Let’s Talk About Culture

Performance management matters — it touches the core of every business.

The success of performance management initiatives hinges on designing and deploying programs that address employee needs and the culture of the organization, so that you’re turning organizational values into more than words on a page. The result? Attracting, hiring and retaining top performers.

Not taking culture fit into consideration can be costly when hiring. In a recent article in Talent Management magazine entitled, “Small Business HR Lessons for Big Firm Leaders”, Christy Phillips, Senior VP of HR and Recruiting at WillowTree Inc., says when she interviews potential new hires, she makes sure to ask questions that assess cultural fit and soft skills, not just technical ability. For example, she asks candidates how they stay on top of industry trends, and assesses candidates’ passion by the enthusiasm in their answers. She also constantly tweaks culture fit interview questions to match the changing nature of the business.

An often-cited reason for top performers leaving and one of the main complaints received about managers is that achievements aren’t recognized. Leaders have to actively build a sense of connectedness with their employees, and this starts with expressing appreciation. Here are some examples of how to do this:

  • Notice employees’ unique contributions. Say something that highlights something specific: “I appreciate the way you pull in people from other departments to reach your team goals – you’re a connector.”
  • Thank people personally and publicly. Daily interactions – from the elevator to the parking lot – are opportunities to show appreciation for your employees’ efforts. Public recognition at a staff meeting, or a thoughtful “thank you” in a newsletter or e-mail, are also meaningful.
  • Ask, “What do you think?” Give people the opportunity to express themselves and be recognized for their ideas. Proactively ask employees, “How do you think we could improve?” and “What is keeping us stuck?”

Source: Harvard Business Review

The old “management by walking around” method still applies today!

In the same Talent Management magazine article, Kevin Walter, a co-owner and principal of Tasty Catering sums it up this way, “Our attitude is if you have a strong company culture and core values, and you follow those and live and breathe them, you save a ton of money in HR.”

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Jackie Messersmith is President and CEO of Talent Management LLC. Talent Management provides consulting services to small to mid-size businesses to put a top performing company culture and talent strategy in place, and is the developer and distributor of Talent Snapshot®, an integrated, competency-based, “in the cloud” talent management solution. Jackie can be reached at 513-528-9700 or jackie@talentmanagementllc.com.