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Getting the Culture and Behaviours Right - Even Before People Start!

No Magic Bullets

Every business we work with has its own unique blend of people, culture, ambitions. Everything that makes up ‘being human’. We all know there is no one right way to run a business. No single answer to the right “culture and behaviours”. No magic bullets.

Sometimes that’s frustrating.

But then, if there was one answer it wouldn’t be long before we all got thoroughly bored.

But recently we came across one part of an answer. This was an answer to an important question: “how do you start training up your team members the culture and behaviours you want even before they’ve even joined your business? In fact, even before you’ve even interviewed them?

So, this is what happened. We were interviewing a team of people mostly early on in their careers. The interviews aimed at understanding each individual’s strengths and abilities to support the business’ growth. As part of this process, we asked people to describe different ideas that they had on how to support growth from within their roles.

An Amazing Experience

One lady described how important it was to take care of the little details. The things that make the difference between a client getting routine service or getting a service that they love so much they refer the business on. She’d only worked for a couple of years prior to joining the business a few months earlier. She talked with great maturity about the client relationship, the importance of good process design, and the need for the whole team to work together to support the end result.

Now to be fair the entire team spoke to us like this. There was a genuine customer-centric quality ethic that permeated throughout the entire business. For us it was a truly amazing experience because, sadly, this is not a commonplace situation.

We had to pause the interview for a few minutes. We asked: “We would love to know: what was your interview process like?” She explained: “Oh the usual: I applied online, came in for interview, answered some questions, was lucky to be offered the job.”

Double Take

So, we dug into a bit more detail: “Was there anything unusual about the process?” “Well,” she replied, “Two things really. The first was I got to meet all the team and talk to them during the process. I found out afterwards they have an important voice in the hiring decision: whether or not they felt we would be a good fit to work together. But there was another little thing, a little detail, and this made me feel very special even before the interview started. And this made me want the job even more: As I drove up to the office, I went to the parking bay that I’d been told to go to. Arriving, I found my name on the parking bay just like I was some CEO or an important client.”

Stunning hey? A simple little detail transformed motivation and set the standard for how to treat people. The team follow these principles and carry them through on a daily basis to each of their tasks.

Small Things, Big Difference

Do they mind having that extra task to do to put that name out on the parking lot every time some random unknown person is coming for an interview? Not one bit. Because, they understand that how they treat each other is a sustainable model for how they treat their customers. It’s very hard to behave one way to one group of people and differently to another both consistently and authentically.

To Action

Ask yourself: “If you are running a team already, whether it’s five, 50 or 250. What are you doing to make sure that your people know exactly what’s expected in terms of culture and behaviour? This takes leadership and example. And, if there is a gap for you, what one thing could you start doing today or first thing tomorrow that takes you one bit closer to the culture and behaviours you really want?

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