Guest blog from Dr Dimity Podger, Director, Barasa Consulting Group
I was asked recently by a small business owner, “How do you get the right people on the bus?” A Mission critical question.
As you would know, it’s not only about finding people with the right skills and experience for the specific role and team, it’s also about finding people who ‘fit’ culturally. To do that, you need to be crystal clear about your business’ culture – why you are in business, what you stand for and how you and your employees interact with each other and with your customers.
Know your purpose
This is the first part of defining your culture – the reason your business exists, for you and your customers. Think of this as the ‘number’ on the bus. There are many benefits of being fully focused when it comes to your purpose. Research shows that businesses with a strong sense of purpose are more confident about their growth prospects and investment priorities (Deloitte 2014).
Know your values and behaviours
The second part of your culture definition – the principles that everyone in the business uses to make operational and strategic decisions, and that guide behaviour. Values, together with behaviours, help set the minimum expectations you have for everyone in your organisation and lay the ground work for your business’ culture. What is the work environment you want to create, maintain and protect?
Think about the bus: are conversations from across the aisle welcomed and encouraged? Is there music blaring from the front, or are individuals free to listen to their own? When people ask for their ticket do they receive a blank stare or are they warmly invited aboard? Is it a bit scary down the back? Does everyone say ‘thank you’ and give up their seat when needed or do they need to be asked?
Hire for 100% alignment and reap the rewards of greater engagement
When you are clear on your purpose and values, you can integrate them throughout your business.
As the title of this blog suggests, a primary strategy for doing this is hiring for a 100% cultural fit. Bringing people on board who are aligned with your organisational purpose and values is directly linked to how engaged they will be in your business. Engagement in turn is linked to business performance.
Right Management, researching the link, found that the top driver of employee engagement is the employee’s personal commitment to their employer’s core values. Gallup found in 2006 that companies with employee engagement scores in the top quartile had 18% higher productivity, 12% higher profitability and 12% higher customer advocacy
What does this mean practically? Engaged employees are more loyal, meaning reduced recruitment costs and loss of productivity in getting new employees up to speed. Corporate Executive Board found that highly engaged employees are 87% less likely to leave their organisations than highly disengaged employees. The result – your business drives towards its purpose and has increased sales and profits. Not bad for just clarifying AND living your purpose and values.
So, for your business success, address these issues:
1. Take time to define your purpose, values and behaviours
2. Create clear messaging and communications around your cultural values
3. Hire, and then manage, reward, and fire, in line with your values and behaviours
4. Model, deliberately and consciously, your organisational values
5. Address gaps between your current culture and what you and your employees desire.
When you are clear, you can communicate with the people waiting in the bus queue so they know which bus they want to flag down and you get to attract the right people for your business. Remember, you need to know they are 100% aligned with 100% of your business.
Dr Dimity Podger is Director of Barasa Consulting Group, a culture change consultancy working with small to medium businesses to bring their purpose and values to life across operations, culture and strategy, increasing engagement, performance and customer satisfaction. She can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org