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Talent Acquisition and Sustaining Corporate Culture

Like most organizations, yours almost certainly has a vision statement. It more than likely has core values too. And it probably has expected principles and behaviors defining how work should get done. Each of these factors – and so much more – all combine to form your organization’s culture. Creating a desired company culture takes significant time and energy – but once you have it, how do you keep it, and whose responsibility is it to do so?

Sustaining an organization’s culture takes constant reinforcement – and more often than not this falls on the shoulders of Corporate Communications, as well as Senior Leaders and Executives. But is just talking about your culture really enough to maintain it? Doubtful. In fact, I would personally contend that the primary responsibility for sustaining culture ultimately falls on the shoulders of those involved in the Talent Acquisition process. That’s right, Recruiters and Hiring Managers.

It’s one thing to train new and existing employees on the vision, values, and behaviors they may not have fully understood and/or displayed at the time they were hired. There will always be a need for cultural communications, coaching and development once they onboard – at least to some degree. But those involved in the Talent Acquisition process have the opportunity to substantially limit that need to fill in the gaps by recruiting, screening, identifying and selecting not just top-performing talent, but top-performing talent that already fits the organization’s culture.

I see too many Recruiters – and often times organizations as a whole – that tend to look for one key quality in the identification of top-performers: the skillset match. Don’t get me wrong, having requisite skills is important – but job skills are just one element of the overall top-performer equation. Organizations with this myopic view should begin to shift from simply hitting the skills-related bull’s-eye to focus on the entire dartboard if you will. This begins by reexamining the way you score candidates, and recognizing the fact that culture fit is every bit as important as the skillset match. Doing so can not only help sustain the organization’s culture, but ultimately improve the company’s overall growth and performance.

Remember: skills define what the work is, but culture defines how the work gets done at your organization – and that can make all the difference in the world. Talent Acquisition professionals and stakeholders in the selection and hiring process must learn to align their organization’s vision, values and behaviors with the assets they are seeking during the attraction, evaluation, and selection of candidates. Recruiters and Hiring Managers alike should begin to connect the dots, by learning how to consistently identify and apply culture fit criteria when selecting and hiring talent. Then, the organization as a whole should continue down this path when managing and measuring individual employee performance, and reinforcing culture fit throughout the lifecycle of the employee.

So how do you as a Recruiter or Hiring Manager begin? I’ll be sharing some suggestions at the upcoming California HR Conference on September 2nd in Anaheim, when I present, “Recruiting on Target: Sustaining Corporate Culture.” For those unable to attend, I’ll follow-up with a subsequent post providing a few more recommendations. Until then, spend some time gaining insights and understanding into how you can define and implement opportunities within your organization – to identify top-performing talent that fits and sustains your company’s culture.