Every company has a culture, but this isn’t always something that employees – or leaders – are aware of. In fact, a recent survey  carried out by assessment and development consultancy, Cubiks, found that only 54% of respondents said their organisation had a clear definition of its culture. When it comes to hiring, this can be problematic. In order to attract and retain the best talent, both culture and values need to play a key part, so how can you incorporate them into the recruitment process?

It’s important to have clear values in place from the start – ideally before you hire your first employee. These aren’t always easy to define, but it’s important to be creative and think long and hard about your principles before you begin the recruitment process. You’ll not only have a much better idea of what you’re looking for and ensure that a new hire will fit in with your team, but will also be able to manage your new recruit’s expectations. The choices you make at the beginning will affect everything, from the people you hire to the way in which you conduct your business. So focus on which values will promote the behaviours you would like to see from your staff.

After you’ve defined your values and know what you’re looking for in a candidate, you then need to understand how to assess for the right qualities and ensure there will be cultural fit. It’s clear that implementing such processes is an area where many organisations are struggling. The Cubiks survey, for instance, found that although 82% of respondents said measuring the cultural fit of an applicant was an essential part of hiring, only 32% said their organisation actively achieved this.  

Face-to-face interviews are a popular method of assessing cultural fit. The questions asked should be designed to see if the prospective employee embodies your principles, and – by meeting the candidate in person – you’ll be able to judge for yourself whether or not they would fit in with your team. However, here there’s a danger that unconscious biases can come into play. Yes, it’s important for staff to fit in with your culture, but you don’t want to only hire individuals who are similar to you. In order to avoid ‘group think’ and bring new ideas into your business, you need to also ensure that there’s diversity, and it’s important to get the balance right. 

After a candidate has been hired, culture and values should continue to be aligned. At Twenty, for instance, each time we get a new intake, we have an offsite day where our recent recruits tell us what the values mean to them and how they should be measured. In addition, every six months our employees receive appraisal scores linked to the values, allowing us to rate our business on whether or not we are living them.

Understanding your culture and values is fundamental to the success of your business. In order to attract and retain talent – and ensure that your employees can fit together – HR professionals have a responsibility in ensuring this is a high priority for a company. Only then will you have the best team in place to meet complex demands in the market.

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