Written by: barbara-hyman
How do you really hire for values and culture, and is that the same thing?
Hiring for Values
When I was leading the People & Culture team at the REA Group, my new CEO was passionate about Values, and the central role they play in defining your culture. Following a successful change program to evolve new Values that mirrored the desired Culture, one that would set the business up for continued growth and as a talent magnet, she asked me how we were going to embed those Values through our people processes – who we hire, who we promote, who we reward etc.
It couldn’t be a screen saver pop up or posters on a wall. The values had to be really heard and felt. At the same time, we also had a business that was hiring in the hundreds each year so scaling culture means getting this right.
These are two distinct notions when it comes to hiring: hiring for values and for culture. One should stay pretty fixed, and the other should be dynamic as your business context is always changing. If a company’s values are its bedrock, then a company’s culture is the shifting landscape on top of it. Hiring purely for culture is a recipe for self-reinforcing hiring, aka hiring that is biased. As we all know, innovation comes from the diversity of background/thought/etc, so by hiring only for the culture you can decrease, or even stifle innovation.
Celebrate that just as your product is always evolving, so will your culture. That means people who were great when you were a team of 50 may not be the right person for when you get to 500.
At Sapia we work with our customers to ensure their values are embedded right from the chat interview. This takes many forms, including
- Use the language of our customers when we are configuring the interview questions. From ‘team’ to ‘crew’ or ‘family, we use your language to build rapport with candidates
- Ask questions that specifically talk to your Values. For example, safety is paramount for our airline and FMCG customers. We ask questions to gauge awareness of safety risks, such as “Drawing on your own experience, how would you make sure everyone in our store – our customers and your team members – are safe?”
- Learning from every person who joins or leaves the business. For everyone we work with, we know who sticks around in the role and who doesn’t. This will generally be either because they weren’t the right fit and they self-selected out, or the business made a decision to exit them for behavioural reasons. Taking that performance data and using it to refine the benchmark for future hiring means every candidate recommended after using Sapia as your 1st interview is a better Values fit than the last one.
And that’s why machine learning is the holy grail of smarter hiring.
No recruiter could ever get that feedback data at the scale and speed to improve their recruitment process. But using Sapia we make a hard decision easier, meaning you can focus on hiring the right people to grow your business, at scale, without sacrificing the candidate experience. And if the VP for a global business focused on connecting people to opportunity can’t recognise bias, it’s a sure sign we need to pay more attention to who, and how, we hire.
“Talent is really distributed very evenly in the world, and opportunity is not.”
So, what do you think? Is your hiring values-driven, or based on the ever-intangible ‘culture-fit’? How do you scale hiring based on values? And how can we in HR, Talent Acquisition and Recruitment support hiring managers to grow innovative, diverse teams?