culture allows you to look beyond just the job skills of a candidate to determine if they have the qualities and personalities to succeed within your culture.

Hire Talent that will be Successful in Your Culture

Since culture is unique to each and every business, not every employee will thrive in all cultures, even if they have the right job skills. We’ve seen many examples of this, such as:

  • Bringing on a rock star salesperson who excels at sales in a culture that values quantity of leads over quality. This works great for some businesses, but could be a disaster in a culture that values quality leads. The outcome could be fewer satisfied customers and less profitable work.
  • Hiring a rock star service associate who came from a culture where the leader often abdicated work into a culture where the work is defined and structured. The employee might feel suffocated or refuse to use systems which could lead to failures; or, even worse, trying to change the culture to avoid process and procedures.
  • Bringing on a rock star employee who came from a culture that is passive-aggressive and didn’t address flaws or mistakes directly into a culture that is direct and values continuous improvement. This employee may feel picked on, afraid to speak up, and uncomfortable.

Because individuals thrive in different cultures, understanding your workplace culture and finding those who align with it will save you time and money in the long run. It is worth the effort to determine if your candidates will excel within your culture. Two steps that will help your business align candidates to your culture are:

  • Have a clear understanding of your culture and which candidates will thrive in that culture. Be able to communicate the heart and spirit of your culture with your current employees as well as all new hires. As new employees join the team you want to make sure that your culture continues to reflect that of your vision. Leverage your Culture Values Statement to have open and frank conversations about your workplace culture.
  • Craft interview questions around your culture to find out which candidates would excel. Take time to ask questions about what a candidate enjoys about their co-workers. Ask for examples of what they value from their employer. Give them scenarios they will run into and ask them how they would handle the situation, while listening to see if they fit within your culture. You may also want to set up a meeting with people they will be working with so you can see how they will interact within the team.

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