Wednesday, February 21, 2018

CX Journey™ Musings: Culture is More Than Hiring the Right People

Image courtesy of Pixabay
Don't believe everything you read or hear on the Internet.

Yea, I know. Your mom probably warned you about that, but I'm just going to reiterate.

It's a fact.

Sometimes well-meaning folks put themselves out there as experts in a field and then think they can provide expertise about an unrelated (or perhaps, ancillary) field, knowing/assuming their followers will buy into what they are saying. With that authority or expertise comes a lot of responsibility - a responsibility to not mislead your audience!

Case in point.

I follow a digital marketer who just recently launched a podcast. In his teaser post to get people to listen to the podcast, he said that building a great company culture starts with hiring the right people.

Not so fast.

Recall from a post that I wrote a few months ago about the 7 Pillars of a Strong Culture...
Culture is best defined as "values plus behavior" and is often described as "how employees act when no one is looking."

I've previously defined culture as the set of values and norms that guides how the business operates; culture happens when we operationalize the values.
Building a culture starts with defining the seven pillars, not the least of which is the values that are the foundation of your culture!

Hiring the "right people" cannot happen until you've defined the values. How can you objectively identify if someone is the "right person" or is a "culture fit" if you haven't first defined your culture (values + behavior)? How will you know if their values match the company's values? How would you define the "right people?"

Please define your culture/values first, then hire the right people. These "right people" will fit, add value to, contribute to, be a part of, and build on the culture that exists/was created as a result of your core values.

Hiring people doesn't build a culture. Yes, hiring the right people is important to maintaining and sustaining your culture; however, your values are the foundation of that culture, which means they are the foundation for hiring, promoting, and firing. Building a culture starts with defining your values.

I think this quote from Tony Hsieh says it all...

We believe that it’s really important to come up with core values that you can commit to. And by commit, we mean that you’re willing to hire and fire based on them. If you’re willing to do that, then you’re well on your way to building a company culture that is in line with the brand you want to build. -Tony Hsieh, CEO, Zappos


  1. LOVE THIS! I also question when "experts" share their insights when they haven't done the work themselves. It's obvious that they're trying to capitalize on popular keywords.

    I believe culture starts with values and things such as recruiting, interviewing, engaging, rewards etc. follow soon after.


  2. Thanks, Michel. I think you're right.

    As for values, how can you hire, fire, etc. if you don't have the basis for which to do so. Values are critical.

    Annette :-)

  3. I agree too with Michel.
    Thanks for sharing this values article.

  4. Thanks Annette, your spot on. I have been guilty of just saying you have ‘to hire the right people’, however, without referencing to the company’s core values then what type of person are you hiring?...makes senses to me.