I have worked at both great, and not so great companies. For me, one of the defining differences of a great company is their attitude to the training and the development of their staff.
When I was first given the opportunity to hire my own staff as a Sales Manager, I read somewhere that you either pay good money for good talent, or you choose to pay less but invest in your staff. For me I always chose to invest in my staff. This wasn’t because I was trying to be cheap (and this doesn’t work for every role, sometimes you need to hire for talent), I was creating a sales team and for me creating a culture was the number one priority. I felt the best way to do this was to start with off with a clean slate and train every one with great habbits.
For me, I always chose to hire for passion rather than experience. When I was a Sales Manager I knew that I could always teach the sales skills and product knowledge that was required for the job, but something you can’t teach people is passion.
It is not as simple as hiring passionate people and then you have instant success, a passionate person will not stay in a company long (or simply wont start) if they don’t have something to be passionate about. This brings me back to my original question – to train or not to train? Should you hire people who you believe can do the job on their own and have the ability to take care of themselves or do you spend time training these people?
A lot of companies, especially during the recent reseion felt the need for new employees to be ‘self starters’ (read: look after themselves and do the multiple jobs of the people they fired) most companies, especially people in sales need to be self starters regardless, this is a given. If you are not, you are in the wrong job, but when you ask when you ask employees to be a self starter and to manage their own training, you miss out on creating something really big. And that something is company culture. When people go about their jobs their own way you end up with a fragmented company with everyone trying to do things ‘their way’ this makes for a many micro cultures within the company that dont generally work well together. By training your staff you get the ablilty to train them your way, and focus on what you (your company) believes is important and in doing so you create an advocate for your company not just an employee.
Company culture is what makes employees stick with a company through thick and think, it its is what inspires people to do and be apart of something greater than themselves and to go above and beyond the normal 9 to 5 expectations.
2 companies that come to my mind when talking about amazing company culture are Zappos and Netflix. These companies are quoted around the world for their ability to create an uplifting culture within their companies.
Zappos is so bent on spreading their company culture, not only within their own company but to everyone in the world that they let you purchase their company culture book for free along with free deliver anywhere in the world. I did, and you can aswell right here.
Zappos famously offer employees $2000 at various points in their initial training to quit their jobs, and have no time limits on phone calls for their customer service staff.
Netflix has many examples of their culture but my favourite from them is this slideshow presentation below
This Slide deck goes over the companies core values and be summarising it wouldn’t do it justice. I will say that I particularly like the Nextflix Vacation Policy on slide 68.
I hope you enjoy this post, and please post your thoughts on company culture in the comments below.