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Avoid Mistaken Corporate Identity, Ask This Question

Alongside mission and habits, values is a key element to describing and testing culture for your candidates.

Mission ensures all employees are aligned to a common goal and purpose. Habits are all the tasks and customs employees do (in their own way) that keep the organization productive. And values dictate the behaviors of all employees (whether they are being watched or not) that define the organization.

However, many organizations have a bit of an identity crisis. The values they say they have are not values that they actually practice.

Have you ever worked at an organization that proudly plasters their core values all over the walls, website, meeting rooms, etc., and leave you with the tickling thought, “That doesn’t sound like us…” or perhaps you are just left snickering.

Having a confused identity does more than just leave employees snickering. Using the wrong values when evaluating candidates can leave you with new employees that quickly become former employees.

This begs the question:

Are the organization “values” really "our" values?

Does your organization “put customers first”, “rise to every challenge with integrity and creativity”, “treat everyone with respect”, or whatever it is your organization touts as its values?

Here is a simple test to see if the organization’s values are true or just a load of unicorn poop:

Name three times that employees (from the C-Suite to the newest single contributor) practiced an organization value even when not doing so would have been easier or would have resulted in a better outcome.

Moreover, what happened to that employee who chose to practice the value even though it was not the easier or more lucrative decision? Or, on the flip side, what happened when an employee did not practice a value in order to gain the outcome they wanted?

For example, if your organization has the value, “Honesty above all else”, can you name three times where members of the organization told the truth where lying would have had a better short-term outcome, and were celebrated or otherwise supported for the choice? Or, can you name three times where someone lied and were reprimanded or otherwise faced consequences for breaking that value?

For any organizational value, if you can’t name three examples (just three!), it is not a true value.

Embrace real values to attract and select the right candidates

Want to find candidates that can do the job and thrive in your organizations environment – be true to the organization and its values, warts and all.

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