Ensuring Your Hire Won't Ruin Your Culture
By Zoe Connolly Co-Founder & Managing Director, Hospitality Spotlight | December 25, 2016
Corporate culture is critical to ensuring that the experience guests actually receive is representative of the experience that hotel leadership hopes to portray. Culture can be affected in any number of ways, from management implementing employee appreciation programs to maintain top talent, through far less formal interactions like a couple of workers putting together a plan to ensure there's coffee to start a shift together. It can be augmented, strengthened, improved, measured, and yes; culture can be ruined.
In fact, ruining corporate culture at a property or across a region can happen far more quickly than one might expect, and all it takes is a single bad apple.
Astoundingly, recent data points to the idea that a single toxic employee can ruin an entire corporate culture. In fact, the average toxic employee can cost a company more than $12,000. This number does not include efficiencies that can be garnered by keeping the right team in place. And naturally, turnover rate increases when there is a toxic employee in the mix.
As a hiring manager, you've taken the time to review resumes, meet candidates, negotiate benefits and salary and finally on-boarded a new employee. This last piece of the equation, onboarding, offer leadership the ability to ensure that one potential bad apple doesn't ruin an entire batch.
The next few steps allow leadership to ensure that potentially great new talent doesn't ruin your culture:
- Increase Leadership Engagement - As a management team, being both available
and visible to your employees is a necessity. There is a well-intentioned,
but ultimately misguided theory that having an open door policy is all
that's required. These policies are great, but don't ensure that employees
will come to talk. Leadership should ask questions and check in regularly,
even when nothing is going on.
- Take Stock with Those Involved in the Hiring Process - Management should
connect with those employees that helped in the interview process and loved
the candidate. While there is a risk of confirmation bias (that is, those
who loved a candidate will seek to validate their initial feelings), it's
important that advocates for a recent hire are given an opportunity to feel
validated. This is a great way to make team members feel more invested in a
new hire, and can help more readily integrate this employee into the team
and environment. The opposite of this is also true. It's important for
people who may feel as though their feelings were overruled in the hiring
process be given an opportunity to be heard. So-called "bad apples" can be
hired, as well as created. If you've got someone who's empowered with hiring
responsibilities, it should mean you trust their judgement. Be certain they
feel appreciated, even if you went against their recommendation.
- Speak to the Skeptics Too - As mentioned, bad apples can be created when an
employee doesn't feel heard. Going against a hiring recommendation happens
regularly, but is a terrific way to inadvertently make an employee feel
alienated. Leaders must meet with those employees that helped in the
interview process and were skeptical about this new talent. Maybe they
fought against the hire or they just didn't sign off. If they felt
threatened or just dislike the person, they may still feel the same. Unless
they've become friends or friendly, more than likely they still feel the
same way. Make sure they aren't shutting this person out. If there's been a
"check-in" talk and things stay the same randomly change schedules, groups or
cubicles. There is a reason why teachers moved kids around back in
elementary. The idea works. Make sure not to point anyone out.
- Incorporate Team Building Events - Whether it is a catered working lunch or a
grill set up outside the office for a BBQ, team building events let the
employees know you care about them as individuals. In addition these events
can encourage new hires or shy employees to become more involved in an
organization's corporate culture.
- Keep Your Ears Open - More often than not, people usually just want to feel
heard. Be certain to greet both formal opportunities for feedback (such as
360 degree reviews) and informal chances for employees to make their opinion
heard. Surveys where employees can offer a vote, small events and focus
groups, and yes, team building events can enable a hotel's employees to feel
as though their voice is being heard.
- Reward Your People - As we've discussed in previous columns, various employee
engagement programs can range dramatically in size, scope and cost. One
simple approach to maintaining and improving corporate culture is creating
an award system where employees can provide recognition for their peers and
colleagues. For this to work, it's important to establish ground rules
(this isn't a popularity contest) and ensure that praise is spread
throughout an organization (the same person shouldn't be eligible to win
more than a certain number of times per year). In an ideal situation, it's
best that any award is something that the employee can share, so it can turn
into a team building event. However, if you're looking to minimize costs,
something as simple as a killer parking spot (and the bragging rights that
go with it) can be effective.