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Tuesday / August 9.
HomemilastwordCulture First; Skills Second

Culture First; Skills Second

We’ve been restructuring a little at mivision – nothing too major, but as our business evolves, responsibilities change; it is a timely reminder to pause and consider what it is we need from our staff.

It’s a big decision to add (or subtract) someone when you have a small team, and because we don’t do it very often, it can be quite a daunting process. Flick through any job advertisements, and you’ll see a wish-list of qualifications – and that’s important because there is no point hiring a plumber when you need a writer. But I’d argue that culture plays a more crucial, yet undervalued, role.

One of the things I value most about mivision is our team. I know that regardless of whether or not I am physically in the office, our team will continue working towards the main goal – to get a high-quality, interesting and educational publication out of the door and to our readers on time, every month.

Ideas will be generated. Articles will be written. Problems will be solved. The team will interact with readers, industry contacts, advertisers – by phone, by email and in person – and I have confidence that everyone will represent the mivision brand faithfully. That’s because they “get” the culture of mivision. We’re working towards the same goal. We have the same expectation: near enough is not good enough.

We’re working towards the same goal. We have the same expectation: near enough is not good enough

Karen James’ article this issue ‘Get on the Bus!’ hit it on the head. If we’re not all heading in the same direction, it just isn’t going to work. The right people need to be on the bus and every seat matters.

And so it comes back – once again – to defining values and culture (interesting, isn’t it, how frequently that crops up). But how do you hire (and fire) on values and culture? First, you have to have done the hard yards in working out the ‘why’ behind your business.

State your core values upfront. If ‘helping people’ is what gets you out of bed in the morning, let your potential employees know. It will spark interest in those of a like mind. It may also weed out those that don’t share your values.

Spend time crafting questions that will elicit information about core values from potential hires. Sure, anyone can say that they’re motivated by helping people too… but ask for examples. How did you last help people? People who are truly passionate about helping people will light up; they’ll have stories to tell.

If a potential employee doesn’t “fit” with your core values, it will create tension and conflict. Take time over finding the right fit for your business.

Hire slow and fire fast – it’s a maxim that has never been more relevant than it is today. Spend the time at the front end: the most important thing to do when speaking to job candidates is to understand his or her workplace values. Does the DNA match? After all, as long as essential qualifications are met, you can train people to learn skills unique to your business.

And, while you can teach skills, it’s much harder to get people to change their values.

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