You can teach talent and share skills, but you can’t force fit
I’ve previously highlighted the importance of uncovering your core values: those non-negotiable traits that dictate how you do business. Once your core values are discovered, it’s time to activate them, and the best way to do that is to use them to recruit, hire, review and reward employees. Do it right, and you will rarely need to fire anyone.
Here’s the secret: you can’t get anyone to buy into your core values. They must be predisposed to them. This goes for stuff you’ve already got as well. When I take on new clients, I always like to warn them that I estimate that 20 percent of people in your company won’t be there a year after you implement your core values. That’s because the process highlights who is aligned with your values and who isn’t.
How to take the recruiting/hiring steps
You can make candidates and employees a better fit from the start by integrating value language into job descriptions/postings. Otherwise, you might get replies from applicants who are qualified but not value-aligned. Don’t worry about being clever or verbose when you write recruitment material. When your values are operating, your communications flow naturally.
Hiring is a question of behaviors. When you clarify your core values you create an equally clear code of behavior. This defines what “doing things right” means for you and how you expect people to act. Enforcing this code at the hiring stage is a powerful filter to discover which candidates’ values align.
When I coached Marc Cerniglia of Spotlight Branding on his core values, he discovered how they streamlined his operations. A key area for him was how value awareness helped shape his hiring questions. One of Marc’s cores is “Do it better.” He would then present candidates with a challenge: think of examples where something was good but could have been better.
This “questions from values” approach informed Marc on how candidates really felt regarding his core values. Were they excited when they responded? Did they show enthusiasm? Another of his values is to “communicate with intention,” so he would study interviewees to see if they did just that. If they were rambling, unprepared or speaking without forethought, he’d know this wasn’t a fit.
Review based on values
When you evaluate and rate your people based on core values you’ve got a shared reference point on whether they’re living your values or not. Believe me, if your team isn’t living them, they’ll never fit the culture you have designed.
The Entrepreneurial Operating System streamlines systematic improvement and helps companies appraise their current level of value alignment. Using the EOS people analyzer takes core values from the subjective to the objective. Input your values during any performance review to quickly discover who is already aligned and who wants to be and whether they have the capacity to do it.
The 5-5-5 Tool also gives you a guideline for quarterly conversations each manager should be having with their team members and making sure they are performing with the 5 core values, 5 responsibilities and 5 Rocks they have for the quarter. That way we create a rhythm to make sure we are continuously gauging alignment if we have the right people in the right seats doing the right things.
Rewarding adherence to core values
I view gamification as a great concept. It boosts engagement, motivation, and collaboration. More importantly, it can emphasize company culture and reinforce core values. It’s also your chance to spotlight and applaud team members who embody them. Gamification is another way to constantly reinforce your cores and let people know how their behavior compares.
For example, one company puts a bowl on every employee’s desk and adds coins based on how well they fulfill core value behaviors. Employees can add coins and whoever has the most at the end of the month wins. Make sure your gamification aligns with your company’s incentives and bonuses to avoid conflicting messages.
Games are a great adhesive for a team. People bond. Values strengthen. It’s the whole point of this exercise, but sometimes it also exposes the gaps.
There are different ways to gamify your core values and there are different tools out there that help you do it, including reward software tracking companies like CrewHu and promotional gift programs like Positive Promotions.
Firing vs Correcting misalignment
Once your team stabilizes, whoever remains (or joins later) should be firmer fits. If you do have to fire someone, view it as a service to the individual and the company; part of a broader process of correcting misalignment.
The individual will be happier somewhere more aligned with their core values while you’re free to hire a better fit.
Don’t forget the word “people” encompasses vendors and customers. Reaching your goals will be difficult if ALL of your people are not aligned with your values as well. I had one large client who had a $350,000 a year account that was always complaining about how we did things. My team couldn’t understand why. We went above and beyond for them and did everything in our power to make things the way they asked for it. My leadership team realized that no matter what we did, our vendor would never appreciate it because they were not aligned with HOW we did things. They did not fit our core values. On top of that, the account was not all that profitable, and it was taking time away from other large clients, so we had to let them go.
Three months later, the client returned and hasn’t complained once since. There had been a staff change and the person responsible for all the complaints was gone. Their absence allowed the new vendor to realign with our values and appreciate how we did things. They have grown as a profitable client for us and I couldn’t believe the impact a person I could not control had in our relationship.
Illuminating and enforcing core values solidifies your HOW
Bringing your core values actively to light means you’re building a successful base for your company culture and forging a strong “How” for your business.
Empower your Leadership Team and improve efficiency, increase value, and foster collaboration to get better results. A professional Facilitator can ensure that all of your members are on the same page, so you can kick your business up a notch. Connect with The Profit Recipe to Achieve Traction.