The work-from-home culture
If culture is king for a superior customer experience, as we say here at 360Connext, it seems working from home is a prime example. It's argued over and debated, given and taken away, loved by some and hated by others.
We run a virtual company. That means the entire team – CEO included – works from wherever we wish using the amazing tools available to us – GoToMeeting, Office 365, Evernote, Box, and even Google Hangouts – to attend meetings, collaborate, and deliver to our clients.
BUT the virtual culture is a critical part of how we hire. Some people just can't be comfortable without the structure and security that come with a brick-and-mortar office. I know many people who simply need a place to report to in the morning. There's certainly nothing wrong with that. But qualifications aside, these people simply can't fit into this culture.
Your own culture is sacred.
This raises questions about a bigger issue. If you're not hiring for your culture, you are inviting issues that create problems for your best employees. While working with corporate clients, I’ve been exposed to the training programs that include titles like “How To Work with Difficult People.” Unfortunately, this means there are difficult people allowed to continue with these companies, get promoted and even lead others in these environments. If you are hiring for your culture, you need not worry about this issue.
These “out-of-place” people, who may very well possess the required skill set, are detrimental to a harmonious workplace culture. They introduce cynical thinking and much worse. They drag your best employees into the dirt. They are the Debbie Downers of the team. Keep them out. Close the draw bridge!
So back to working from home. It’s always important to create ways for your team to connect. We are social creatures, after all! But you cannot assume the way you work from home is the way everyone else does, and don’t assume their way is wrong. There can be many advantages to this type of diversity, as long as it's conducive to your culture. And as long as you hire the right people.
Trust your gut.
When I was part of start-up, my partner (who was also my brother) and I learned quickly to develop a “gut check” rule when hiring. The first several hires we made were, well, let's just say they were nobody's favorites. While reviewing resumes, we realized that for lack of a good reason to say no, we often said yes. After hiring a few people this way, we also realized we had an intuition for who would fit in and who would not.
So we decided on a rule where either of us could reject an applicant based on a simple gut check. That was another critical lesson learned-there was no need to explain or justify our judgments. When we actually tried explaining it, we rationalized ourselves into a corner where a poor addition would be made to our team. The gut check rule served us very well. We hired outstanding people who worked well together. Any time we ignored our gut-checks, it became apparent soon enough.
Culture is a very organic and funny thing. It flows downward from your C-suite as well as it and rises from the most junior levels in an organization. People are irrational and emotional, so the idea of being completely objective about them is a farce. Own up to that and own up to how you can’t perfectly define your culture, but you know it when you have it right or wrong.
Are you hiring the right individuals for your culture?