Telling the truth about SME life today

Why you should hire for culture, not for skills

I’ve been an entrepreneur my whole career but the truth is you’re only as good as the team and culture around you. Take the time and effort to find and hire the best people, and it will pay dividends. Never be afraid to hire people better than you. As I always say, if you’re the smartest person in the room, you’re in the wrong room.

When it comes to recruiting your team, my mantra is: Attitude first, then aptitude! Hire people who will fit in and support the culture of the brand you want to promote. This is especially important in the early stages of a company. My view is you can always teach skills, but you can’t teach culture.

Once you’ve got the talent, you need to nurture it. Cultivating a great employee experience is essential. While it may sound simple, happy employees deliver a better customer experience.

There’s lots of evidence of the measurable benefits of a thought out, brand-aligned customer experience. For example, Forrester reported that just a one-point gain in the Customer Experience (CX) Index was worth $65m to an upscale hotel chain. Global CX consultants Smith+Co also found a five per cent increase in customer loyalty can produce profit increases between 25-85 per cent, demonstrating the huge returns that a good CX can deliver.

So, you’ve done the hard bit of finding individuals that fit your company culture. But to deliver a great experience to your employees, you must maintain it. Especially as you grow. Some things that have worked for us include inviting our employees to brainstorm on how to improve the business. We also introduced an annual CSR initiative where a group can volunteer to travel to help an impoverished community as a way of giving back.

Even little things can go a long way, such as having beers in the fridge ready for the end of the day and creating a recognition programme that rewards great work. And my big piece of advice would be staying down-to-earth even as your company grows.

It’s also about freeing employees up from repetitive, time consuming and frankly boring tasks. Streamlining back-end processes will allow them to get back to what they love about their job. By making things like payment process quicker and more efficient, you can improve employee experience and drive customer advocacy. There’s a reason why Amazon and Uber have been so successful.

Delivering on-the-job training is also important to developing employees” skills for their own personal development and to support company expansion. Ensure you’re continuously evaluating your employees” needs and fulfilling their passion to learn.

I really can’t emphasise enough how important it is to hire for culture and do all that you can to maintain a good vibe across the company something which can be difficult as your business grows. Employees are responsible for your customers” experience and therefore the success of your company. Get it wrong and you’re shooting yourself in the foot.

Anthony Hynes is, CEO and MD of eNett International


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