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Corporate culture – Critical for successful businesses

If there is one lesson to emerge from the Royal Commission into Misconduct in the Banking, Superannuation and Financial Services Industry it is the importance of corporate culture. It is clear that many of the failings that have been observed stem from an inadequate focus on good corporate culture.

We have observed that the conversation over corporate culture is increasing and businesses who are interested in long-term success are doing more to build good corporate culture. This means among other things, that these businesses have a good understanding of their core values and they ensure that all staff are aligned with these values and are fully committed to upholding and promoting these values.

When recruiting

This has practical ramifications for recruiting. It is important that the people you employ are not only competent but have the right character and are attracted to the core values and culture of your business.

Choosing candidates who can work well in your current business environment and adapt to the core business principles and values is crucial for your team’s success. Assessing cultural fit through your hiring process also helps to reduce high staff turnover as new staff tend to fit in with the business’s culture with more ease. When they do fit in with the culture, they are also more likely to experience greater satisfaction and perform better.

Finding the right people

Here are some tips that might be helpful in finding the right people for your business:

  • Hiring for the right cultural fit often means first assessing your business’ core values and mission. Understanding the characteristics of your culture will help you to craft your job advertisement and attract the right types of candidates to begin with.
  • Getting clear on your business’s vision is important in attracting people with a similar vision; those who are willing to work hard to improve your business.
  • When it comes to interviewing potential employees, asking the right questions to gauge the cultural fit is key.

Consider things such as:

  • Focus on questions that will help you understand how people like to work, what motivates them and how they fit in a team.
  • Ask a potential candidate about their preferred management style. Their response is useful in discovering how they like to structure their work, and receive instructions and overall guidance. It can also encourage them to describe their ideal workplace and see if it aligns with your business.
  • If you are looking to hire someone who will happily work towards the goals of your business, you must ensure your potential candidate’s values are consistent with your business. These candidates will seek to grow with your business and promote it as a great place to work.
  • Hiring people who are passionate and ambitious is critical. Asking a candidate why they want to work for you helps to give you a real insight into whether their skills, interests and career goals will serve your business.

The 3 Cs

It has been said that there are Three Cs of Recruiting: Competence, Character and Chemistry. (Mind you when I Googled this I got a number of different variations on what the three Cs stood for!). When it comes to alignment with corporate culture Character is the most important. Chemistry is about whether a person is going to fit within your organisation. Competence is of course important but you can train for competence. Character is not so easy to change.

Saward Dawson is regularly involved in conversations with our clients around the keys to success in business. If you would like to discuss how your business could look at some of the issues raised in this article, we would love the opportunity to engage with you.

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