What’s it like to work around here?

"I’m a large believer in hiring the right people and giving them unbelievable amounts of power and autonomy. " - Blake Mycoskie, Founder, TOMS Shoes

Have you noticed that things feel different now your business is growing? It’s not like it used to be? Can’t put your finger on it? It may be that as your team gets bigger, you find that you can’t personally champion the purpose and values of your business at first hand with everyone. So how do you ensure that the essence of your business is sustained as the business grows?

Articulating culture and values

What are the values, behaviours and attitudes you want to encourage which give your business its unique culture? As your organisation gets bigger it becomes more, not less, important to constantly articulate not only the purpose of the business but also “what it’s like to work around here”. Everyone who chooses to join your team should be clear about why the business exists and how it works.

Choosing the right people

Understanding the skills that you need to deliver your business aims, both short and long term, is a critical part of recruiting new people. However, if you can also articulate your business purpose and its culture and values, then choosing new people to join the organisation should be much more effective. Recruiting people is a two-way street; they choose you as well as you choosing them. Successful businesses of all sizes subscribe to the philosophy that choosing the right people is the key to their success. Steve Jobs said “…if they fall in love with Apple, everything else will take care of itself. They’ll want to do what’s best for Apple, not what’s best for them, what’s best for Steve, or anybody else”.

How to recruit the right people

Having identified the qualities you need; the next step is to attract as many suitable applicants as possible to give yourself the opportunity to recruit the best people. The nature of the jobs you want to fill will determine the selection process but aim to recruit people who love your purpose and way of doing things. Think about how they will fit with the rest of your team and don’t forget the potential you already have. Can they develop the skills and knowledge you need? They are a known quantity and are already living your purpose.

Don’t forget some basics

Selecting the right people for your organisation is critical to your growth. Give it the time and attention it deserves. Don’t forget some of the basics:

  • Ensure that specific roles are clearly defined.
  • Identify the skills, experience and attributes you are looking for.
  • Be aware of what your instincts are telling you.
  • Treat potential recruits as if they were potential customers. Your business values should be obvious from day one of the process.
  • Welcome them into your business with an effective onboarding experience.
  • Consider a buddy system for new recruits.
  • Check in with them regularly over the early months – joining a new organisation can be daunting.

Do we need any rules?

As organisations grow, it is tempting to introduce policies and procedures (“rules”) to avoid mistakes and maintain consistency. However, in a growing business the introduction of rules can stifle innovation and creativity, hamper flexibility and hinder change. Make sure you get the right balance and remember your culture and values. Consider whether new processes and procedures add value or constrain the people you have worked so hard to recruit?

Need any help?

If you’re wondering how to retain the purpose, culture and ethos of your business as it grows but you don’t have the time or expertise ask someone who does. Once you can articulate the things that make a difference in your business these can be translated into action plans for you and your team. Whether that is recruiting the best people, identifying skills gaps, auditing your current practices or establishing new ways of doing things.