Recently, we have been getting into more discussions about hiring using company culture with our new Facebook group, The Online Hiring Mastermind. My business partner and the CEO of FreeeUp, Nathan Hirsch, wrote a post that read as the following:
Tip: Define your company culture. Then hire people who fit that culture. It doesn’t matter if you have one worker or 25. Defining your company culture is important.
The group reacted with excitement to the post asking for examples and wanting to hear more. This article is a result of that conversation that was started on January 14th, 2017. I will dive into what a company culture is, how you can take three simple steps to get started with your own company culture, and our experience with company culture at FreeeUp.
What is company culture?
A company culture is a set of beliefs, best practices, and policies that a company creates to hold its team accountable to. For the most part, the company culture is defined and disseminated by the founders of the company as they are the ones with the most passion for the company and its future.
A company culture sets the stage for the team as they are encountering different situations within their daily roles and responsibilities. The company culture helps the team to understand how they should be treating others, organizing their responsibilities, and pushing forward as an individual within the organization.
Without a well-defined company culture, the team can become lost in their role within the company. As a founder without a company culture, you will see much less organization and ability to get your message through to your team. In order to fully optimize your vision of how you will grow the company, you must get your team on board with your own unique company culture.
The FreeeUp Company Culture
We’ve worked hard to define the FreeeUp company culture because we understand the importance of its impact on the future potential of our team and company. We had a huge focus on the company culture at our first eCommerce company and saw the power of how it can bring together an amazing group of talented people all focused on achieving the same goals.
Everyone’s voice is heard
An aspect of the FreeeUp company culture that is consistently communicated to the team from the day that they are interviewed is that everyone’s voice is heard. We support a company culture where we expect you to be more than a doer. We want to hear your ideas and we want you to feel comfortable challenging ideas presented by others.
If that belief was not communicated via our company culture, we may never hear from our team regarding their own ideas and thoughts. If you are a business owner and you don’t feel that you receive enough feedback from you team, ask yourself the question, “Have I clearly outlined that I want to hear their opinion?” Sometimes simply not saying something can lead to a set of reactions from your team.
Another critical value of the FreeeUp company culture is communication. Above all else, communication is key, both internally and externally. All members of the team are expected to communicate regularly with both the internal team as well as their set of clients. The FreeeUp culture sets guidelines for how this communication can be delivered and we, as the founders of the company, hold everyone to that same standard.
For example, it is not okay to start a conversation on Skype and then disappear without explanation. At other companies, the lack of communication may be accepted as the norm, but with a company culture focused on strong communication, it is not acceptable.
We take the value of communication even further with our 15+ pages of communication guidelines. The document outlines all of the different scenarios that you may run into as a FreeeUp worker and how we expect you to respond. We even make an effort to have two emergency contacts, phone numbers, and emails for each team member so that we can always contact them even if there is a loss of power, etc.
These are only a couple of examples of how the FreeeUp company culture guides the growth and operations of the company. With a team of over 250 remote workers servicing out network of clients and our own internal needs, it is of utmost important to have a well-defined company culture so that everyone is on the same page at all times.
Steps to Hire your Team using your Company Culture
The difference between making the right or wrong hire is night and day. When you hire the right person, they are able to take immediate action on helping to grow your business. When you hire the wrong person, it pulls you away from growing your company and puts you in a situation where you’ve wasted time onboarding and trying to integrate the wrong worker into your team.
With a well-defined company culture, you can avoid hiring the wrong people. You can incorporate questions about your company culture into your hiring process to make sure that the people you are hiring are aligned with the beliefs and values that you hold as a founder and that your current team holds as an organization. When you hire through company culture, you highly increase the chances of making the right hire. Don’t we all want that?
1. Define your company culture.
The first step is to define your company culture. Put aside 1 hour of your time (and your co-founder’s time, if applicable), and write down what is most important to you as a business owner. Here are a few questions that you can reflect on:
- How do you want your team to communicate with you? with each other?
- How do you want your team to tackle problems as they come up?
- What personal values do you hold that you want to integrate into the company? For example: integrity, financial responsibility, being creative.
- How do you want your team to view money? Is it the number one focus of their life or is it a means to an end?
2. Hire people who fit that culture.
The second step is integrating your company culture into your interview and hiring process. The company culture should be included in all of the material that you communicate to potential applicants. This includes:
- Job postings
- Interview questions
- On-boarding material
Within all of these aspects of the hiring process, you should be looking to see if the applicant aligns with your company culture while also making sure that the applicant has the skill set necessary to fulfill the job you are hiring for. If you can find a perfect fit for your culture and the role, you will be headed in the right direction.
At any time when the applicant seems to stray from your company culture or has radically different views from your core beliefs, walk away. It doesn’t matter how smart they are or how much experience they have, you will have difficulties working together and integrating them into your team if your core beliefs differ.
3. Hold your team accountable with your culture.
The hiring process doesn’t stop once you’ve welcomed them to the team. There should be a 1-4 week evaluation process where you make sure that the new hire fits with your culture and is performing within their role. Set up meetings to evaluate both and continue to reinforce the beliefs of your company culture so that they are on the same page.
If there are any signs that the new hire may not be an optimal fit, fire quickly so that you do not waste too much time trying to integrate someone that isn’t going to work. There are millions of talented professionals available in your local area and online…don’t waste time trying to making someone fit that doesn’t.
This article is written by Connor Gillivan. Connor is the Chief Content & Marketing Officer of FreeeUp, the online hiring platform for the eCommerce industry. Connor is an expert at building company cultures and has used it to build multiple million dollar companies. Connor’s writing has been featured in leading industry publications such as WebRetailer.com.