In CEO Matt Rissell’s latest Forbes article, he asks the age-old question, “Can you take the corporate out of the corporate employee?”
And the answer is… well… sometimes.
In the meantime, if you’re wondering why the heck you’d ever want to take the corporate out of somebody, sit back, relax, and read our cautionary tale: The Tale of Two Businesses.
Once upon a time…
There were two businesses. These businesses had a lot in common — they both believed that all work and no play makes for a pretty dull company, so they stocked their break rooms with ping-pong tables and beer fridges.
They knew that employees could do the best work of their lives wearing jeans and tshirts just as easily as they could wearing three-piece suits, so they ditched the dress code and encouraged their employees to express themselves however they saw fit (within reason, of course).
Finally, they each came up with a set of core values with which to represent their culture and their companies.
So far, they had done a lot of things right. Knowing that, they waited patiently for the success to start pouring in.
Unfortunately, as most small business owners know, success rarely happens overnight. And while the first business owner was content to continue working hard, focusing on her employees, and hiring for culture first, the second business owner was getting antsy. He wanted to see results, and he wanted to see them now.
So when the resume of a corporate faithful landed on his desk, he ignored the fact that the employee was a terrible culture fit, and focused entirely on the employee’s 20+ years of experience in the corporate world.
“You’re hired!” he said, before he could think twice. Sure, it’ll be an adjustment, he thought to himself, but his experience will surely catapult us to the next level of success.
Unfortunately, what this business owner failed to ask himself was, “Will this corporate employee be able to thrive in our startup environment?”
In this case (but definitely not in all cases), no. Just a few months after the corporate employee was hired, he quit. He simply couldn’t handle the rapid ebb and flow of a startup company after years of sailing the constant corporate seas. The employee returned to his corporate job, leaving our small business owner with a growing pile of hiring and training costs, low employee morale, and an avalanche of churn.
Meanwhile, our first business owner made it her priority to hire for culture first and experience second. “Technical skills can be taught,” she says, “but culture is ingrained from the start.”
When the corporate employee’s resume landed on her desk, she decided to ask him a few questions before offering him a position. How he responded to her questions would help her determine whether or not he was a good fit for her decidedly anti-corporate company.
In this case, the corporate employee didn’t make the cut.
Because this business owner refuses to hire people who aren’t good culture fits for her company, not only do her employees stick around longer, but they’re more passionate about their company and more productive as a result.
Then, let us know what you think! You can take the person out of corporate, but can you take the corporate out of the person?