Lately, I’ve had a few different discussions with business leaders about hiring and onboarding. Particularly how it relates to purpose and values. So, I wanted to take a deeper look at how purpose plays into finding the right people and welcoming them into the business.
During my recent interview with M.J. Clark, M.S., Fellow PRSA, we started discussing the role of purpose and values in the talent management process. According to M.J., “It has a lot to do with your people – the people in your organization and the people you bring into the organization. I believe managers should discuss values during the hiring and onboarding processes and explain what type of behavior aligns with your values. Too often, we fail to create the right experience on day one.”
Putting Care into Finding the Right People
M.J. makes two really important points here about the influence of purpose. First, if you’re building a purpose-driven business, it matters who you bring into the organization. Certainly, this is true in any business. As leaders, we need to find people who share our values and ensure that they’re the right cultural fit for our brand. However, this sentiment is amplified for businesses pursuing a social or environmental purpose. You want to find people who believe in the work you’re doing.
Tip One: Incorporate your purpose and your values into the process.
One approach may be to write your purpose and values into each job description. Then, add them to the hiring page on your website, to LinkedIn and to your recruiting materials. Another approach may be to create a series of screening or interview questions that focus on values and purpose. This will help you look beyond qualifications alone.
It’s important to remember here that companies with a clear purpose attract like-minded people. This is particularly true for those seeking entry-level or early career talent. I’ve been learning a lot about Generation Z (those born between 1997 and 2015) recently and have found that work-life balance, diversity, environmentalism and transparency are incredibly important. One study defined GenZ as the True Generation, caring extensively about working for an organization that prioritizes people.
Tip Two: Diversify your talent pool.
The same study also characterized GenZ as incredibly diverse and radically inclusive. It’s important for all leaders to recognize that the Social Justice Movement has shifted employee expectations on brands. A diverse and inclusive work environment is the expectation. It has also changed our tolerance for lack of diversity or action.
So, once you know the qualities or traits that you’re seeking, take steps to expand your talent pool. This may mean investing more time in relationship building before and during the hiring process. It could also mean looking at different places to post your openings, such as colleges, universities, associations or professional groups. Or, partner with a talent firm who understands your purpose. Most importantly, however, make it a priority. Set measurable goals and create a clear plan to achieve them.
Hiring the Right People on Purpose
Strong cultures are built. They don’t just happen. The same is true for a purpose-driven brand. Once you’re clear about your purpose, you need to do the work to weave it through the business. I’ve shared a lot of articles and tips on how to do this through consistency and communication. But, more and more, I’m learning that training is also an important piece of the puzzle. In fact, I recently added this to my list of services for this very reason.
Tip Three: Invest in training.
In other words, help your employees understand the behaviors and beliefs that align with your purpose. Doing this can create consistency and foster greater connection and adoption. It will also help your employees seek out candidates who fit the organization’s culture and become more discerning about the people they want to bring into the business.
For example, to reinforce their company values, a friend recently described to me her plan for empathy training. The goal was to open communication between teams and explain how their work intersects so there is greater empathy when mistakes are made or miscommunications occur.
Tip Four: Create the right experience.
The second important point M.J. shared about hiring and onboarding is that we don’t always take time to create the right experiences upfront. Chip and Dan Heath talk a lot about this in their book, The Power of Moments: Why Certain Experiences Have Extraordinary Impact. We need to keep in mind that once we’ve done the work to bring great, new talent into the company, it doesn’t stop there.
We have an opportunity to make their welcome experience memorable and meaningful. So, consider creating a company-wide process that incorporates multiple touch points and reflects your purpose. In my experience, the welcome and onboarding processes often varied by department or even by hiring manager. If you haven’t already, spend time mapping out your onboarding program and then share it with all of your employees.
Creating an intentional welcome process will build greater consistency and ensure that new team members will be immersed in your purpose and values from the onset. These systems will also become an important part of protecting your culture, outlining expectations and building a purpose-driven brand.
Do your employees live your purpose?
Did you read this article and realize there may be additional steps you could take to build purpose into your hiring and onboarding processes? Perhaps we can help. We specialize in helping companies uncover and define their purpose, but have recognized that the success of this work rests on the ability for managers and front line workers to live your purpose. So, we’ve added some new tools to help you clarify your welcome process, create a purpose journey and assemble step-by-step purpose toolkits for managers and front-line staff.