Creating Cultural Harmony

Richard Branson says the first thing he looks for when hiring is ‘a personality that fits with the company culture’. And this is true for most organisations nowadays.

The majority of employers assess whether individuals are the right ‘fit’ for the role but also whether there is a cultural fit, when making recruitment decisions. So what happens when two organisations and their employees work together? They should have a ‘common purpose’ but do they need to have same culture and how do you determine best fit?

It’s not about being ‘exactly’ the same

Think about some of the most successful mergers and acquisitions – these organisations do not all have exactly the ‘same’ culture and values. What helps make unities like this successful is that leaders driving the change take the time to understand both company cultures and are very clear about the desired corporate culture post-merger or acquisition.

The same principle should be applied to outsourcing. It’s about creating a ‘positive fit’ and this means leaders driving the relationship needed to develop an appreciation for one another’s culture from the offset – it is this that is likely to build long-lasting successful relationships that will add real value to the business and bottom line.

Sharing operation and people policies Organisational and procedural alignment is key. The outsourcer needs to understand client policies, programmes and other operating models to support and enable the change.

Sharing information about people policies and practices before a partnership is agreed will offer insight into how the organisation operates and help avoid a potential cultural clash.

HR teams should work together so that they can identify and overcome any problems with outsourcing such as redundant positions, concerns around contractual terms around employee salaries etc and skills gaps.

Dual recruitment plan Employees who share the values of your organisation are more likely to thrive in your culture and will generally be much happier at work and more committed. Whereas employees whose values and approach to work differs are far more likely to leave to find a role in an organisation that is more aligned to their own values and beliefs. For this reason it is important that outsourcers recruit people who fit both their organisation and their clients.

Although it’s important to recruit employees who are aligned with the company values, it’s also vital to recognise that a diverse workforce is essential for challenging the status quo and driving innovation and creativity – the key is finding people with a mixture of personalities, backgrounds and experience, who share common values that reflect those of the organisation.

Outsourcers need employees who initially buy-into their values but who will also buy-into the client. This is where the outsourcers understanding of the client’s culture and values is vital as it ensures the right recruitment decisions are made.

Dual induction plan

It is important for outsourcers to work with clients to ensure employees have a good induction into both organisations. By immersing them in ‘all things client’ they will have the tools, motivation and confidence to deliver excellence in their place of work. As a result employees will feel more nurtured and valued overall and perform at a much higher level.

Ongoing communication Maintaining this cultural harmony can only be achieved with good communication. HR can add real value by making sure that the right people polices are in place so that every one of the team, regardless of their location, has the opportunity to share news and best practice, and contribute to wider business initiatives.

A successful client/outsourcing relationship is dependent on having respect for organisational values and willingness to support them in a positive way. By really getting to grips with the beliefs of the organisation and the way people are managed the outsourcer will be in a far better position to ensure it places the right people into client organisations - and it is the role of HR teams to facilitate the creation of this ‘dual culture’.

By placing people at the heart of everything we do from day one, we’ve built our business on a super-strong culture. There is often a dichotomy between opposing cultures when it comes to contracting out services. But with the right people procedures in place and by developing an understanding of our client’s unique cultures we are able to ensure that our people, whilst upholding our own values, are also able to live our clients.

Find out more about Lexington by viewing their company profile, here.

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