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Does Culture Matter?

 

 

“How management chooses to treat its people impacts everything – for better or for worse.” – Simon Sinek

Having conducted a recent survey on why people leave, I found it interesting that culture was identified as the number one reason that people left their last role. With over 43% of respondents giving this as their rational for leaving, it is clear that company culture cannot be ignored.

The results of the survey pose a few interesting questions as a talent professional – What exactly is culture? How much does culture really matter and why? Is hiring a cultural fit the way forward? And if so, how can you measure and assess this?

So, what is culture and why does it matter?  

Firstly, culture is a loose term with hundreds of definitions – some see it as something vague which cannot be controlled, others see as something simple that can be managed. For me, it sits somewhere between the two.

In my opinion, McKinsey & Company sum this up well, defining culture as:

“As the common set of behaviours and underlying mindsets and beliefs that shape how people work and interact day to day”

Because culture is created by a “common set of behaviours and underlying mindsets and beliefs”, the people who lead your business, and those who sit under them, have a huge impact on the culture throughout the organisation. Essentially, if those running your team have some bad behaviours or beliefs, this will trickle down and have a knock-on effect across the board. A good and bad culture alike can have various effects on your business, some of these are:

  • Correlation with high / low performance
  • Impacts employee engagement
  • Culture impacts agility
  • Research shows impact on long-term financial performance
  • Culture differentiates you from the competition
  • Culture is difficult to replicate
  • Strong Cultures attract the right people  

Finding a Cultural Fit

From a recruitment perspective cultural fit is often talked about – this is how someone fits into an organisations culture. Get it right and you can achieve remarkable things, get it wrong and the culture or subcultures can become toxic.

An article in the Harvard Journal describes Culture fit as the glue that holds an organization together”. That is why it is a key trait to consider when recruiting. The result of poor culture fit due to turnover can cost an organization between 50-60% of the person’s annual salary, according to the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM).

Cultural fit is important in any recruitment process and is even more critical when making senior hires. Over the years, it is something I have heard clients ask for repeatedly when discussing assignments. When we ask clients how they assess cultural fit the answer is often “it’s down to gut feeling” or “we get the applicant to complete a psychometric test”. I would argue this is too simple a view, and to truly assess cultural fit it must be a two-sided process. The required behaviours needed for a role, and by the company, should be assessed by both the client and the candidate.  

So, how do we assess cultural fit?

At Corvus, our Executive Search methodology, Corvus Assured, makes this a little more scientific and is based on leading research into behavioural assessments. We use several behavioural tools that use AI to check for alignment between the clients needed and expected behaviours and that of the applicants. The process considers both sides – firstly the desired behaviours for a role, and then the actual behaviours of the person applying.

The starting point for this is to look at client expectations of the role, by having the key people involved in the recruitment process undertake an assessment that shows the key behaviours they want in a role. This is also an opportunity to check that they are aligned internally on what their expectations of the person are. Sometimes this gives interesting results, where clients expectations differ between people internally, and ultimately are misaligned. Clients often welcome this feedback, and it gives them a clearer picture of different perceptions and allows them to consider these in their decision making. Making sure the key stakeholders are aligned before starting the process is key to its success, after all, how can you find a fit if you all are looking for different things.

Some questions to help assess cultural fit

  • What type of culture do they thrive in
  • What type of values are important to them and why
  • What do they know about our company culture
  • What type of working environment do they enjoy

There is no simple, unified, way to assess cultural fit but there are tools to make the process more scientific and robust. 

So, in terms of the question, ‘does culture matter?’ I would say very much so – the Simon Senik quote at the start of this sums this up very eloquently.

If you would like to talk to us about a different approach to recruitment or some fresh thinking for your next hire. Please feel free to reach out. Corvus is a team of highly experienced and passionate consultants who deliver recruitment and HR related solutions to companies in NI, RoI, GB and internationally.


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How to speed up your recruitment process

 

 

Finding and evaluating job applicants is often a time-consuming, multi-stage process. It takes time and effort, but did you know that hiring the right people, and fast, can save you money? Some of the costs to your business for not filling a vacant position quickly could include:

  • Dip in productivity within your existing team
  • Extra recruiting costs – for example, more time spent advertising means more costs incurred
  • Lost sales as a direct result of the unfilled role – for example, due to a lack of resource,  
  • The salary of hiring staff involved in the recruiting process, which would normally go toward other activities if the vacancy were filled
  • Any overtime paid to current employees making up the work

These are some of the short-term costs, but there may also be customer frustrations because of insufficient staffing, leading to longer-term impacts across the business. And even worse, should you hire the wrong person, you could find yourself rushing to replace them, and that means spending additional money.

So how can you overcome this? Preparation is key and will help you manage your time. Here are my top tips to help you prepare before your role goes to market:

Align your team on who you are looking for

At the start of any hiring process, you should sit down with the hiring team and decide what skills, qualifications and behaviours are needed for the role. You should know exactly what you would like the person to bring to your company, what their key skills are, and what their experience looks like. Leaving this to luck can lead to disagreements on who is best suited for the role, or a hire that wasn’t a good fit – neither of which are ideal.

Creating an advert that stands out

You want to make sure your job advert is targeting and resonating with the right people. Your advert should not just be about the company, and it should cover why THEY would want to work with you and the impact the job will have on their lives. Will it pay them more? Perhaps they will develop faster, or maybe they will get to use new technology or tools. Either way, simply listing their duties won’t do much to excite and attract, so make sure you have them in mind when writing the advert. Check out our guide to writing job adverts for some more tips on this.

Assess the candidate with more than just their CV

Finding a cultural fit for your business is vital to making the hire a success. You should be looking at more than just skills and qualifications and should use various assessment methods or behaviour-based competency questions to get a better idea of their true fit.  Some useful questions can be found here – Behavioural Interviewing Techniques and Strategies (thebalancemoney.com)

Schedule time to make decisions

If you want to keep the process moving, this is essential. Calendars get busy, and fast – often, those involved in hiring decisions are doing so on top of their ‘day job’, so time must be carved out at the beginning of the process to ensure availability. Create a schedule for the entire process and block out time in advance if needed.

Keep in touch with your candidates

Once you have begun the hiring process, keeping in touch with your candidates will help build relationships and manage expectations.  It isn’t always possible to get back to everyone, but where a candidate has been interviewed, it is important to let them know rough timelines. If you don’t, you run the risk of your ideal candidate going elsewhere. Poor communication, at any stage of the recruitment process, can also impact your employer brand – potentially having a longer-lasting effect. Even once the offer has been made and accepted, you should aim to touch base a few times before they join – this is particularly important if they have a long notice period.

Act with urgency

As we all know, working with people can be volatile. If you have a role that is critical to the business, you should aim to act quickly to minimise disruption. Candidates who are active in the market could find another job before you have responded to their application. It is also important to keep in mind potential notice periods, which depending on the candidate, could be up to 6 months. Ensure you are setting realistic time frames for your own business and from the perspective of a candidate. Once you are past the interview stage, and sure of your candidate of choice, make the offer promptly and follow up with official documentation on the same day. It provides confidence to the candidate and allows them to make the necessary arrangements with their current employer.

Being prepared is key to keeping on top of the process, so implementing the above will make sure your search gets off to the best start. Hopefully, some of these tips help you with your next hire – maybe even saving you some time, money, and unnecessary headaches.


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It’s a match! Using the rules of dating to ace your next hire

 

 

It seemed odd when a few of my clients started to refer to me as the Cilla Black of recruitment. Recruitment and dating appear worlds apart, but the comparison got me thinking. I decided to pop up a poll on LinkedIn to see if others felt the same, and interestingly enough, 80% of respondents agreed that there were similarities. Like dating, recruitment happens in different stages – some of these are time-intensive and don’t always go our way. Could applying the rules of dating to your recruitment process help you find your perfect match?

Our Executive Search methodology, Corvus Assured, breaks down the stages in a similar way. So, in true Cilla style, I wanted to share our inside secrets on how we help businesses find their ideal candidate.

Stage 1: Figure out what you want 

Much like dating, it’s good to go into the process with a clear idea of what you are looking for, however, this can be more challenging when there are different viewpoints to consider. Imagine asking your mum, dad, brother, and best friend all to agree on your next love interest – I am sure we all cringe at the thought. 

It goes without saying how messy it would get, and this is why aligning your stakeholders before you begin the process is key to success. According to Forte One, companies that lead with culture and alignment tend to drive strong business results over time. That is because alignment within the Senior Management Team (SMT) leads to a clear and focused strategic plan, which trickles down to the rest of the organisation. 

So how do we ensure that our client’s Management/Leadership teams are aligned and agree on the ideal candidate? 

Along with taking the time to fully understand the business, we ask stakeholders to individually complete a short online behavioural assessment. This allows us to get a clear picture of the ideal candidate from each perspective and establish if the Management/Leadership team are on the same page.  Often this is not the case and provides an excellent opportunity to discuss individual perspectives and gain consensus on what a ‘fit’ looks like. 

This stage goes deeper than skills and qualifications and looks at the behavioural requirements to ensure a fit with the business culture. A colleague recently completed a poll on LinkedIn, asking participants why they left past roles. Coming in as the top reason was Company Culture at 43%, so getting the fit right is crucial to creating a successful placement. Like the client survey, we also ask candidates to fill out an in-depth behavioural assessment. Matching these to the desired profile makes for a strong cultural fit and leads to higher retention rates.

With critical hires, some of our clients have been on the search for quite some time. Often enough, the reason they haven’t secured their perfect fit is that, without even knowing it, the SMT don’t agree on who they are looking for. 

Stage 2: Find your Soul Mate 

According to Tribepad, eHarmony claims to be the dating site most likely to deliver happy long-term relationships because they prioritise compatibility. Similarly, once your SMT is aligned, it’s time to start the search for compatible candidates. 

As part of our Corvus Assured offering, key stakeholders get access to our portal, which is not that dissimilar to an online dating page. Here, you can access behavioural profiles, key competency questions/answers, CVs, and video covers (essentially the video alternative to a cover letter). We all know romantic relationships won’t last long if someone feels the other person isn’t being true to themselves, so this gives a holistic view of the candidate and makes it easy for the team to weigh up their options. 

Keeping in touch and ensuring clients and candidates are in the loop helps avoid the dreaded “ghosting”! We all know how it feels – you’ve been on a great date, all appears to have gone well, you have been messaging and then bam, you don’t hear from them again. It can certainly pinch! Just like traditional recruitment, we have all fallen for the “perfect” candidate, just for them to drop off the face of the earth without warning. Along with access to the portal, our candidates are prepped on our process and proposed timescales. This provides clarity and ensures their commitment to the role in advance of any interviews. 

Stage 3: The Dating Scene 

So, you have worked out what you want and created a list of a few who caught your eye. Now it’s time to start the dates interviews!

Before any candidates meet with our clients, we do preliminary interviews to ensure the fit is right – a bit like meeting through a mutual friend. We know you both, and we know that it could work. We do the groundwork in informing the candidate about your business and its culture, helping give them a better picture of what it would be like to work there. 

While the pressure is normally on the candidate, the interviews are an opportunity for you to sell your business further and give real-life examples of how they will fit into your team. According to Glassdoor for Employers, 94% of UK job seekers want to know about all aspects of a company before accepting an offer, so the more authentic the experience the better.

To get the most out of the “date”, asking the right questions is vital. Tailoring the interview questions to the desired behavioural profile will make sure you are delving into the detail and helps to remove any blind spots once the start date comes around. We work with our clients to create bespoke questioning, making sure you are in the know about your potential new hire.

Stage 4: It’s official 

After we have poured our hearts and souls into finding your perfect match, and you have gone through the numerous interviews to make sure it feels right, it’s time for the final stage – making an offer.

Offering your candidate the role can be a make-or-break situation. You need to get it right and make sure they feel valued from the start. Low-balling with pay, or taking overly long to decide, can leave the candidate feeling underappreciated, which isn’t a great start in any budding relationship. 

We work with our clients and candidates from the beginning of the process to ensure expectations are clear from all sides. It gives peace of mind that everyone “wants the same things”. 

Oh, and let us not forget the dreaded ex. Approaching with a counteroffer – please stay, we swear we will change. It’s an unlikely story, and unless the only reason to leave is salary, it’s seldom a good idea to take a counteroffer. We understand our candidates’ motivations before shortlisting them, helping to ensure anyone at the offer stage is serious and ready to move. 

If you feel your business needs a Cilla, one of our team would be happy to have a discovery chat with you. We’ve completed over 70 assignments using our Corvus Assured method, so you know you’ll be in safe hands.


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