Last Monday, we talked about the importance of creating your culture. Once you have established who your company really is, the next important step is to weave new employees successfully into that culture. As with so many things, however, this is easier said than done, at least when you are first getting started. How can you begin to approach your hiring process so that your new employees can easily step into the branding and marketing messaging your company has established? Here are a few tips.
1. Make sure all employees – new or not, know they will be heard
One of the cornerstones of any healthy culture is communication. That does not just mean communication from the top down. It also means employees should be able to feel comfortable talking to each other and to management. When a new hire joins the company, this openness of communication is particularly important. The new employee needs to be able to report any levels of discomfort. Otherwise, they may simply start feeling out of place and they will leave in short order. Similarly, your other employees need to feel that they can talk to the new employee or that they can talk to management (for good or ill) about the new person. This is what keeps a culture on the right track.
2. Hire based on job function, not skills
This tip comes from Social Media ROI by Olivier Blanchard. If your company is beginning to engage in social media marketing, your temptation might be to look for someone who is “experienced with Twitter.” This is not really the best approach, however, and this truth expands beyond the realm of social media. Instead of looking for someone who is a “good writer,” for example, determine exactly what role you want this new person to play. Are they going to be a marketing strategist? A communications director? Sales manager? Start with the big picture role that you are hiring first, then determine what skills would be advantageous for a person filling that role. By starting with the big picture you can also begin to formulate an idea of what kind of personality would best be suited for that role in your particular company culture.
3. Consider the personality of the candidate
Once your company culture is established, you will have the ability to ascertain pretty early on in an interview whether your candidate would mesh well with the rest of the company. In today’s business world, where walls between departments are being knocked down and the online world demands that companies remain “on” 24/7, the importance of a new employee’s personality should not be underestimated. Even if a candidate appears to be highly skilled for a position, if their personality is not a good match for your company, those skills may be overshadowed by a negative attitude or poor communication. In Humanize (by Maddie Grant and Jamie Noster) it is recommended that a large team of people participate in the job interview so that multiple people can offer their opinions on whether the new person would be a good fit.
4. Know the “ations” to look for
In The Now Revolution by Jay Baer and Amber Naslund, you get some recommendations about different qualities that tend to work well as you are building your company culture. These include:
– Translation (as in the ability to translate a request for information that may at first seem unclear)
To us, innovation deserves to be at the top of that list. Because marketing in particular is changing so fast and so often, a candidate for a marketing position should be a self-starter and should be willing to try (in a controlled manner) new marketing tactics.
5. Integrate your HR department with the rest of your company
Last but not least, it is essential that your HR team is interwoven into your company as a whole. There is no other way to assure that new hires will be a good match for the company at large. Communication, team meetings, an understanding of the company brand – all of these things are essential in order to build and maintain your company’s culture. If the HR department is working in isolation, how could they possibly understand what the rest of the company would be looking for in a new hire?
Hiring for culture rather than for a specific skill set may be a revolutionary change for your company. We highly recommend the three books we cited above to help you with this process: Social Media ROI, Humanize, and The Now Revolution.
Image Credit: http://www.flickr.com/photos/danieltedcfeliciano/5348850648/ via Creative Commons