Benefits of Full Disclosure
A friend I will call Tim made a critical mistake during his process of hiring a key executive. After the hiring proved to be a failure, Tim admitted that in this situation, he had neglected to adequately communicate his organization’s purpose and values during the recruitment and interview process.
After six months, it had become evident the new executive, despite very impressive professional credentials, did not fit the established culture of Tim’s company. When the executive was resigning, he told Tim, “I know your faith was mentioned during my interview, but I did not take it seriously. Had I better understood, I could have told you then that it would not work.”
Tim either presumed the interviewee would understand the faith-related values that served as a foundation for the company’s operations, or in perceiving this executive had the job expertise and experience the company needed, he chose not to emphasize them.
Many companies have found it prudent to express and reinforce their corporate values on mission and values statements. These serve as reminders for employees of what the organization stands for and what it holds as top priorities. In the hiring process, particularly for key individuals, it can be very helpful to introduce these written documents and briefly review them.
This serves to candidly state from the start what the company’s leaders believe and the philosophy to which they ascribe, and also gives the potential hire an opportunity to evaluate whether those values are ones that he or she can support.
This does not mean prospective employees must be aligned spiritually with company owners or leaders, such as in a privately held, family-owned business. In many instances, laws prohibit discrimination on the basis of religious belief. However, if a job applicant cannot embrace corporate values such as integrity, fairness, customer service, quality, honesty and excellence, it is best to determine that before a hiring mistake is made to the detriment of everyone involved.
Jesus Christ addressed this when He said in Mark 4:21-22, “Do you bring in a lamp to put it under a bowl or a bed? Instead, don’t you put it on its stand? For whatever is hidden is meant to be disclosed, and whatever is concealed is meant to be brought out into the open.”
Again describing beliefs and values in terms of light, Jesus also said, “You are the light of the world. A city on a hill cannot be hidden…. In the same way, let your light shine before men, that they may see your good deeds and praise your Father in heaven” (Matthew 5:14-16).
A highly effective, harmonious corporate team not only has people of different talents and abilities working together, complementing one another. They also ascribe to similar values and share a common sense of mission. If you expect your staff to model company values and represent them appropriately to customers and suppliers, it would be wise to emphasize them clearly during interviews. In articulating and impressing values on members of any organization, there is no better place to start than at the beginning.
Copyright 2014, Integrity Resource Center, Inc. Adapted with permission from “Integrity Moments with Rick Boxx,” a commentary on issues of integrity in the workplace from a Christian perspective. To learn more about Integrity Resource Center or to sign up for Rick’s daily Integrity Moments, visit www.integrityresource.org. His book, How to Prosper in Business Without Sacrificing Integrity, gives a biblical approach for doing business with integrity.
1. How would you summarize the central, foundational values and beliefs of the company or organization where you work? How were they initially communicated to you?
2. Have you ever observed a situation where someone was brought into your company that did not – or could not – accept those values? What were the results?
3. Why do you think values, principles and beliefs that under-gird a company are important? Is it possible for people that do not agree with these to function effectively for the organization and still work toward the bottom line of making a profit? Why, or why not?
4. In the two quotes from Jesus Christ, He described His followers as lamps and light. Do you think those comparisons are appropriate, particularly for the secular business and professional environment? Explain your answer.
NOTE: If you have a Bible and would like to read more about this subject, consider the following passages:
Proverbs 4:18-19, 10:9, 11:14, 12:15, 15:22, 20:18, 20:25, 22:1, 24:5-6, 27:17, 29:18