How (and why) do you hire the best?

Nov 4, 2010 | Business

Most countertop businesses that grow have seen their companies go from a small core of family and friends working together to something different and more complex.  The company goes from a place where everyone knows each other and has a history together, to a place that has it’s own unique company culture that affects how things run and how you hire.

Last month, I saw a presentation by David Russo, on how company culture affects your ability to hire and retain great employees.  David is the author of 17 Rules Successful Companies Use to Attract and Keep Top Talent, and has considerable first-hand experience as the former VP of human resources at SAS – a company consistently voted as one of the best places to work in the United States.

He described how company culture can be broken down into 5 distinct types.

  1. Bureaucracy:  New hires are usually chosen based on their competence for a job.  Policies and procedures govern how work is done, and employees join and stay because of stability.  Examples include government agencies and other public institutions.
  2. Autocracy:  Hiring in autocratic companies is also based on competence for a job, but control over employee’s activities is much more direct and top-down.  Typically, employees stay for money.  Examples include Apple and Wal-Mart.
  3. Engineering:  In this company culture, employees join and stay because of their ability to work on cool, innovative, and technically rewarding challenges.  Examples are HP or Google.
  4. Star:  In a star-driven culture, employees are picked because of their pedigree and stay because of the potential upside, both in pay and prestige.  These types of organizations tend to be extremely competitive, and place big value on autonomy, independence, rapid growth, and professionalism.  Examples include consulting firms like Accenture or Bain.
  5. Commitment:  A company with a commitment culture hires based on fit, and keeps employees based on love.  Everyone feels like they’re working toward a common goal and everyone values long-term relationships and loyalty.  Examples are Southwest and WH Gore.

David’s point was that the commitment culture is the one that works – not just because it’s nice, but because of cold, hard, business facts.  There are several studies that show that having a commitment culture leads to the most financially successful, fastest growing companies.  Are you creating a company based on love?

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