Do you recall your last interview? How many questions were asked about your technical skill? Or the training you received?
Often we hire people because of those very things — training, and skill in a position. What about soft skills, things that are more difficult to teach. Why don’t we also look for values and vision in a candidate? Hiring those that align with a company's culture.
Honestly, because it’s hard. We can look at a resume and see a person’s abilities. We can call referrals and get a good idea of how they do their job. But how can we evaluate how a person will treat others? And once employed how can we teach a corporation’s ideas?
Culture vs Values
Culture is more natural to teach. It’s a learned behavioral process over the days, weeks, and months we are working. It’s the feeling when we are welcomed, the warmth of being included, the fun of being teased. We are undergoing the subtle, almost subconscious, acclimation to a new way of doing things.
While values are more innate, something that we keep close to us and have developed over the entirety of our lives. In many ways, they are who we are as a person. It’s difficult to change values, not impossible, but difficult.
How many of us are going to want to challenge and change something negative about ourselves? It’s this feeling that the organization has to fight against to align people with the company.
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Where do we start?
At the top of course. A company has to make a conscious effort to grow its values and culture. If this isn’t done from the top down, it’s hard to fight it from the ground up. Executive leadership needs to be worrying about this as much as they worry about sales.
And this is where companies get it wrong, they let first or second level managers fret about the culture and values. The focus needs to be reversed. C-level executives need to lead the charge. Making it perfectly clear to those that follow what is and isn’t accepted.
Many CEOs naturally do this, and for those that don’t, they need to recognize people that can foster this change. The new trend is hiring a Chief Culture Officer. Many companies, such as Microsoft, Google, and Lululemon have done this successfully.
The jury is still out on whether this trend will continue and if it will be successful. I, for one, believe it’s a step forward. As more and more employees become disinterested and unhappy at work, there needs to be a CCO whose core tenant is to grow and strengthen culture.
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