in2vate spelled out in two shades of blue

The importance of mission, vision, & culture

By Roger Duffield, CPCU, ARM

In our last article, I wrote about developing a scoring matrix for interviewing candidates. I explained that there could only be one top trait that a candidate could have (i.e., one 10). For me, it is always culture. We always look for candidates that best fit our mission, vision, & culture.

This has been a point of discussion with my superiors over the years. Their point of view seemed to be that the most important trait for candidates is their specific skills. I always insisted that there are many people that can have skills, talent, and experience but if they do not believe in the mission and vision of the company then they will lack commitment. These employees will show up, get paid, and go home – their work quality (and quantity!) will vary drastically.

Each time I allowed a superior to use their power to hire a candidate that did not fit the company culture, there was a clear difference in their quality. They may have been more experienced but then they would become impatient in how the company operated or the resources available. They would require some level of counseling on how to handle their concerns. Another common problem is people wanting to be told what to do to avoid decision-making and risk. While these are only two examples, the challenges become endless when ignoring this important trait.

When interviewing for a senior-level technical position, we were using a group interview process that included a supervisor, myself, and two more senior leaders in the company. We had several candidates, one that met the mission, vision, and culture spot on but was less experienced. One was technically proficient. To simplify the hiring, despite the person with less experience having an overall higher numerical score on the matrix I developed, it was decided to go with the person with more experience.

They were proficient in doing the job and had acceptable results. For many years they consistently met the standards but never surpassed being average. They complained about salary and having to follow company rules that were inconvenient. They never seemed content with their role and this discontentment was palpable to those around them.

All of these examples are to drive home the importance of a more holistic view of the candidate. Skills can be taught, experience can be gained, and employees can be developed – but if an employee does not match the culture of an organization, they will never excel and can even drag down those around them. From a risk management lens, remember that in2vate always says that happy employees don’t sue!

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