One of the biggest hurdles leaders have to get over is learning to hire effectively. Most people hand the responsibility off to the human resources department and pray. This is a bad idea for many reasons. Churn costs money – every time you have to hire you; increase your expenses, lose skill and experience, and deplete the morale of those still employed. These are all costs.
On-the-other-hand, NOT firing someone who doesn’t fit or who isn’t productive also costs. The company pays in decreased production and quality, poor morale of the rest of the employees, and repair and make up efforts. These are all costs.
Bad hiring also costs in term of depressing the ability of others to produce their best, by the impact on the companies reputation both in the labor market and in the market place. Unhappy employees do not provide the best customer service!
Do you know your culture? Can you describe it? How are the company values (you do have a mission, vision and values statements, right?) being lived in the culture? If you can’t articulate these, then you are not alone. You may not be alone, but you had better get your act in gear!
Zappos has become famous for their culture. If you listen to the video on our home page you will hear him say he sold one of his early companies because he didn’t want to come to work – the culture sucked. Does that sound familiar?
How much is culture worth? How important is it to you? At Zappos they train folks and then they pay them to leave. He’s even thinking about raising the stakes because not enough take him up on the offer. Why is heavens name would he do such a thing? Why is it SO important to keep only people who want to work for you?
Ingar Skaug, CEO of Wilhelmsen, an international shipping company in Scandinavia was not only a clever man, but a compassionate and wise one as well. Taking over after an airplane crash killed the top two layers of management, he had to shepherd these people through grief and them help them recover their effectiveness. He had to be willing to fire those who couldn’t live with the vision and values they had agreed upon together. He had to make sure that everyone knew what those were, so there would be no misunderstanding. He did this until, “Commitment to a healthy, productive culture became part of our DNA.” Culture is all about right relationships and a strong ethic of reciprocity! An effective and strong culture has a life of its own. It self-organizes around its beliefs and values.
Both of these men see culture as the key to a successful and profitable company. They believe in culture and they are willing to pay to make sure the culture works! How important is culture to you?
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