Whether it has been consciously designed or not every business has its own unique culture and you can always tell what that culture is by simply spending some time inside the business.
Regardless of any values you’ll find written on the walls or championed on the website, the truth will out.
Culture is an atmosphere. Culture is a feeling. It cannot be hidden, and it cannot be cheated.
Even the most inspirational cultures find themselves under constant threat. Threats from targets not being met, threats from competitors, threats from growth. Yes, growth is a serious threat to any culture, for it often leads to new people entering the workplace.
With new people, come new dynamics and consequently new challenges.
So how do we navigate the risks involved with bringing new people into your business?
Whilst CVs have proven themselves to be ideal for understanding a candidate’s experience and skills, embellishments aside, they offer little insight in terms of what really makes a person tick.
That’s why we have interview processes, as ultimately we are looking to answer one simple question with any new hire: can we trust them?
Trust them to deliver, to fit in, to add value, to take the business forward.
Most people wouldn’t get married to someone after the first date, so how do we establish enough trust to make a decision to hire?
Today, most businesses try to adopt a ‘hire slowly, fire fast’ approach to recruitment, getting to know candidates better before making a decision, yet so much of our hiring processes are built to establish reliability, not trust.
And even the ‘fire fast’ aspect can create some accountability problems for a business. Imagine for a moment that you were unable to fire at all. What would your recruitment process look like as a result?
It may sound crazy but Next Jump has adopted such an approach. A job for life. Their attitude to hiring can be found on their culture page which simply states: “We don’t hire employees; we adopt family members. We don’t fire… we coach.”
Whilst this approach may not suit everyone, there is much to learn from their approach to hiring and talent development and it all starts with values.
Just as culture eats strategy for breakfast, values trump performance. Values are the currency of trust.
So, why values? Taking the literal meaning, values are “principles or standards of behaviour; one’s judgement of what is important in life”. Sounds pretty simple, right? So all we need to do is ask people what their values are and we will know if they are a fit for our business or not… not quite.
Values only manifest themselves in our behaviours, which in turn determine the actions we take and the results we achieve.
This is true not just in business, but in life.
What do values come from?
So, how are values formed? Our experiences in life inform our beliefs, which in turn shape our values. Once established our values rarely change and provide us with an operating framework, guiding all of what we do. It is for this reason values are critical to the success or failure of any new hire.
Just as culture eats strategy for breakfast, values trump performance. Values are the currency of trust.
So how do you hire to values? The law of attraction will play a big part in this process, so try not to make your company, or a role within it, appealing to everyone or chances are you will fail to attract the people you really want.
Start with a wish list, but along with skills and experience spend equal time thinking about ideal personality type and behaviours.
What characteristics are you not willing to compromise on?
Consider every point of engagement as a potential filter to eliminate those who do not match your wish list.
Once you know the type of person you want you’ll need to create a job description, but don’t limit that description to tasks. Take the opportunity to convey the experience of working in your business. What does an average day in your company really feel like?
Every touchpoint with a candidate is an opportunity to demonstrate your culture and express what makes your business unique. Think about how you want your dream candidate to feel when they read the job description – you never get a second chance at a first impression.
Equally, consider every point of engagement as a potential filter to eliminate those who do not match your wish list. Don’t be afraid of putting people off. The more unsuitable candidates you can eliminate at this stage; the more time you can spend getting to know those who do possess the qualities you are looking for.
Crafting interview questions
Next, you’ll need to think about your interview process and technique. I would suggest always setting some form of challenge to respond to. This can be something relatively simple that’s designed to test a candidate’s attention to detail or you can ask them to prepare a short presentation to gain the first-hand experience of their approach to problem-solving.
The way we approach one problem is typically representative of how we approach all problems, so this exercise can be very insightful. You should also look to include focused, open-ended interview questions to encourage storytelling, whilst mixing things up with the occasional high leverage question to gain insight into how they see themselves.
Storytelling questions such as ‘tell me about a time you did x or y’ can be related directly to your company values and will encourage candidates to draw from real-life experiences. High leverage questions are designed to provide maximum insight with minimum effort and again can be linked to your values.
Storytelling questions can be related directly to your company values and will encourage candidates to draw from real-life experiences.
A great example of a high leverage question comes from The Luck Factor by Dr Richard Wiseman, which argues that people who see themselves as lucky are generally happier and easier to work with than those who don’t. The question, in this case, would be: ‘how lucky are you on a scale of naught to 10?’
You should also include questions designed to see beyond a candidate’s response to the role on offer. Asking them about what their ideal job would be can expose hidden skills and talents which your company may later benefit from.
Finally, think about how you accept a successful candidate into your business. Acceptance is another opportunity to make a lasting impression, so make it memorable.
Also, be sure to say no to those candidates who are unsuccessful.
Not only will they value hearing from you, but your brand reputation will get a boost from treating every candidate like a human being.
Of course, the process doesn’t stop at saying ‘yes’ – in reality, that is just the beginning. Your induction process needs just as much thought and attention as your selection process.
Create Better Business Environment And Experience For Employees With AI And A Mentor
There is no controversy in the fact that AI or Artificial Intelligence creates a better user experience in all aspects. Whether it is in the medical field or real estate business, automobile manufacturing, or any other, the use and dominance of AI in all sectors are hard to ignore.
While for any type of business focusing on the customer experience aspect plays a crucial role, so does the employee benefits and experience.
Both are the backbone of a business playing a significant role in its success. If you neglect any of these aspects, it will inevitably affect the bottom line of your business directly and severely.
Now you may tend to think what really does AI have to do in employee experience. Well, Artificial intelligence or AI has become an essential thing in almost every aspect of modern lives, and it has become so in the most unnoticeable way.
You will see extensive use of AI in:
- Home appliances
- Mobile phones
- Modern cars and
- TVs and a lot of other products.
People of today have really become accustomed to this technology in a comparatively short period of time. The inclusion of AI in different things that you use today has made your life easier, and it guides you through your individual journeys.
Most of the people interact with it every day, and several businesses today use AI for several other reasons, including:
- Streamlining their work processes
- Helping the customers to self-serve
- Reducing the costs and much more.
According to a recent study conducted by Forrester Consulting, it is found that nearly 58% of customer engagement decision-makers of the world have made customer experience or CX the top priority for any organization.
This they have done by implementing a more holistic AI strategy. This strategy has helped the businesses to renovate the customer journey and enjoy significant benefits as a result. According to the same report by Forrester Consulting, more than 63% of the businesses that use AI technology for CX have witnessed a significant increase in their Net Promoter Score or NPS. This is all due to their enhanced and AI-based customer engagement strategies.
Change in the workforce
Just like CX, AI an also help you to transform the employee experience. The modern workforce has changed significantly from that of the past years. Moreover, there is a change in the workplace as well, where now remote offices, work from home, and even roaming are the norm. Add to that the ways of working have also changed dramatically.
Therefore, with such changes, all employees, including those who are not born as a digital native, have definite expectations as to how technology will work for them.
They are now also more focused on well-designed, affordable, and easy to use apps with a hope that it will make their tasks much easier. This will, in turn, enable them to be more productive.
However, even though there is a large number of consumer applications out there, several companies fail to deliver a more user-friendly business system. Well, AI is here to help them out. This will help them in different aspects, such as:
- Keeping their employees happy who in turn will bring in more satisfied customers
- Reimagining and reinventing the workplace of the future and
- Removing the pain points of the employees.
It will now help them to create a modern and more streamlined experience for their employees across all departments and for all roles throughout the organization. This will ensure that the employees put in their best efforts, always and every time. This will result in higher production, more employee satisfaction, and business profit on the whole.
The principle is much similar to the one that you employ in your business marketing strategy to integrate Instagram and other social channels to deliver your users what they exactly want and get more automatic IG likes and organic traffic to your site.
Engage a coach or a mentor
In addition to AI technology playing its role, you may also engage a coach or a mentor to help you to boost the morale of your employees. However, whether you will need a mentor, coach, or advisor will depend on your specific needs. Yes, there is a difference between an advisor, a mentor, and a business coach, with each having a different value to add.
- A business coach is the one who suggests business strategies and monitors the performance, just like a basketball or any other coach do, standing on the sideline. They also keep an eye on what your competitors may be doing or thinking of and suggest counter strategies and techniques. The business coach will not work in your business but will meet you as well as your employees on a regular basis. They are there to change, improve, and correct different aspects of your business. They are more focused on the end goal and suggest accurate and productive strategies accordingly.
- A mentor, on the other hand, plays more of a parental role. They have a wealth of experience in real-life situations and know a lot about business and the ways to grow a business. They have done all these personally. They know that running a business is a long-term and continual effort and will, therefore, be more interested in your personal development. Ideally, the role of the mentor is to transfer skills, sharing of knowledge, and contacts part from their experience. They can be contacted regularly or irregular, and the discussions may be in-depth or in pointers, long or concise.
- An adviser is actually a technical specialist, more like a sharp-shooter. With their in-depth knowledge of a particular subject, they will provide the most accurate and practical solutions. They can give such suggestions on any pressing issue. Their relationship with you is more casual as compared to a business coach or a mentor. It is like, you ask questions and they answer. They listen to a bit and talk a lot to solve a problem quickly.
Therefore, consider the circumstances and hire the best person and use the best technology to have a happy and satisfied set of employees to ensure business success.
7 Reasons Why Its Important to Have a Niche
A niche is a focused, targetable segment of the market. You are a specialist providing a product or service that focuses on the specific needs of an identified client group, which cannot or are not being addressed in such detail by the dominant providers in your industry.
But it is important to understand that there is, in fact, a difference between your identified niche and your target market.
Your target market is a specific identifiable group of people you work with, e.g. women in the city, technology start-ups, creative agency owners, small and medium businesses in a particular revenue range.
Your niche is the service you specialise in offering to your target market.
Here are 7 reasons why it is important to have a niche:
To avoid spreading yourself too thin
Instead of the risk of spreading yourself too thin in saying that ‘everyone’ is your potential client, niche marketing will help you to focus on a specific grouping of people, and particularly on what their needs and wants are.
You will unlikely to be able to serve everybody, so it is important to focus on what you do best and aim it at a specific group of people who will likely buy what you offer.
It is important to find out what is important to them, what blogs they read, their beliefs and attitudes, who the main influencers in that network are.
Having these insights means that you can develop products or services specifically aimed at this group, based on your thorough knowledge and understanding of what they are interested in.
It’s easier to identify and target potential clients and partners to work with
As the pool of people that exists for a niche is smaller than its mainstream equivalent, it will be easier to identify potential clients and partners to work with, as you can be much more targeted and laser-focused with your marketing efforts.
It’s easier to become an expert and well known in your niche
Niching means it will be much easier for others to understand ‘what you do’ and ‘for whom’, which will make it easier to position you as an expert in your field. As this group is more targeted and of a smaller size, you can rapidly become well known within this group of people.
Your profile and overall visibility will increase within this group. It is a small world after all!
More and better referrals
Since it will be easier for others to understand what you do and for whom, it, in turn, becomes much easier for them to refer more and better quality clients to you that fit the profile of your ideal client, as you have built up trust, credibility, visibility, and it is very clear as to what your specialism is.
The more unique you are, the less competition you will have
There will be less competition, as you will provide the specific services or create the specific products for the specific people you are seeking to help in a specific way that meets their needs. The BIG advantage of becoming more unique is that usually it can’t be easily replicated by your competition!
Marketing becomes much easier
Effective niche marketing should really help with your marketing, positioning and branding as you will attract the ‘right people’ much more easily and quickly. People with similar interests tend to behave and are attracted to similar things. This means that many of your clients will do all the hard work for you as they will refer you more and more because your profile, credibility and influence are readily apparent within your tribe.
More repeat business
As you are able to provide an increasingly better service or product, based on your specific client’s needs, it is likely that you will get more repeat business – people will come back for more, and as an added benefit will often start spending more with you as your relationship grows with them.