I wrote recently about the value of engaging employees in the strategy forming process. Doing so gave organisations a much better chance of that strategy then becoming internalised by employees than the more traditional cascading approach.
Some research from Washington University has underlined the importance of getting this right, both for organisations and for employees. They found that employees who understand and support the mission of their organisation tend to become more integral to the company than those who do not.
“In mission-driven companies—companies like Whole Foods Market or REI—the people who emerge as leaders are more than just nice guys. They are the ones who embrace the mission and values of the organization,” says Stuart Bunderson, professor of organizational ethics & governance at Olin Business School at Washington University in St. Louis.
“But the belief has to be real. Faking a value system that aligns with your employer won’t work.”
Of course this shouldn't come as any great surprise to people. As the old saying goes, you should hire for attitude and train for skill. Literally, many organisations are finding that character counts for far more than skill.
Indeed, companies are beginning to use a form of HR analytics to understand what it is that makes their star people so good, and are then looking at those characteristics from their new hires.
The most distinctive employers are now appreciating that if you want a compelling and unique offering for customers, then you need to have something unique and compelling about your workforce.
What are the attitudes that define your best performers? And what are the techniques you've devised to search for those attitudes in new performers?