By LILIYA JONES
Any business owner will tell you that managing the “people” part of their business is the most vital but also the most challenging part of entrepreneurship. In order to build a healthy company culture, you have to be clear on the values that guide your work. And you have to make sure your team is on the same page.
Writing Job Descriptions
Your hiring process represents a great opportunity to infuse your values into your work and to ensure that new hires get a good feel for your company. A job description is likely to be the first introduction that a potential employee has to your firm. The core values of your company should certainly be a part of this introduction.
Of course, you need to include benefits, salary range, and required qualifications. But you have a lot of freedom in how you choose to describe the role. For example, you could use your values as big-picture categories, with each of the various responsibilities falling under one or more (remember, values are best communicated as action-verbs). Alternatively, you could add a description to each of the responsibilities that describes how it relates to your values.
Whatever your approach, you will be communicating to your future employees that you live the firm’s core values through your work everyday and they will, too.
Designing The Interview Process
Now that your applicants are sufficiently familiarized with your core values, it is time to see whether they could put them in action. In addition to asking candidates to reflect on your values in their application materials, you should make your values a central point of the interview process.
You should ask the interviewees what the values mean to them and then discuss how their answers are similar/different to yours and your team’s. You could also structure the discussion of their past accomplishments to include opportunities for the candidates to share how they have lived these values in their previous roles. And you could ask them to envision new ways of adding a values-focus to the role in question. If they can translate your values into action-oriented examples, you’ve got a strong contender.
Congratulations, you have landed on the perfect candidate! The onboarding process is your chance to solidify the values-orientation in your new team member and to build positive habits. Once again, consider finding a way to weave your discussion of the role’s responsibilities around the core values. Make sure to build in time for the new hire to reflect on the values and ask questions so they can find a way to make them their own. You could also begin staff meetings by recognizing and celebrating the ways employees promote the values in their work. Lastly, you could make values-focused trainings and retreats a part of your continuing education for all staff.
Thoughtfully incorporating your firm’s core values into your hiring process is a great way to ensure that new employees understand what your firm is all about, believe in your mission, and feel ready to contribute.