Developing a culture for your team or organization is a process that is built over time. It’s a mindset created and followed by the leadership team which trickles down throughout the rest of the organization. Developing that culture is a process. It doesn’t happen overnight with a trendy statement or some flashy material splashed in the aisles: it’s developed, nurtured, led by management, and bought into by the team.
The term culture itself has gained traction in American lexicon over the past few years, especially as it relates to business culture. Employers are looking for more than just skills and strengths, in some cases, they’re also looking for the right people to fit their culture.
Is there really a culture in your office? The answer is “yes.” There’s always a culture. Is it a fun-filled office with a relaxed feel, or is it a hard-nosed down-to-business setting? Is tardiness routinely accepted, or is the old adage “fifteen minutes late is on time, and on time is late.” Do meetings start on time, or do they start a few minutes late while everyone trickles in? As a leader, if you are lax in these areas, your team will be. Your culture changes when you change. Culture is your team’s identity, and it exists in your team today whether you know it or not. It’s an attitude, discipline, and structure led by you and followed by your team.
Developing an identity for your organization is an important step in creating what your team represents. Culture is as important an ingredient in finding the right employees who properly fulfill what your team embodies.
Skills, Strengths, and Attitude
Traditionally the main areas employers focus on while screening applicants are the applicants’ skills and strengths. As always, these remain the pillars of any interview, but if you’re developing a specific culture within your team, getting a feel if the applicant can share in your culture is worth diving into. If they have the skills and requirements to get the job done, but you don’t think they can mesh with the team and the identity you are creating, are they the right hire for your team? This is definitely something worth exploring during the interview process.
Develop questions for the interview that are specifically geared toward your office setting. Just as you would ask the important questions to determine if the applicant has the right skillset for the job, ask the questions that provide you an idea of whether or not they fit your culture. If the applicant is strong on skill but short on the attitude you desire, than you’ve got questions to ask yourself.
Lead by Example
At the end of the day, culture is a mindset. It’s a mindset which begins at the top and trickles down throughout the organization. Within any organization, the team follows its leadership’s example. Finding and hiring individuals who meet your attitude and approach goes a much longer way toward sustaining your culture than hiring someone who does not.
Asking the tough questions during the interview process, questions beyond just skills and strengths, will go a long way in ensuring you are hiring the talent that also fits your culture.