In order to have engaged and motivated employees, you need to start with hiring the right people… but that doesn’t necessarily mean whoever is the “smartest” on paper or whoever tells you what you want to hear in an interview. Here are a few tips to help you hire winners that will build the foundation of your organization.
1. Find purpose-driven people
Hiring is arguably the most important thing that any company does because the team that you build and the culture that you create will always determine whether you succeed or fail. Regardless of how good your product is and how much funding you bring in, you will never survive in the long-run if you fail to hire committed, hardworking and value-driven people. You should start by making sure that you find, recruit and hire people who have a passion for what you do… people who see sense of purpose behind your mission.
According to SHRM’s Executive Network, there are 3 types of origins of purpose in work:
Money-Oriented: Work is a financial transaction; i.e. “I get stuff done, you pay me so I can put food on the table”. For this group, work is nothing more than a job.
Status-Oriented: Work is an identity; i.e. “I am defined by what I do for a living”. Career = social status, achievement, and prestige. This group likes to brag about what they do to their friends.
Purpose-Oriented: Work is how we add value; i.e. “I chose this job because I am passionate about it and I want to help the cause.” This group sees work as a chance to manifest their calling for good.
For purpose-driven people, work is about value creation and fulfilment, not money and status. Millennials make up the largest portion of this group and seek purpose and fulfilment far more than any other generation.
Purpose-driven employees add value because they are more intrinsically driven by what they do (I do it because I enjoy it) as opposed to being extrinsically motivated (I do it because there is cash or reward). This means that purpose-driven professionals have higher values of pride, loyalty and fulfilment from their day-to-day work.
Employers seeking to build high-performing teams and strong cultures should therefore seek out purpose-driven employees. Their intrinsic desire to add value will make for better teams, higher-quality work and more focused productivity than those who simply work to earn money or status.
2. Start with a great management team
The first step, of course, is that everything starts with your management team. How they view the company, the goals and what personal values they bring to the table will always trickle down to their employees. It’s hard to have motivated, hardworking employees if the managers are lazy. So, you must always view your management team as the foundation of your business. By training, compensating, and aligning them with your vision, they will help to push these same principles and ethics down to the rest of the team. Managers need to have the following qualities, at a minimum:
Fair, ethical, accountable, and honest at all times.
Able to connect organizational purpose with individual meaning.
Willing to lead from the front and do what is best for the team.
Energetic, positive and able to prioritize tasks.
Patient, flexible and understanding without being a push-over.
Mission-driven, creative and able to turn ideas into reality.
Technologically clever (in modern times, this is a MUST).
There are, of course, hundreds of skills and qualities that could be listed here, but if you hire management teams who fit the above requirements, you will be well on the way to having cohesive, effective teams. Next, you need to hire the right employees.
3. Hire hardworking self-starters for the front-line
Often, finding hardworking self-starters is more important than finding extremely smart people. The reason for this is that it is ultimately a person’s inner drive that leads them to succeed (especially in sales and customer service). If you can find and hire these type of people, pair them with strong management, align them with the purpose/vision of your company and give them the tools to succeed, you will be well on your way to success.
In order to hire top-quality people who align themselves with your company goals, you need to ask the right questions in interviews and have hiring staff who are good at judging character and integrity. A few questions you might ask include:
WHY? — This is the most important type of question and will tell you most of what you need to know about a candidate.
- Why do you wake up in the morning?
- Why do you want to work for us?
- Why should we hire you instead of the other talented candidates?
- Why is this the right role for you?
HOW? — The how questions are almost as important as why because they help explain what sets them apart.
- How do you solve a difficult problem?
- How do you relate to other employees and superiors?
- How do you work with customers to address pain points?
- How do you contribute to the team?
- How do you know you are making an impact?
WHAT? — This will help you understand what motivates and inspires the candidate.
- What do you bring to the table that other candidates do not?
- What motivates you?
- What leaves you fulfilled?
- What are your dreams?
- What do you want others to remember you for?
- What would you like to ultimately achieve out of working here?
WHO? — This question helps to frame the candidate in a way that is relatable.
- Who is your role model/who do you look up to?
- Who do you work best with?
- Who do you see yourself as today and 5 years from now?
WHEN? — Creating a timeframe of success and completion gives an understanding of what you can expect from this person.
- When are you most motivated?
- When was the last time you completed a major project?
- When have you faced a difficult situation as a member of a team and how did you overcome it?
- When do you believe you will be you will reach full productivity in your new role?
WHERE? — Understanding how a candidate views the workplace is important in identifying key motivators.
- Where do you work best from?
- Is the flexibility of remote work important to you?
- Where do you gain inspiration from?
- Where do you see this company headed in the future?
4. Build culture around purpose
Every company has it’s own culture. At Google for instance, they call it Googliness… it’s not an easy word to describe but every employee knows what it is. But Google didn’t start off with amazing offices, food in every corner, slides, and volleyball courts. They started with purpose. Google’s purpose was (and still is) to organize the world’s information and make it universally accessible and useful. They built culture around their purpose, not the other way around. So, first, define your purpose and then begin looking at culture.
Like Google, when you hire, you should be looking for employees who fit the vibe and culture of your company and have the required skills to not just succeed, but to excel.
What defines your company? Is your culture young and fun? Bold and serious? Tech nerds with an attitude? Whatever it is, you need to understand what defines your people and you need to hire other people like them. There’s an old saying that you should always hire A players because A players find, recruit, and hire other A players. Whatever you call them, you need to find, target, recruit, and retain the absolute best people you possibly can. In order to do this, you need to have strong culture.
If you can create a clear vision with meaningful purpose and hire a good management team, you’re off to a good start. Next, make sure the management team keeps their employees mission-driven and aligned to the purpose. Carefully hire hardworking self-starters who are motivated to get the job done right. Then, build a culture of success, performance and fun around this high-quality team. It’s a recipe for success that has been employed for decades by the world’s leading companies… and it’s well within your power to do it too, if you’re committed.