Companies with a defined and strong culture outperform their competitors by as much as 200%. Culture is what positions companies to innovate, deliver an exceptional customer experience and become an employer of choice. Company culture can make or break a company and one of the biggest threats to company culture is employees who are not a cultural fit for the company. Not only can wrong-fit employees threaten company culture, but research has shown that hiring the wrong employee can cost as much as three times the employee’s annual salary in replacement costs. It is imperative that companies defend culture by screening, hiring and retaining the right people. Here are 3 bold ideas to help you protect your culture by finding and keeping the right people.
1. Hire for motivational fit
Most companies screen applicants based on a skill set, experience and core competencies. Screening and hiring in this manner can lead to competent employees who are not a motivational fit. The result could be early burnout for the employee, negative impact on company culture and morale and frustration for managers who may have to deal with negative attitudes. A better way to screen and hire is to seek not only skill competency, but a motivational fit.
In order to excel and be happy, employees must be intrinsically motivated for the position. If you’re hiring a customer service representative, good motivational fit questions might include:
- What do you like most about being in a customer contact position?
- What do you want from your next job that you’re not getting from your current job?
- What part of your current job do you enjoy the most? The least?
- What are some of the things in a job that motivate you?
Strive to hire not just for skills, but also for motivational fit.
2. Keep your star employees. Ask everyone else to leave.
When Jack Welch was the head of GE, the bottom 10% of organizational performers were routinely asked to leave. Welch noted that in many cases, the bottom 10% went on to successful careers at companies where they truly belonged and could excel. An on-demand Internet media streaming company sees management’s job as hiring, developing, and cutting smartly so they have star employees at every level. The Keeper Test managers at this company use is: “Which of my people, if they told me they were leaving in two months for a similar job at a peer company, would I fight hard to keep?” Consider keeping and developing your star talent and helping everyone else find better fitting opportunities.
3. Pay employees to quit.
An online retailer famous for its customer culture pays employees to quit. All new hires of the company must attend 4-weeks of Customer Service Culture training. This training is mandatory, not only for customer service employees, but every position in the company. After the first 2-weeks of new hire training, employees are made an unbelievable offer. If they feel that the company is not a good fit for them, they can walk away with their salary for 2-weeks plus get a check for $1,000. Two weeks later, after 4 weeks of training, new hires are offered $2,000 to walk if they don’t feel the job is the best fit for them. A third and final payout if offered 3 weeks after new hire training and employees who don’t think they are in the right place can take a check for $4,000. The company pays employees to quit because they are fiercely protecting their culture. Weeding out employees who don’t fit the culture early on helps maintain the culture. The offer is so high because the company wants to provide an amount that enables the employee to make the right decision and not feel they have to stay in a culture that doesn’t fit just to avert a lengthy period of unemployment.
Paying employees to quit is certainly a bold idea. But can you envision this strategy (at a payout level that makes sense for your organization) saving you frustration and money down the road?
The right employees will support and strengthen your culture, while the wrong employees threaten the culture and cost you money. Defending company culture through rigorous screening, hiring and retention practices takes great effort and the rewards are performance and profits.
Golden, Myra, “Keep the Star Employees. Everyone Else Needs a Generous Severance Package Now.” 2010 Retrieved from: http://myragolden.com/2010/07/05/keep-the-stars-the-others-need-a-generous-severance-package-now/
Michelli, Jospeh, A. “The Zappos Experience” McGraw Hill, NY, 2011.
Ren, John, F. Company Culture: What it is and how to get it. Retrieved from: http://management.about.com/cs/generalmanagement/a/companyculture.htm