Most small businesses have a clear definition of their core values, but many don't realize that these core values are considered their "company culture." When you hire new employees, your business' culture should be one of the first considerations when sizing-up candidates. A good fit will increase morale, improve motivation, foster positive relationships, and ensure everyone is focused on the same goals.
You not only want to hire new employees that have similar beliefs and goals, but also people who can help contribute to your core values and improve your small business. If you hire someone that is not a good cultural fit for your company, you may find that you have a higher turnover rate or increased dissatisfaction rate among your employees.
Here are a few tips to help you get started with hiring the right employees:
Know What Your Company's Culture Is First
You can't hire someone to fit your culture if you don't have a definition of what your culture is in the first place. Defining your company's culture breaks down into four essential categories:
- Work ethics: How are decisions made? How do you communicate with your staff? How do you want your employees to get work done? Do you want them to complete assignments immediately or can they decide when a task is due?
- Opportunities and advancement: What types of employees tend to excel in your company? How is your business structured in terms of hierarchy? When people do not perform well, what happens to them? What opportunities and rewards are available to those who excel?
- Hours and work commitment: How many hours do you expect employees to work each week? Do you offer any sort of flexible scheduling? Do you have succession plans for your senior level employees?
- Atmosphere: How do your employees dress when they come to work? What is the work environment like? Do you encourage employees to have fun while they're at work (i.e., having a ping pong table or other activities to blow off steam)?
Define What You're Looking For When You Hire New Employees
Your job description should go beyond the basic requirements of the position and what you're looking for in general. Provide a crystal clear view of your culture and the qualities an ideal candidate would possess to fit in at your company. It's critical for you to list this on your job advertisement as well, so applicants know exactly what you're looking for. Then you need to follow a specific hiring process.
Use the Interview
During the formal interview, use the interactions you have with the applicant to assess whether they're a good fit with your company culture. You know the culture better than anyone--at least you should! You should be able to tell just from talking to the applicant if he or she will suit the environment. Ask them similar questions to those that you asked yourself to define the culture, and see if their answers match up with what your core values are, too.
Identifying your values and determining how to hire new employees that suit your culture isn't always easy. But it's a necessary step if you want to decrease turnover and attract the best talent to your team.
Margaret Jacoby, SPHR, is the founder and president of MJ Management Solutions, a human resources consulting firm that provides small businesses with a wide range of virtual and onsite HR solutions to meet their immediate and long-term needs. From ensuring legal compliance to writing customized employee handbooks to conducting sexual harassment training, businesses depend on our expertise and cost-effective human resources services to help them thrive. This article first appeared on the MJ Management Solutions blog.