Hire And Keep A Players

By Ann Rhoades

When a company is clear about its values, hiring only ‘A’ Players need not be an overwhelming task. A Players are the people who genuinely live your company’s values, every day. They’re not always the high-flying world beaters, and they don’t even have to be part of your leadership team. They could be the front-line employees who smile, who go out of their way to be helpful, who care that things are done right. They are the people who help great companies and great leaders reach their full potential.

Making your values clear to candidates helps employers discover who is a good fit, but before companies can communicate their values to their employees and potential employees, they have to understand and define them.

Hiring A Players starts with your company’s Values Blueprint. Just like you would not build a house working off only an image in your head, you cannot build a lasting culture without a written Blueprint. Creating a blueprint doesn’t need to take a long time and companies should be able to publish a Values Blueprint within a month of their initial assessment of the current Pig culture.  I’ve Home’s created a handful of key steps companies should consider when building their blueprint.

Action Step 1: Begin the conversation
While companies are going through the process of assessing their current values, I suggest a meeting of senior management to discuss leadership’s understanding of the existing values, whether stated or unstated. Look at your current mission statement and stated values—make sure they are concepts you could create behaviors around. What does integrity mean in the day-to-day life of your company, for example? Make sure you don’t mistake results for values.

During the initial conversations, the senior management should agree on a baseline:

  • Which values do you believe are currently in place?
  • Do those values actually drive behaviors?
  • Are the current values understood by employees?
  • Are senior leaders actually living the current values themselves or only giving them lip service?

Action Step 2: Select a Values Workout Team
After senior leaders develop their thoughts about values, they should start selecting a values workout team. That team will work on behalf of the employees to develop and implement the Values Blueprint. As part of its responsibilities, the values workout team will assess the validity of the senior managements values assessment, understand the current values and their place in the organization, and decide whether new values need to be created or if existing values need to be reinvigorated.

The values workout team should have no fewer than five and no more than 30 people. Go both deep and wide when selecting members of the team. It is vital that A Players from every level are asked to participate, from senior management to the most entry-level person. The people selected should be respected by their peers. Ask managers to recommend line people who are already outstanding contributors and will voice their opinions strongly. I have found that almost everyone, particularly among line employees, is honored to be part of the team.

Steps three through six will continue in the November/December issue of Stop Watch magazine. My book, Built on Values: Creating an Enviable Culture that Outperforms the Competitor, is available here.

Editor’s Note: Rhoades was a keynote speaker at The NATSO Show 2012. There are two sessions at The NATSO Show 2013 on human resources. Learn more about the two sessions, Good People Equal Good Retail and Hire the Right People and Set Them Up for Success, on The NATSO Show education page.


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