Most Headhunters involved in Executive Recruitment state that when they approach candidates with a possible opportunity for a career move, candidates would inquire about the culture of the organisation. In addition, when candidates feel very strongly about leaving an organisation before they had intended, they will site reasons of bad culture fit, personality differences as the major factors.

When individuals are searching for an ideal organisation to work for the tendency is that they would look at various aspects e.g. job responsibilities, growth prospects, career enhancement package and benefits both employers and employees make this the discussion point.

What they perhaps do not focus on in any meaningful way is the culture of the organisation, the values the energy and generally what makes the company tick. Simultaneously matching this to the personality, character and aspirations of the prospective employee. It is the role of a Headhunter to bring this issue to the floor and make sure it is strongly considered in the recruitment process. Seemingly unimportant factors like the average age, dress code, management style etc, getting ignored or perhaps not dealt with in as much detail as the more obvious and important offer of the position and company. A good Headhunter will encourage the prospective employee to read up as much as possible on the company. Perhaps even talk to current employees. Visiting the prospective company before hand to get a feel for the culture could also be an important part of the Executive Search process and a much beneficial one for both employer and prospective employee.

It is often said that employees get hired for their technical competency but will leave or are fired because of the inability to “fit” into the organization. Personality differences, communication styles, management approach are often cited by candidates and employers at an exit interview or gets communicated with a recruitment firm or Executive search firm. Colleagues miss each other because the level or extent to which they have internalized the values of the organization differ. This despite various induction programmes and perhaps other communication and team building exercises that could have been applied more intently.

An early exit due to these factors is therefore not to the advantage of both employer and employee. Prior knowledge and understanding of these can prevent much hardship and high staff turnover. Headhunters therefore have a role and responsibly to educate both their client companies and prospective employees about this important factor. It should be built in as part of the process.

What values are:

Values are vital for the overall success of businesses of whatever size creating the foundation for the growth, profitability and sustainability. They determine the attitude to rules, work and ethics. All reputable companies have a policy statement on values, which demonstrates its level of professionalism and respect for its partners and stakeholders. People working in an organization are aligned to a common value system that assists them to achieve the overall company objective or strategy. This is particularly important because people in an organization come from different backgrounds representing different individual preferences, orientations and aspirations, because it is people who drive processes and company strategies it is important that these are adequately equally communicated and accepted to enhance retention and job satisfaction.

As companies become more aware of this important aspect, Headhunters will find that they will be differentiated by their contribution to managing this important aspect in their Executive Search.

Values exert major influence on the behaviour of an individual and serve as a broad guideline in all situations being both the moral campus and serving as recourse during disputes, evaluations and reviews. In the workplace, these beliefs once shared will become the enduring ideas, the glue that defines the organization regarding what is good and acceptable practice and what is not.

A statement by an Executive Search firm demonstrating their understanding and application of this in their profile will go a long way to preventing any undesirable loss or misfit of employees. In addition consultants of the Executive Search firm and Headhunters should be trained on how to manage this issue so that the greatest value is derived for all.

Research has shown that the values that inspire employees to greater commitment and delivery are those that have to do more with people, customers, development and improvement rather than those that are more company and profit centred, therefore employees will live those values that they can relate to and consequently result in greater efficiency and profitability of the company. A Headhunter should understand this and project it in how he communicates and advises the client.

The responsibility of institutionalizing company values therefore rests principally with the company. The Headhunter can only advise and demonstrate the importance. Firstly to encourage participation of discussion around the ideal values and to continuously endorse these through other communication channels, workshops, daily activities, rewards and awards for special achievements that highlight these values.

Equally, employees have to make an effort to familiarize themselves with the company culture to make recommendations about changes that could be made and then make sure that they live them.

The consciousness about the importance of values will bolster company performance and also contribute towards job satisfaction and better interactions in the workplace.

An Executive Recruitment process which includes some guidance on handling values in the workplace will no doubt be seen, to have greater influence and impact, than that which does not.