Have you ever had this experience?
You hire someone that you think would be perfect for a position and you are thrilled. They start working with you and then little “red flags” start appearing. The little red flags might be one of the following items:
- Aren’t able to complete a simple task you think they should be able to do with their eyes closed
- Their attitude seems a little “smirky” at times when you ask them to do something
- They do disappearing acts for hours at a time (more common with “virtual” employees or contractors)
- Projects aren’t getting done in a timely manner and there is always an excuse
If this has happened to you… you’re not alone. It has happened to nearly every small business owner at some point. And why is that?
The answer is simple… things have changed in the global marketplace. It used to be that when hiring an individual you clearly matched a person’s skill sets with the tasks and responsibilities of the position. And that was that. In today’s workplace, another critical factor comes into play, and that is the CULTURE of a company.
A company’s culture includes its mission and values, but also things like goals, expectations, work environment, ethics, and more. Think of company culture like a personality, with that personality being how employees will relate to and fit in with a company.
In this fast-paced business world, employees want and need to feel they fit in with the culture of a company. It isn’t the same value system where you just went to work, did your job, and went home. Today, people often view their job as part of their identity and their colleagues as extended family… their job becomes a cohesive part of who they are. Company cultures are different from even ten years ago in that there is a vast array of different cultures across a broad spectrum of companies. Hence, it is more important than ever to identify YOUR company culture before you begin hiring people.
In the case of Showcasing Women, we wanted to set the stage with an all-virtual team. In our early days, we had this glamorous image of a team of self-motivated women working together virtually. It started out just fine, but we quickly learned that just because someone portrayed themself as a self-starter it wasn’t always the case. As a small business in start-up mode, that affected our productivity in a big way.
We also learned that even if someone had the right skill set, if they didn’t understand or relate to a start-up ‘culture’ where things shifted at a moment’s notice, it became difficult for everyone. Case in point, we had an excellent virtual team member who was dedicated and self-motivated in every way. However, any time a change was made, she became antagonistic and complained. Why? Simply put, she wasn’t adaptable to the culture of a start-up where things can change overnight.
The lesson we learned through this experience is that a business needs to identify and understand its culture BEFORE beginning the process of hiring employees or contractors, including those that work virtually. After going through some initial hiccups, we began following six key components to identify and create the culture we wanted for Showcasing Women. They are:
- Create a core set of beliefs that your company stands for. In our case, our core set of beliefs is around women entrepreneurs learning, sharing, and thriving.
- Share stories about what your business is passionate about, why you started it, where it is headed, and why you do what you do. People are attracted and motivated to work within a culture they believe in.
- Clear objectives are essential. Let your employees thrive in their own wheelhouses. The most productive business cultures are where employees are trusted to use their creativity to solve challenges and do incredible work.
- Mentored leadership is really important. “You are only as strong as your weakest link.” You can’t attract the right talent and take employees further if you don’t invest the time in training them to take on leadership roles within the company’s cultural community.
- Ownership has its place. The employee who has an ownership mindset and sees their role as a crucial part of a company’s success will do everything in their power to help the business achieve its goals and maintain its culture with harmony.
- Offer a carrot. Give your employees a piece of the pie with different incentives. This creates a culture of dedicated people working with the same vision and striving to meet goals.
By utilizing these core cultural elements, we are now able to hire individuals that fit within our culture. Our employees and independent contractors thrive, we maximize our effectiveness, and everyone continues to grow our company’s bottom line.
To learn more about company culture, check out the interesting statistics on this wonderful infographic. We look forward to seeing your Comments below. Here’s to your company culture and to great employees!
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“This article is reprinted with permission by ShowcasingWomen.com, the Premier Resource For 30+ Million Women Entrepreneurs. Visit them for free instant access to their Success Tools.”