We combined the best 8 tips for aligning your hiring strategy with your culture.
Once you have an idea of the direction you want the team or organization to follow, how can you avoid all the dangers and potential terminations associated with bringing a ‘bad’ or inappropriate hire into your team? By first assessing and addressing the culture that permeates your company and following these tips from our 2019 Study in partnership with HR.com.
1. Make culture a strategic priority.
More than half of HR professionals today do not have a formal description of the culture, and most do not feel that culture is well managed in their organizations. To improve your ability to build a culture of success, your organization should consider making culture part of all strategic road-maps.
This can be as simple as developing initiatives geared toward improving the management and understanding of culture (i.e. discuss assessments among and across teams or adding results to email signatures). From HR to sales to product teams, culture, while varied, must be prioritized and aligned with shared company values. And by helping each team find and hone its unique skillset, you can effectively build or rebuild the culture.
2. Eliminate the “one culture” mindset.
Focus on being able to answer the questions: “What is our current culture relative to our existing definition or relative to what employees think it should be?” and “Do different departments and teams have different behaviors or values?” To do this, you will need to employ scientific tools, audits, assessments. This way, you can accurately understand the culture that exists, free of personal misconceptions or bias.
And don’t forget about the metrics that can be tied to these tools as well. Your company should be evaluating metrics like turnover, diversity, Employee Assistance Program usage, etc. Look closely at what may be negative and lean on your newfound data to address it. For example, maybe employees feel that they can’t trust management and as a result, withhold information, creating habits that don’t match the intended culture.
Many organizations also find themselves stifled by “groupthink”, or simply, a lack of diversity of thought. To combat this, consider measuring your underlying culture through behaviors, motivators, and the ideal work environment of the individual; progressing to measuring team and department levels.
3. Measure and assess culture consistently.
Humantelligence and HR.com conducted research, and unfortunately, measuring culture is not common. In fact, most organizations completely ignore the differences between the overall corporate culture and team-specific subcultures. However, today there are tools like Humantelligence that exist to help you define and measure the culture of all candidates, employees, and teams accurately and in a scalable, cost-effective manner.
Tools like the comprehensive assessment offered by Humantelligence offer “talent insights” that lead to a stronger understanding of culture and culture-related performance. Without measuring your culture, it’s impossible to find and address major issues or understand what teams have fallen out of alignment. Further, most companies are not assessing employees’ work preferences and styles.
By understanding discrepancies in behaviors, motivators, and work styles, you can cultivate an intentional and cohesive culture. With measurement and assessments, your company will be prepared to identify problems, and leverage opportunities. It’s never too late to create a baseline for improvement, and a culture software will help your team find their starting point.
4. Define, describe and communicate the key aspects of your culture.
Once the culture has been assessed, it’s important to begin devising or refining how you define the culture at your business, before making costly hiring mistakes. Many organizations look to their overall mission statement. Keep in mind what your organization’s overall purpose is, as well as its values when determining the culture. Are they clear? Identify how to best communicate your culture (new or refined) to the broader organization.
We highly suggest communicating with town halls and following up with consistent posters/training seminars that prove the continued alignment expectations. You can also provide examples of the attitudes and behaviors that support the mission and purpose. But of course, it’s also important to let employees know what the culture is not, including what will not be tolerated, like illegal activity, harassment, and other unsafe actions.
5. Create an environment that emphasizes“diversity of thought”.
Some businesses will claim that they are consistently focused on learning and working together as a team. But in reality, teams are often in competition with one another and tacitly discouraged from helping one another. Asking too many questions or supporting an unconventional idea may be frowned on, or, worse, cost an individual promotion or other opportunities. Diversity of thought is meant to break down the potential barriers to a successful culture.
Including “diversity of thought” in your cultural initiatives will help every employee feel valued for their differences. And this greater respect for the individual and their opinions will, over time, foster an environment of trust. But “diversity of thought” isn’t just about the individual; this concept affords employees opportunities to learn from each other and even encourages higher levels of team innovation and productivity. From here, engagement rises, and employees feel greater loyalty to the company at large.
6. Expect and be prepared for challenges along the way.
Not everyone is going to understand new culture-centric hiring initiatives immediately. So as you are implementing this major culture-revitalization undertaking, keep in mind that some elements of culture can be learned while others cannot. While some managers will embrace the new changes and hiring structure, others may seek alternative employment. As a result, there is likely to be some turnover. Prepare for this and lean on alignment in recruiting and on-boarding to make the future culture better for all involved.
7. Adopt/refine a recognition program to strengthen values and behaviors.
Many employees struggle with understanding how their work contributes to the organization’s vision, values, and key objectives, or why it matters when creating a profile for new hires to be measured against. A strong recognition program with well-defined goals will give you the chance to positively reinforce the desirable behaviors. It can also bring even greater transparency to what behaviors and attributes are rewarded, making it more likely that employees will mimic the rewarded behaviors. This is especially important for on-boarding as the behaviors displayed by a team will directly impact a new hire and how they perceive the culture.
8. Integrate culture into the hiring process.
Finally, but perhaps most importantly, before finalizing job descriptions, make sure hiring stakeholders include screening criteria that relate to overall culture and subcultures. Additionally, we encourage screening for a diversity of thought mindset. Too much homogeneity in thought has the potential to crush innovation and even turn away top candidates who value diversity. Tools like Humantelligence culture software can help your company better understand candidate values, motivations, and backgrounds.