Your company's core values should drive your choice of staff

By Sandy Galland

Photo / Thinkstock
Photo / Thinkstock

Are you looking for a new job? Do you want to join a "professional" family where both your personality and skill are valued?

If you are an employer, are you still looking to get the right people on the bus and get them sitting in the right seats?

Internationally the use of assessing a person's core values when hiring is widely used. In New Zealand, we are finally cottoning on to the practice.

"In any business, it's essential to have a team where everyone lives effortlessly by your values," says internationally certified Gazelles business and executive coach Leigh Paulden. "Core values are all about people and how they conduct themselves."

Paulden is one of two Gazelles International certified business coaches in New Zealand. He works in Auckland and Christchurch with companies serious about growth.

"Your core values are your essential and enduring beliefs. They are a handful of rules within a business, which are clearly defined, and your team live by regularly. It's what your people should and shouldn't do," Paulden says.

When an entire team is clear about the core values, it improves the culture within the business, and it's easier to move the organisation from good to great.

"When you hire people that fit, who have the same core values and are aligned to where you are going, a huge amount of the people issues disappear."

When an organisation is in the process of hiring staff, the core values should be visible to applicants.

"The questions an organisation asks right at the front of the interview process should be questions to drag out a person's core values. Always design your interview questions and assessments to test a candidate's alignment with your core values. Then rate the person in terms of their perceived alignment with each core value.

"If an applicant's values do not align with your company's, stop. They are not going to fit in your organisation and will cost you time and money."

Core values help manage performance expectations of all employees, including new staff who may become acquainted with core values as part of their induction process.

"Clarify the behaviours that everyone is expected to uphold at work. Provide a framework for decision-making and agreements about how people are expected to interact with each other.

"I often see companies post core values that define who they want to be, but then live quite differently. This will turn off team members and create a gap of credibility between leadership and team members.

"It is also obvious to clients, suppliers and can create the wrong perception or a distrust of your company, damaging your ability to grow ... and potentially your reputation."

In order for a core value to stand, it must withstand some important criteria and tests. The three simple tests of a core value:

• Would you fire a team member who consistently or blatantly violated one of your core values?

• Would your company be willing to take a financial hit (lose money) in order to maintain the integrity of a core value?

• Is this core value alive among your team today? Can you identify the name of a team member who is living out the core values?

Core values should not be kept a secret; they should be visible to employees (and potential employees), customers, partners, etc.

Sharing core values internally and externally in a visible way manages expectations of everyone in how work will be accomplished.

- NZ Herald

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