Training for Fit

By: Marty Parker

Repetition is the mother of all skill, says Tony Robbins, motivational guru. It’s such a popular phrase it’s become cliché. However that doesn’t make it less true.

When it comes to bringing your team in line with your culture, this mantra will help you. It’s about training the brain for certain preferred behaviours, and over time, that’s the only way behavioural change occurs.

Why is knowing this so important for companies who intend to measure, develop and and then use their corporate culture to drive performance?  Because these organizations spend large amounts of time and money recruiting for fit, promoting the right people, measuring their behaviour, evaluating their skills, and doing all the things needed to harness the power of a carefully cultivated culture. As part of that though, there needs to be a concerted effort to train your people for cultural fit on an ongoing basis. If the only thing you’re doing right now is measuring the outcomes of the employees you so carefully hire, you might be missing this important training.

Organizations that really understand culture, and how to align it with their business objectives are training for fit, and they’re seeing a competitive advantage because of this. Think about it: you and your team have already identified the behaviours that drive the outcomes you wish to see, but you can’t just assume those behaviours are going to develop and show up how you want them because you’ve hired good people..

Here’s an example. The Toronto Maple Leafs signed their number one draft pick Auston Matthews to an entry level contract this summer, because, they see something in him beyond his skill they want on their roster. However, they’re not leave him to do whatever training regime he thinks is best. They’re going to ensure that the skills they liked about him continue to develop in the way the team wants. Even as skilled as he is, it’s understood in the organization that he needs to continue to develop his strengths and work within their systems.

This is the right way to view the next steps after hiring for any organization: the job isn’t over. The new team member need behaviour modifiers like recognition, rewards, feedback and customized team and leadership training programs that will help support them in exhibiting the kinds of behaviours that allow your people in your organization to be successful.

Among the most important part of training your employees for cultural fit is how you recognize them and their work. Celebrating small wins, offering verbal acknowledgement and peer support are invaluable to the process. A great example of this is Muskoka Brewery. They have a set of core values that underscore how they all support each other, how they make time to laugh and celebrate. They have regular special events where they celebrate new team members or recognize existing team members. These measures are working for them and are a great example of how training for cultural fit includes many “little” things that add up to a culture that drives results.

If your culture has started to erode over time, or isn’t driving the behaviours you want to see, ask yourself if you have sufficient, ongoing training and development strategies. The hiring strategy should align with your training strategy, which ultimately aligns with your retention strategy.