06 Feb 4 reasons why workplace culture is more than a buzzword — #1: The human connection
by Joe Carr
The biggest mistake I see companies in the tech world make (and other specialist areas for that matter) is viewing people as commodities: a list of required experience, salary brackets, and programming languages. In the desperate search for talent, we are forgetting that we are dealing with human beings.
There are so many variables when it comes to dealing with individuals, and I’m genuinely shocked when I witness how regularly companies forget this primary point and how it deters their growth to forget the human connection.
In this series, I’m covering four big reasons culture is more than a fad, and the first reason is just that: the human connection. The people you bring into your business are the ones who will foster a great culture and help it grow, so it’s important to make sure you consider staff variety and soft skills when you hire new team members and to make a deliberate effort to understand each employee as an individual. Let’s go over these three items.
There are so many different personality types, and there’s no one-size-fits-all policy for building the right team to help your company grow. Because ultimately, we need to achieve a great mix of people to produce the best output on the back end. This is no mean feat, and often management will tend to sway towards hiring a personality type that lines up with themselves, and while this might seem like a good idea, it really isn’t. To build a culture worth talking about, you need to have a diverse team of talent from different backgrounds, with different skill sets, and who have different ways of achieving the same end goals.
Overlooking the soft skills, like personability, becomes so much more difficult to do when you get into very in-demand skill sets. It’s easy for companies to forget about the soft skills when the candidate you are looking for is also being sought after by your rivals, including their current company (being countered) who wants them to stay because they are one of a select few.
But just because someone has ‘x’ years of specialist expertise that doesn’t mean they’re going to be a nice fit for your business, and, in some instances, they can actually be the opposite of what you need. In fact, 92% of talent professionals say soft skills are just as or more important than the technical requirements.
Why is that? Well because at the end of the day, I’d rather have an eager learner than a toxic expert.
Ways to treat your staff as individuals (not commodities)
These human beings we hire have families at home, hopes, and dreams, and—if you treat them right—you’ll be rewarded with loyalty and performance. The little things do matter when it comes to happy employees, and there’s nothing like a small gesture to make someone feel valued.
Some things to think about when making hires and retaining staff who will match up with your company culture:
- Ask more about who you’re interviewing than just the relevant software experience. What are their interests? Who’s at home and involved in this decision? What are their hopes for the future?
- Give clarity on what the culture is like where you work to the potential employee. This way, they will feel part of something bigger rather than just picking up a pay packet every couple of weeks!
- Ensure leadership is connected throughout the company. I feel connected to my own company because I know that I can reach out to the entire executive team on both a personal and business level, and I do so almost daily.
- Invest in training! In my experience as a recruiter for many years, some of the soft skills are so much more important than specific technology requirements.
- Give people a clearly defined career path while still maintaining a degree of flexibility.
- Get to know the people behind the job title. I love spending time getting to know my colleagues, and I have built some solid relationships here at Simplus. You spend so much of your time at work that you may as well do it with people you enjoy spending time with.
Realizing you’re dealing with human beings rather than commodities is just one part of defining a company culture. Next time, I’ll be writing about the need for flexibility. The world of work is changing beyond all recognition, and the sooner companies realize that, the better.
Joe is the Simplus Recruiting Director, covering global QTC recruitment for Simplus. He is responsible for all international hiring outside of North America. He is a champion of #LifeMadeSimplus.