Tag Archive: Culture Strategy

  1. How to Interview for Culture Fit

    3 easy steps to culture fit interviews that are insightful, scalable, and lead to great hires.

    Alignment (or misalignment) of personal and organizational values directly effects employee engagement, which in turn effects performance and retention. Strong alignment strengthens overall company culture, but if you bring in people who aren’t aligned, you’ll quickly find yourself at the tipping point of an organization-wide problem. That why assessing culture fit during the hiring and interviewing process is so important.

    Here are 3 steps to interviewing for culture fit:

    1. Frame questions the right way.

    First, you want to make sure that interviewers are asking questions in the right way so they get the most insightful responses from candidates. Use behavioral interview questions that ask about specific experiences, rather than hypothetical questions, which put candidates in an imagined future scenario where anything is possible. Here’s an example:

    Hypothetical Q: “Tell me how you would handle an angry customer.”

    Behavioral Q: “Tell me about a time when you had to address an angry customer. What was the problem? What did you do to resolve it? What as the outcome? How would you assess your role in diffusing the situation?”

    2. Ask the right questions.

    Second, you want to make sure that interview questions align with your company’s core values, as well as the values of the team. If customer orientation is a core value across the company, then a question like the example above is something you should ask in every interview. Or maybe customer orientation is important in sales and customer service, but not so much in IT, where results orientation is more important. Be flexible and adjust interview questions accordingly.

    If you don’t know what your company and team values are – or you know what you want them to be, but you’re not sure if those values are actually represented – a culture assessment is a great place to start. This will tell you how your employees are experiencing culture, and how well their values align with what’s written on the wall. Then, you can decide whether you want to shift or strengthen your existing CultureDNA™, using cultural interview questions to support your strategy.

    3. Provide interview guides.

    Finally, if interviewing for culture fit is important in your company, it should be done consistently. That means you need a structured and scalable interview process. This will help inexperienced and/or busy hiring managers stay on topic, know what questions to ask, and get the most out of limited interview time.

    Start with an interview guide using pre-vetted or custom interview questions. You can also build pre-recorded video interviews using video interview technology. No matter what type of interview guide you choose, you’ll benefit from increased team collaboration and greater consistency across interviews.

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    Learn about the differences between culture fit vs. culture add, and get more interviewing best practices in the Diversity and Unconscious Bias Interview Guide.


  2. Culture Management Strategy: 6 Signs Your Company Needs One

    Your company may need a culture management strategy.

    A culture management strategy will benefit your business even when things are relatively stable. But, you will definitely need a strategy to keep your culture strong through growth, mergers, leadership changes, and other tough transitions. Here are 6 common culture shocks that can derail your business, and tips for managing through them:

    1. A merger, acquisition, or restructure

    Nothing causes culture shock quite like this. For employees going through a merger, acquisition, or organizational restructure, it can feel as if the rug’s been pulled out from under them. So many things change, and changes happen fast. To emerge with a stronger culture, rather than a discordant culture, you need a culture integration strategy. This involves highlighting and understanding all the cultural dynamics at play. A culture measurement tool can help you see the cultural impact of the changes you’ve made, and identify key differences between your different operating groups. Over time, you’ll be able to measure the progress of culture integration and take steps to support a strong company culture, as well as strong subcultures.

    2. Change in leadership or organizational strategy

    Leadership sets the tone for organizational culture. When there are changes at the executive level, culture shifts often follow. To proactively manage these shifts, business leaders needs a way to assess their current culture, and track progress toward their new cultural vision. A culture measurement tool can compare the executive team’s aspirational culture to the current culture (as experienced by employees) to identify areas where the greatest shifts need to occur. Measuring the culture fit of candidates is also essential—you’ll be able to see how new hires will help move you toward your desired culture, rather than keep you in the past.

    3. Hyper growth

    Culture is dynamic, and by constantly adding new employees, organizations can severely dilute their culture. If you had a strong culture before a period of hyper growth, you may find that culture significantly changed, and significantly less effective than it was before. Culture dilution has also proven to negatively effect employee engagement, performance, and retention. So how do you scale your business without deteriorating your culture?  You must have a dedicated effort on reinforcing the values and underlying behaviors that drive success in your company. With a culture measurement tool, you can monitor for culture dilution, see where it’s happening, and identify values that are decreasing in relative importance. It’s also important to measure candidate fit to ensure you’re hiring people who share the values of your desire culture.

    4. Diversity & Inclusion initiatives

    There are many dynamics at play within a culture that can inadvertently undermine your diversity and inclusion efforts. The first step is understanding organizational attitudes toward diversity and inclusion. You can do this by measuring cultural behaviors such as tolerance and collaboration. With a culture measurement tool, you’ll be able to see the relative importance of tolerance as compared to other priorities or values that employees perceive as important in your organization. You can also measure perceptions within diverse populations to see if these groups experience culture differently than others in your organization. Only then can you work to harmonize culture across diverse groups and confirm that your diversity and inclusion initiatives are effective.

    5. Issues with engagement, performance, or turnover

    Culture strength is a direct predictor of employee engagement, which in turn predicts performance and retention. Weakly aligned cultures consistently experience more issues with engagement, performance, and turnover. Whether these issues are pervasive across your company or higher within certain segments of the business, a culture measurement tool can reveal areas of cultural disconnect and help you diagnose the underlying cause. Without visibility, you will struggle to enact positive change. How you hire also impacts on your ability to ‘plug the leak,’ as alignment between personal values and organizational values has proven to enhance engagement, performance, and retention. By measuring candidate fit, you can ensure alignment from the get-go.

    6. Defining or refreshing organizational values

    Because culture is rooted in organizational values, step one of any culture initiative is understanding what those values are. Values set the expectation for how work gets done within your organization, and values drive the behaviors behind all of your business operations. Rather than choosing words simply because they sound important, like INNOVATION or INTEGRITY, use a culture measurement tool to survey employees and see the values that exist in your organization today. Then, use that insight to align your work practices with your existing values, or build a strategy to shift your values. Either way, a bottom-up approach to defining values will foster an environment where employees are more connected to the culture and feel a sense of ownership.

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    To learn more about culture management strategy and best practices, download our infographic: 4 Pillars of an Outstanding Company Culture

  3. Business Strategy and Organizational Culture: Tips on Aligning Them

    How to make organizational culture a business conversation, not an HR conversation

    Episode 6 of the Talent Playbook Podcast features Tony Bridwell, author, speaker, and the Chief People Officer at Ryan, LLC. With more than 2,300 employees, Ryan is the world’s largest tax consulting company, and #71 on this year’s Fortune 100 Best Companies to Work For.

    What’s the secret to becoming a Best Company to Work For? Bridwell says it’s about putting your people first. At Ryan, people are first on the company’s ‘big four results,’ followed by clients, revenue, and IBITA. Here’s why, according to Bridwell:

    You take care of your people. Your people take care of your clients. Your clients provide revenue, and if you run the business well, then you get an IBITA.”

    Bridwell says that these big four results drive every decision he makes. “If I’m not hiring the right people and I lose them in 6 months or a year, that costs the firm money, which hits bottom line. From a revenue standpoint, I lose connectivity with clients, it hurts productivity, and the people experience is bad. A bad hire hits every one of my key results. Same goes for development and total rewards. If I lose people because they’re not being developed, or because the compensation isn’t right, it hits every one of my key results.”

    Bridwell continues by saying that the conversation about talent and people at Ryan is a business conversation, not an HR conversation. When it comes to driving business results, the formula at Ryan is ‘Structure follows strategy—and culture supports it all.’ Here’s how Bridwell puts it:

    “If you don’t realign the structure of the organization to deliver the business strategy, you’ll end up ‘muscling a result.’ This happens so frequently. There are organizational structures that haven’t changed in years, but each year there are new strategies. People understand the strategy part because that’s what they’re taught in school. But rarely will they modify the organizational structure to deliver that strategy, and almost never will they check and adjust the company culture. When I meet with the COO and CEO at Ryan, we’re constantly talking about the cultural barriers  that will prevent us from delivering our business strategy.

    The single largest strategic initiative in our firm this year is our cultural reset. We are completely resetting our company culture to deliver the biggest growth we’ve ever seen in our firm’s history.”

    Read more about Tony Bridwell’s work at tonybridwell.com, or listen to the full interview on the Talent Playbook Podcast.