The biggest mistake many businesses make is that hiring decisions are based on a candidate’s skills listed on the resume.  While skills and abilities are important, they can be taught, modified and enhanced.   They do not contribute to the basis of any company’s success – culture does.

Company culture is defined as a “special blend of values, beliefs, taboos, symbols, rituals and myths” that are developed over time with a company. (Source:  Small Business Encyclopedia).

Weak cultures cost employers money, in terms of absenteeism, poor employee health and high turnover. Strong cultures can support innovation and productivity among all employees as well as corporate growth and market domination.

Here are 5 ways to help achieve the culture your company needs:

1. Committed leadership.  Culture starts with management.  Aim to be a living, breathing example of the culture you want to obtain.  Is your goal to be a thought leader in your industry?  Then give your employees the chance to educate themselves by attending industry events or participating in other educational opportunities.  Is your goal to improve customer retention rates?  Then focus on how you interact with your customers.  Employees watch and judge your every action, and their behavior will reflect what they witness you doing.

2. Make an investment. Mission statements that are simply hung on the wall and forgotten are not the answer. It is important for employees to feel that their management team is investing in them and supporting their professional growth.  This does not mean that you have to institute an educational reimbursement program within an already tight budget; establish a mentoring program or establish training days to bring all employees up to speed on certain best practices and/or technology platforms.

3. Open, effective communications. Communication is a two-way street.  Companies with strong cultures consistently communicate news – good and bad – to their employees.  In addition, they work to create an environment where all employees feel free to share their own ideas, suggestions and/or concerns.  Employees become part of the solution, not another problem to be dealt with.

4. Benchmark. Companies with strong cultures constantly measure themselves against other great companies and seek out learning opportunities.  This does not mean that you should copy another company’s cultural framework.  Simply observe for best practices that can be leveraged within your organization.

5. Establish a succession plan.  Strong leaders know that a definitive succession plan makes the business not about them, but about the company.  A strong culture cannot flourish when a company’s focus is on its leader.  A succession plan lends an air of stability and allows a strong culture to flourish during times of transition.  For more information on establishing a strong succession plan, read The Snelling Blog titled “Succession Planning Lessons from Steve Jobs

Companies, during the hiring process, should investigate whether or not a candidate’s values align with their culture.  This alignment is extremely important on a candidate’s ability to use his/her skills.  An employee who flourishes in one environment can struggle and fail in another.  Snelling can help you make this most-important match.  Our trained professionals can provide you with immediate access to candidates with the skills, experience and intangible qualities needed to make that great cultural fit and make an immediate and profitable impact.