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Avoid the Yugo Trap and Identify Your Culture
Posted By Randall Birkwood On March 26, 2013 @ 5:21 am In Advice and How-Tos | 7 Comments
Remember the Yugo? Yugos were cars built in the old Yugoslavia, in the 1980s. They were sold solely based on their low price. More than 100,000 cars were sold in an eight-year span, but their poor quality and service resulted in zero buyer retention.
When it comes to hiring talent, most companies place too much emphasis on compensation competitiveness and not enough on their cultural brand. They may have flashy careers websites and other candidate attraction materials, but these are generic and not reflective of the company’s unique culture.
In this article I will give you tips on how to make your company more competitive by taking the vital first step of identifying your culture. Only after this step will you be able to successfully attract candidates who will fit your values and be successful in their roles. Without it, you will be stuck in the Yugo Trap, continuing to hire mismatched candidates leading to poor retention.
Let’s begin by examining factual evidence. Few employees leave their companies because they are not being paid enough. According to the Saratoga Institute, 88% of employees leave for reasons other than money. They leave because they are not getting along with their managers, they are not a cultural fit, or the company is going through a change.
Based on these facts, you need to align your talent attraction strategy with your prospects’ thinking. So you need to use different tactics to recruit and retain the right people.
As with any major buying decision, prospects use two processes to make a decision: logical and emotional. The logical process is purely fact based. This includes information about the company, location, industry, growth, future prospects, and employee benefits. The emotional process is based on the culture, perks, and how your company values and style align with theirs.
A great analogy is buying a car. The logical process involves garnering information about quality and comfort from industry and customer reviews. The emotional process encompasses making decisions about the style of the vehicle, color, and “wow!” factor. Most people like to believe they make decisions in a logical manner; however, studies have shown that logic plays a much smaller role than emotion. Regardless, both factors must be addressed by employers.
To start, first of all, you must determine who you are. Without self-awareness you will have difficulty attracting candidates who will fit your company’s culture. As Ferrari will market the benefits of an Italia far differently than Chrysler will for a Town & Country minivan, you must do the same for your company.Orovide facts about your company and come up with information about your culture that will be attractive to the type of people you need. As with the car analogy, a happy Ferrari owner has a different set of expectations than a Chrysler mini-van buyer.
So, who are you? Do you know? If your answer is “no” or “I am unsure,” you are clearly in the majority. If you don’t believe me, take a look at the plethora of company careers sites. Because of the lack of self-awareness there is a uniformity of messaging that is rather startling.
Remember, your goal is to differentiate yourself and attract the right candidates. Your aim is to attract people who will be incredibly successful in your company culture; your aim is not to attract people who will be unhappy, unsuccessful, and leave shortly afterwards.
The following steps must be taken to discover your cultural brand:
Ultimately, you should compare the internal beliefs of your employees with the external impressions of prospects and candidates, and then build a strategy to narrow the gap. Measure your progress on a quarterly basis, and impress senior leadership with your findings. But for the sake of this exercise, your first task is to learn about your culture from your employee base and then build a brand.
To do this::
Your success depends on moving beyond the Yugo trap and building a brand that addresses candidates’ logical and emotional needs. Before you build your brand, learn about your culture from your employees. Investing the time in this exercise will ensure you lay the groundwork for a more accurate and effective candidate marketing program.
image from Amazon 
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