Putting Values to Work, the Red Hat Way

Susan Hall

Soon after my post this week on hiring for cultural fit, I found this Workforce Management article about open source software company Red Hat's efforts to hire recruits that match up with the company's values. The article says the idea of corporate culture as a source of competitive advantage isn't new, but many companies struggle to make these concepts more than just a plaque on the wall.


It quotes Ann Rhoades, author of "Built on Values: Creating an Enviable Culture That Outperforms the Competition," who says that to create a values-based culture, you must incorporate your values into every aspect of the business:

Hiring is not just about competencies. It's about understanding a values match by building a model that outlines the behaviors associated with corporate values and assessing candidates for those behaviors.

(In an aside: I must say that in an accompanying Fistful of Talent article, Jessica Lee, a senior employment manager for APCO Worldwide, gets way too bogged down on the word "values." Yes, a company puts a premium on that which it values. It looks for those attributes in the people it hires.)


Anyway, so Red Hat set out to define the behaviors that make up "the Red Hat way." That effort resulted in a competency model that gives equal weight to a person's ability to execute and influence. From that model, the company developed a four-step interview process that also includes peer interviews. The article says that by being clearer about what the company is looking for, it's been more effective in prescreening job candidates.


The article also says that Juniper Networks, which added 8,700 people in the past year, is testing values-based hiring processes in Bangalore, India.


It quotes Greg Pryor, vice president of leadership and organization effectiveness, saying:

We are upping our game to be much more explicit about what the best talent for Juniper looks like. ... We kept asking ourselves whether it is possible to hire, observe, reward and coach these behaviors. ... We are good at finding the best technical expertise, but our challenge historically has been cultural fit.

Author Selena Rezvani, whom I mentioned in my post on the best workplaces, offers a great idea on fostering cultural fit: In her article in The Washington Post, she points to Kraft as a company that provides orientation to new hires in the unwritten rules and strategies for succeeding in the corporate culture.

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