'A Company Is Nothing More Than Its People': Lessons on Employees & Company Culture

"A company is nothing more than a group of people."

I started listening even closer as Oded spoke. His words resonated with me, for multiple reasons: We had similar ideas on leadership, plus, we've both owned companies in the moving business. (Oded Carmi is the President of DN Van Lines.) Lastly, we both believe this:

The right person is far more important than the perfect skill set.

On our Lead to Grow podcast, Oded gave three reasons to focus on the person, and hire from within your company whenever possible.

The Strength of Your Company Is Only As Good as Your People:

Before we dive into the three reasons you should promote within, let's talk about your organizations in general.

Ultimately, the strength of your organization is based entirely on the people within your organization. Specifically, your performance rests on these pillars:

  • What quality of people you have
  • How well you train them
  • How well you treat & how you promote them

First, let's talk about promotion:

Promoting From Within Is Often the Best Choice

If you're in a period of rapid growth, it's tempting to look outside your company to fill a specific position, especially if no one inside your walls has the knowledge or skill set required. But first, consider what human assets you do have: Do you may have people who are creative, intelligent, loyal, and capable of handling new challenges?

Don't just take the easy way out and hire somebody who has the experience, over hiring someone who is the person you truly want.

An employee's core -- their drive for success, moral compass, strength of character, loyalty, problem-solving skills, etc., -- are more important to Oded than their skill or experience.

One thought here: We usually hire someone in a time of stress, so the goal is to get someone as soon as possible, leaving little time for the hiring process and the training. But that rush will cost you later.

Take a step back and rather than interviewing two people, interview 10. Further, rather than throwing the new person right into the mix, spend time teaching them their new role. You may take a short-term loss by spending the time, but in the end, it will go much better for you.

Ok, so now that we've covered some introductory ground, let's get into the three reasons Oded believes it's best to promote from within:

1: If the Right Person Has the Wrong Skill Set, You Can Makeup the Difference

Here's an example of when Oded hired the right person who didn't have the right experience:

One of Oded's employees was known for being a top driver: He had been with the company for 10 years, he was a self-sufficient problem-solver, and resolved customer issues within company guidelines. He was reliable, thoughtful, loyal, and hard-working.

They wanted to put this star driver in an operations manager role that had opened up (promoting from within!). The problem was his English skills: Two of the main responsibilities of the management position would be speaking to the staff, and writing emails to various clients.

The leadership went back and forth about promoting him until Oded put his foot down:

"He's the right person."

Oded put him in high-level English classes and promoted him.

Now, he's of the top performers in the company and essentially running the entire operation in Massachusetts. Oded hired the right person and invested in him by providing the training for the skills and knowledge gap.

2: You Motivate the Entire Company

"When employees see someone who's worked right alongside them get promoted into a position with more responsibility, but there is also more compensation, they see a path forward," noted Oded.

No one wants to be in a position with nowhere to go. When employees see a path forward, it motivates them to prove to you they have what it takes. This creates a culture of excited, forward-thinking people, always doing their best work.

3: Your Customers Benefit

"Every employer's worst nightmare is an employee who speaks negatively about their company." Never have I heard truer words. Every manager, founder, or owner can think of a time when they overheard an employee speaking negatively about their boss or company. We always think: "I sure hope none of my employees feel this way."

Here's the good news: When employees are excited about their work and engaged with their company, they only have positive things to say. In fact, they can become mini-marketers everywhere they go.

If you do the right thing by your employees, the result will follow.

If Someone Had Lunch With You, What's the Key Thing You'd Want Them to Walk Away With?

I ask this question to every guest. Here's Oded's answer:

"I would want them to think about me as a person who's capable in times of stress. It's easy to be good when times are easy, but how do we react when things are really difficult? I want them to know that I am rock-solid."

This blog post is from a podcast interview with Oded Carmi, President of DN Van Lines.

Click here to hear this full episode. If you don't use iTunes, you can also find the full list of episodes by clicking this link.

Bobby Albert: Life-long Entrepreneur, Regular contributor on Fox News Radio, Keynote Speaker and Author

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