Can Culture Provide Midmarket Leaders an Edge?

Culture helps you build and retain a winning team!Culture helps you build and retain a winning team!

If you’re a successful mid-market entrepreneur you know the importance of building a strong culture in your business. In previous posts, we talked about the skills gap and the changing employment market as the economy continues to strengthen. What role does culture and personality play in attracting and retaining the best talent for your organization?

The panel Deloitte Growth Enterprise Services’ brought together all thought culture was a key contributor to their organizations’ success. They shared that they thought it as critical to their organizations’ success to hire great talent. The slight change from the past is that these extraordinary organizations are looking for the great athlete, versus hiring specific skills. Depending on which organization, all leaders were willing to train and develop their new team members. Since one of the leaders was from healthcare, he pointed out that he may need to build his own education system to meet the growing needs and the competitive marketplace in his region of the country.

63% of the mid-market organizations surveyed said they plan to grow their organizations over the next 12 months, with over 13% thinking that they will grow their organizations by 10% or more.  With this increased hiring environment, it’s critical to bring the right people on board to insure sustainability of the organization’s culture.  All these leaders believed soft skills are more critical to the organization’s long term success. This is not to downplay technical skills, but to reinforce the importance of bringing the right team members into your organization’s culture.

The leaders expressed that they invest significant time and energy to get the right people onboard and then invest significant resources to train and develop them once they are onboard.  They all felt the role of their organization was to develop, engage, and retain people at all levels of their organizations.

Since many of these organizations compete with much larger competitors, they have chosen to make their employees a key quality differentiator in their markets.

The other edge they are just starting to exploit is the ability to work with a wider range of stakeholders who can help create more successful team members over time. This could include partnering with different people within the education system that can help their students have an edge in their chosen professions. This can help create a triple win for the employee, the employer, and the educational institution. In the past, this has been done on the university level, but today partnering with young adults at the mid-level schools is helping create a wider range of opportunities for the students and the employers both.

So how do can you address the shortage of skilled employees? Here’s what Deloitte’s mid-market survey found.

  • 54% use house training
  • 15% rely on global hiring
  • 11% use partnerships with secondary institutions
  • 9% use a virtual workforce

These numbers come from Deloitte’s newly released report called America’s Economic Engine; Opening the Throttle.

Finally, the discussion turned to what intangibles they are looking for in the people they hire? This could cover several blogs in itself. They believe it involves screening for intangibles that are not always taught in schools. They include qualities like passion, persistence, curiosity, and endurance. These are things that you can identify throughout your interview process that help you find the best people available for your organization. These capabilities help build a winning culture. We will return to these ideas several times over the early part of 2015.

I hope this gives you several ideas that you can use to help you build a winning culture. You should take time to review this video. I share this because I know how challenging it can be for a successful mid-market entrepreneur. Over the coming months, we will share additional resources that increase your profits and expand your market share. I’ve spent many years working inside many of the world’s most successful mid-market organizations. I think you’ll see many similarities between you and other successful mid-market CEOs. I know I did. See you next week, when we share a proven roadmap to mid-market leadership.

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