Culture is what makes your organisation tick. It’s what defines the processes and systems, the actions and steps that govern them, and far more importantly the beliefs, attitudes and values that unite the people you employ.
“Finding the right people is essential for that reason,” says Nutbourne’s Office Manager Kittie Story. “To an extent, the skillset is secondary. A lot of technical expertise can be trained, whereas being the right fit for the company can’t be trained, and some softer skills are hard to get right. We look for a good balance of each.”
In the modern era, businesses are placing more and more emphasis on culture than before, so employing staff for their ability to integrate with the people around them is far more common – though it isn’t without its challenges.
“It can be hard to tell what someone is like from their CV alone,” Kittie says, “some people that we’ve employed since I’ve been here – that are thriving in their roles – have very basic CVs. If we didn’t have a process in place that accounts for that, then they probably wouldn’t have reached the interview stage, let alone got the job.”
To account for a basic CV – and one that might be concealing a gem – all applicants undergo an initial screening and are invited by email to have a phone call with Kittie to explain what the role entails and discuss the interview process should they succeed. It’s a surprisingly effective means of testing suitability for the company and the role.
“If someone responds (to the email) with two or three words, or doesn’t furnish it with at least a ‘hello’, then it’s a red flag. Of course, we don’t rule them out immediately, because that’s not fair – rather we use it as an indication of that particular person’s ability to communicate and to engage, which is an overlooked but crucial part of each role at Nutbourne.”
It may seem slightly overzealous, but Kittie adds that those who have gone on to succeed and secure roles with the company demonstrated politeness, kindness and approachability in their responses, and again when they had their initial call with her. It means that by the time they reach the second interview stage with senior management, their fit for the organisation is relatively well measured.
“Customer service and communications are hard to teach – hard, but not impossible. So what we are looking for is politeness, kindness, honesty and a degree of professionalism – and above all a bit of passion and spark for life.”