How did the Greeks and Romans manage to conquer such large territories? And what led to Spain, Britain and the Netherlands to colonising such large parts of the world so far away? The answer: a ‘winning’ culture shares a vision that is sufficiently challenging to enable the advancement and development of technologies, techniques and tactics (e.g. transportation, military technology / tactics, entrepreneurship, financial innovation), so they can turn their ambitions into a reality. These principles determine whether or not an organisation will succeed or be doomed to failure.

The same values and convictions

What drives your organisation forward is its DNA. Strong corporate DNA is the foundation for sustainable profit growth Corporate DNA is the core of what a business stands for, the reason it exists, and the way it achieves its objectives.

The corporate DNA shares values, beliefs and consequent behaviours that remain consistent and are not questioned, with strategies and tactics being adapted over time in response to changing market conditions. So make sure your organisation’s DNA is communicated clearly and explicitly, and avoid dilution over time. It pays dividends in the long run.

Open for change

Companies with a strong and sound corporate DNA are flexible organisations that are always learning. They are open to change and don’t see this change as a threat but as an evolution. All employees understand and support the strategy and work together to implement it.

Organisations with strong corporate DNA are better equipped to combat bureaucratic inefficiency and time wasted through fruitless internal discussions. This gives an organisation the space it needs to implement its long term strategy, and devote all its energy to performing: maximising turnover for the lowest possible cost, and focusing on the people that matter.

Motivated employees

Strong DNA also benefits recruitment. Companies often look for clones of best-performing employees who they think will be productive in the least possible time. But this approach doesn’t guarantee employees will actually be a good match for your organisation. It’s also true that training new employees in technical or industry-based skills is much easier than changing their beliefs, let alone changing the values that underpin their behaviour.

DNA-compatible employees are highly committed and motivated. They act in line with expectations, rendering lots of procedures and bureaucracy redundant. DNA-based recruitment will also prevent your existing employees from becoming demotivated.

Update corporate culture for better performance

If you want to introduce a corporate culture like this, ask yourself the following questions:

  • Is our corporate DNA clear and accurate, and is it commonly referred to in day-to-day operations?
  • Do we have room to simplify bureaucracy and procedures?
  • Can we speed up decision-making processes and implementation?

If the answer to these questions is yes, you are ready for change.

Companies are finally beginning to realize that recruitment based on job descriptions doesn’t necessarily result in hiring and retaining the best talents.

Take Carglass, for example. You’d expect them to look for ‘good windscreen fitters with experience’. But the car windscreen repair and replacement specialist doesn’t focus on technical skill in its recruitment; after all, you can always learn new techniques.

It focuses instead on customer satisfaction; part of the company’s DNA. So it looks for employees with good communication skills who are interested in people and curious to find out what customers need from its service centres; people who will thrive on providing perfect service to customers.

Five disadvantages of the traditional job description

Recruitment based on skills and experience is fatal for talent and diversity within a company. The five reasons for this are:

  1. Skills and experience remain important to a certain extent; engineers don’t necessarily have any useful potential to be accountants. But the most important thing is what someone does with his or her skills. People with little experience but the potential to learn fast can offer more to your company in the long run than professionals who are in rooted in their job profiles.
  2. Traditional job descriptions don’t leave any room for diversity, for example for young candidates with lots of potential or highly qualified candidates with a different background.
  3. Have you ever wondered why promising new employees perform below par or leave the company again quickly – even though they match the description perfectly? Job descriptions don’t take behaviour, culture, teamwork, dedication or compatibility with employees and the company into account.
  4. Top candidates are not usually looking for a sideways transfer from one company to another (apart from the odd one or two trying to get a higher salary). Job descriptions based solely on skills and experience make it very difficult for them to know if they’ll be able to put their talents to good use for the company, despite their great ambition.
  5. Employees who are recruited for their skills don’t necessarily feel a bond with your company.

Select DNA-compatible employees

Instead of recruiting employees on the basis of skills and experience, it’s much more important to look for people who match your company’s DNA; they’ll be more dedicated and motivated. Employees who are compatible with your corporate culture act in line with expectations so additional procedures and coordination meetings are unnecessary. And don’t forget: DNA is a fixed constant (you’re either compatible with the company values or you aren’t), but skills can be learned.

Shape roles to suit the people who fit in with your company

Role casting for employees who fit in with your company brings the best out of them. They have room to do what they’re good at and develop their skills further, so they don’t need so much management. This results in a win-win situation: employees work together to achieve your company’s strategic objectives in a consistent team.

Companies looking for top talents in order to have good mix of skills and experience should therefore experiment with alternatives to the traditional, outdated job description. You have to think differently in recruitment nowadays; fewer and fewer employees are allowing themselves to get stuck in the shackles of a job that doesn’t give them any room to be themselves.