I was recently on an Internet Radio show and was talking about culture as it relates to hiring people. During the show I was continually asked to define culture and have a way for others to know what a company’s culture is.
While I was talking I discovered it’s not about culture. Let’s face it; I can try to describe the culture in my company all day long and after an hour you’re still not going to get it. On the other hand, if I list five things that it takes to fit in at my company, you’ll get that.
Fit is an easy way to describe culture.
If you tell me the five things you have to do to fit in at your company I’ll get what your culture is. I’ll be able to paint a picture of whether I can work with you and be successful.
To me it makes sense that if you want to hire someone you need to communicate what it takes to fit in at the start of the hiring process. You need to communicate this to everyone in your company so they know what you think is important. I can promise you it’ll save you from dealing with nasty problems down the road.
Whether you fit in will determine how successful you’ll be at my company.
If you don’t fit in at my company or for that matter any company you won’t be successful. The culture will eventually get rid of you. Unfortunately, by the time the culture has kicked you out enough chaos has been created that many people will have had to focus on you instead of focusing on what makes the company great.
I don’t care how talented someone is. If they don’t fit in and do things people in a company believe are important, they can’t be successful. You might get some short-term gains from having a bad bit in your company. In the long run you’re going to spend a lot of time dealing with this “problem child” and eventually they’re going to have to go. Here’s a better idea; don’t let them in to start with.
Fit should be the same for everyone who works at your company.
The five things that it takes to fit in need to be the same for every person who works in your company. You can’t have one set of values for those who work in management and another for those who are line workers. You can’t have one set of rules or norms for technically talented and another set of rules for the rest of the company.
It’s when companies allow double standards to appear that politics becomes the main business of the business. No one wants to be treated like a second-class citizen. If you don’t have the same fit requirements for everyone you’re going to have two classes of employees.
You need to have a strategy for those who don’t fit in.
We all make hiring errors. Most of us spend a lot of time and effort trying to “turn around” the people we make hiring errors with.
Here’s a secret for you, the people who you’ve made the hiring error with know you’ve made an error. Most of the time they’re not going to say anything. It’s up to you. You’re going to have to be an adult, admit your mistake, ask the person you made the mistake with to leave your company and move on.
If you’re not serious about this no one else will be.
Fit is something where you have to take the lead. You can’t wait for your managers to step up. It’s all on your shoulders.
If you don’t show by your actions that you’re serious about only having people in your company that fit, no one else will be either. I’ve learned that not paying attention to this issue will cause you problems. It’s never if, it’s always when. Instead of waiting, be proactive. You’ll be glad you did.
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