A culture of excellence with an emphasis on hiring practices


Photo by extremeezine

Two independent posts that I have read in the last few weeks have connected in my mind. The first is Auren Hoffman’s quote of Netflix’s value system. It is worth a read, but this is my favourite part:

In many companies, adequate performance gets a modest raise. At Netflix, adequate performance gets a generous severance package. For us, the cost of having adequate in any position is simply too large, when we could have extraordinary

So many times in life we settle for mediocre. For average. Because it is easy. I would like to say, I never do it. But I do. That does not mean it is the right thing to do. We do it, because we conceive mediocre or average with low risk. But good enough is the riskiest option you can take.

Too many companies settle for good enough. They don’t invest in their hiring process because it is hard. Because hiring somebody who looks to be right for the job is a shorter process. But it isn’t. I have taken part in such hiring processes. It is disappointing.

And this is where the second post comes in. Jon Gordon writes about getting the right people on the bus.

This principle of identifying the right people was echoed by the Director of Learning at the Ritz-Carlton Hotel Company. He told me how the Ritz has saved millions of dollars by identifying the key characteristics, strengths and traits of each job/position at the hotel and then creating a benchmark that every potential employee is measured against. Utilizing a company called Talent Plus they interview each potential employee and then identify how they measure up to the benchmark of the position they are applying for. As a result they are better able identify who the right people are for each job at the hotel

Creating a culture of greatness is not an easy task for any company. But I believe that the first few steps are to start treating adequate performance as inadequate. The second is to start thinking about how to hire the right people. Even if it means giving them a 1000$ bonus to leave after the first week on the job.  It is important to note that these two ideas do not mean that we must hire only the best or smartest people. Just those that have the best fit to the company’s culture and are willing to do the best and strive for excellence.

So, what have you done to promote excellence in your company?