To remain competitive, organizations must invest more time and effort into the selection process. If you’re curious why so many companies fail to fully activate the talents of their people, take a closer look at how they make their hiring decisions.
Regardless of what your company does, there is only one way to build a top-performing organization. You need to make sure you get both the talent and the culture fit right with every single hire you make.
Talent + Culture = Performance
Let’s set the stage by looking at the United States Olympic Swim Team, which has won 123 medals, including 56 golds over the last four games. They clearly have the recruitment and development of top talent down pat, and no one makes it to the US Olympic team without talent.
Katie Ledecky, for example, has 5 Olympic golds and was 15 when she first swam at the Olympics. That kind of success only happens when a person has a solid foundation of innate talent. You can’t teach that to someone who doesn’t have the right stuff!
But their high-performance consultant, Mark Russell, attributes much of their consistent success to more than just talent — he points to the importance of culture as well. Culture, which is the second half of the two-part equation, is often considered the “secret weapon” because leaders frequently fail to pay attention to it. Russell explains,
“It’s about enabling these athletes to perform at their best by creating the ultimate team environment. A place where they all feel comfortable and feel like they belong.”
Regardless of how tough the situation, it’s clear to spectators that the swimmers love what they are doing and enjoy being on the team. That’s largely because the culture is strong.
How Does Culture Influence Your Business?
This applies as much (if not more) to your business as it does to the business of sports. You’ve got to focus on the talent part of the equation first, ensuring you only bring those on board who have the potential for excellence, and you should use a reliable predictive talent instrument that is the right match for your specific job role.
But don’t stop there! Just like USA Swimming, you need to also focus on bringing people on board who are the right fit for your company and your culture. If you’ve ever hired a highly talented person who didn’t work out, then you know what we’re talking about.
When you get the culture fit right, your people feel more energized, engaged, productive, and happy. That’s what drives people to activate their talents!
How Do You Hire for Culture Fit?
You need to start by clearly defining your company culture and making sure all of your leaders are in agreement. Until you determine who you are as a company and define your core values, you won’t be able to know whether someone is a good fit or not.
Schedule time to meet with your company leaders and find a way to clearly articulate who you are as a company and what you believe in. Every hire you make will either add to your company culture or detract from it. With a strong talent assessment in place and a clear understanding of your company culture, you’ll be able to select those who add to it.