So, you’ve defined your values and mission statement (or 10 Things) for your brand. You’ve even plastered it on your website and marketing materials. But now you’re growing and need to hire new people who are aligned with your brand, culture and messaging. How do you ensure these newbies are the right fit?
The obvious answer is just to hire people who possess personal values that are aligned with your brand’s culture and values. Yes, that’s a start - but you run the risk of creating a workforce lacking in diversity, which is vital to the evolution of your brand. Below we’ve highlighted some ways that companies have been able to successfully hire for brand alignment, while maintaining diversity.
Identify the “It” Factor
Most companies list the attributes they’re looking for in ideal candidates in their job postings, making sure these align with their core values and culture.
A disruptor in the hospitality industry asks that their ideal customer service representative candidate is “well travelled” and “has visited ‘x’ number of countries”. These attributes may seem superficial, but the brand has an interesting philosophy. At the end of the day, they are actually looking for how these candidates express and exemplify the brand’s core values in their resume or experience. That’s also where the diversity piece fits in - not everyone applying is going to have the same experiences in travel or customer service.
Evaluate the Uncapturable
There are traits and skills to look for when hiring for brand alignment that are sometimes, well, “uncapturable” on paper.
Let’s use empathy as an example. An individual may not have the direct experience to walk through a specific situation with a customer, but being aligned with the brand’s core values would allow them to empathize with the situation or behavior. One way to evaluate this with potential candidates is by asking: “Do you have the skill of walking a customer through a situation, or can you provide an example of where you did x, y, z?”.
Can brand alignment be taught, or is it inherent? According to one of the world’s largest streaming services, it's a little bit of both. They believe brand alignment is all relative to where someone is at from a skills perspective and what they have access to for tools and training. The same brand also believes that loyalty can sometimes be a detriment, which is why they actually encourage their teams to use other streaming services to understand user experience and how they can make theirs even better.
The same hospitality disruptor we mentioned before goes to the lengths of providing life experience opportunities for their team members. For example, the brand flew a team member to train at their Headquarters. Not a big deal you might think, right? It was actually the individual’s first flight ever. That experience and the power of travel made the individual a force multiplier at their own location when they came back.
So, back to our original question: Can brand alignment be taught or is it inherent? It’s absolutely both. But it can also be inspired by experiences.
Show Me The Money
You’d be lying to yourself if you thought that hiring wage wasn’t indicative of the talent you will attract. Brands need to understand the threshold between the skills or core values that they are willing to pay for and what skills or core values they can teach and train. If your reality is needing to stick to a specific dollar amount spent per hour to your team members, you need to understand and be realistic with what is possible for talent and skills within those parameters.
For example, it might be easier to find the talent you need at the price you want in Tampa versus Denver, or even globally like in the Philippines. Another thing to keep in mind is that many metro areas are saturated contact center markets, however, this doesn’t always translate into low wage rates. These areas may actually be highly underemployed markets, which means offering higher wages to attract a highly skilled workforce.
You should never stop questioning the way you are hiring and coaching for brand alignment. This will not only keep you engaged in how others interpret your culture, but it will inspire you to try new things and make changes in the process. Finding the right fit for your brand is invaluable in the customer service/contact center industry, where retention is a big challenge. When you have individuals that are aligned with your core values, they are more likely to stay with your company for the next 12, 18, 24 months and beyond.