Hire in Haste. Repent in Leisure.

Creating a Customer Culture Starts with Hiring. You’ve got to know your higher purpose in customers’ lives. You’ve got to know what you stand for. And you’ve got to know what type of environment you are creating.

If you know the answers to these issues, your ability to find someone to fit and enrich your culture is yards ahead of most. It’s about being deliberate.

Leaders in beloved companies don’t worry about hiring a great employee and having him leave in three months. Instead they worry about hiring a bad employee and having him stay for three years.

In last year’s labor market, however, managers were grateful if they got any applicants for a job – let alone highly qualified applications. As of Sept. 2009, the employment rate was at 3%, meaning only 3% of new jobs open out there are new. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that there were 3.0 million job openings on the last business day of May 2011. The rate of hires for U.S. nonfarm jobs remained at 3.1 percent, and the separations rate rose slightly from 2.9 percent in April to 3.1 percent in May. In these times, it’s tempting to fill a job with the first seemingly qualified applicant.

When this temptation hits, remember that studies show that the single greatest contributor to performance failure and job dissatisfaction is lack of fit with organizational culture. If someone doesn’t align with the company’s core beliefs and values, it will be very difficult for that person not only to develop effective relationships, but to deliver your “special blend of magic,” the personality stamp of your culture.

So here’s your challenge question from my book “I Love You More Than My Dog: Five Decisions That Drive Extreme Customer Loyalty in Good Times and Bad“. It’s a question about clarity and how clear your decision guides your company in one direction or another when you make one of the most important decisions: hiring.

To combat the issue of performance failure and job dissatisfaction, many companies survey reasons why new recruits leave in the first 90 days on the job. Most frequently reported are issues with an immediate leader and workplace culture not as expected.

A recent article in HR Magazine points out that more and more organizations are struggling to make good cultural judgments during their recruiting process. Cultural fit is not being assessed as thoroughly as skills and background. A decade ago, technical skills and experience were the core prerequisites for a successful candidate. But as business is changing and brand personality is emerging as a competitive advantage, cultural fit is being recognized as vital for sustaining success.

Time pressures and lack of dedicated processes are commonly cited reasons for not assessing cultural fit. While a number of methods, such as on-site visits, panel interviews, and trial work periods, are effective in determining culture fit, behavioral interviews are one of the the best tools for identifying candidates who have the right-fit characteristics. Behavioral interviews ask a candidate to pinpoint specific instances in which a particular behavior was exhibited in the past. But, the real question is not what to ask during an interview, but what to ask before the selection process even begins. Ensuring the right employee for your organization goes beyond job requirements and skill match. It comes down to the very essence of your organization and its culture: Will the candidate “fit the soul”?

Take it from a company who gets it. Internet clothing and shoe retailer Zappos.com reached over $1.9 billion in gross merchandise sales in 2009. Its growth is powered by service and a whimsical culture. Zappos’s secret is attracting people to work for them who find it natural, to be “a little weird at times” — a core cultural value. It relies on a rigorous interview process, starting with a culture interview, followed by dialogue with folks throughout the company to find just the right people who will fit in and feel at home. And even once on board, Zappos continues its quest to make sure that there’s a match between candidate and company — offering new hires $2,000 to leave if they don’t fit the culture!

In good times and in bad, beloved companies that DECIDE WITH CLARITY OF PURPOSE understand the importance of selecting not only qualified employees, but employees who “fit.”

Where are you now? Are you deliberate? Do you make hiring the most important decision? Let’s talk this out!

Want to learn about other tools to help you earn customers who drive the success and growth of your business? Pick up a copy of: “I Love You More Than My Dog: Five Decisions That Drive Extreme Customer Loyalty in Good Times and Bad.”


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One thought on “Hire in Haste. Repent in Leisure.

  1. CopyKat says:

    Wow, I didn’t realize Zappos offered money for people to *leave* to company if they didn’t fit. I would have to think that it is well spent. Lots of food for thought here.

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