If you’ve been in the job market for very long, you’ve probably experienced a variety of work cultures.  Some may have been terrific places to work, others not so much.

Here at HRM we do a lot of work helping organizations develop their cultures into being THE place to work, instead of just A place to work.  As a part of that, we get questions about what to do and where to focus for maximum impact.  To address this, we’re dedicating our next couple of blogs to some key concepts that we’ve learned about developing a great culture.

Where should you start?  In our experience, you start with the people of course!  Since people determine your culture, they are the best place to start.  Here’s how you can do it:

  • Know what you want. Take time to identify the way in which you will want people to treat each other, interact with customers, and get work done.  It may seem obvious, but identifying these competencies will not only help you find them, it will make it easier for you to measure performance and provide feedback and recognition later on.
  • Select well. Take the time in your selection process to evaluate the competencies you need for the role.  Use tools like structured interviews, work samples, personality inventories, and role plays to see if candidates really have what you need.  Like your unstructured free flowing interview?  They may be fun to do, but with an average 14% validity rating, they’re a terrible way to choose your next employee.  Take the time to developing a system for doing this well.
  • Do check references. I know that people will tell you that companies don’t share this, but I haven’t found a truly great candidate yet who couldn’t readily produce the cell number of his/her former supervisor.  If they can’t share that, they probably aren’t the kind of performer that you need.
  • Make core values and expectations clear. Once you’ve hired, talk about the core values you’ve identified with your team on a regular basis.  Recognize when people do the right thing and nudge them along when they don’t.
  • Address mismatches. Sometimes the seemingly perfect candidate just doesn’t work.  If it’s not working, don’t wait.  Take action to change the behaviors or remove the person from the team.  While it’s difficult to make those hard decisions, its worse to leave them fester.

When focusing on culture, look to hire the best people you can find.  The trick?  Knowing what you need from the role and not settling until you find it.

Want to know how your culture measures up?  Let our Cultural Insights process provide you with meaningful data and professional recommendations for developing the right culture for your organization.

Up next?  Creating the right work environment

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