The Work From Home Conundrum

by Jeannie Walters

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Work From HomeIf culture is king for a superior customer experience, as we’ve been saying around here, it seems working from home is the holy grail. It is fought over and debated, given and taken away, and preferred or not by many.

360Connext is a virtual company. That means that all of us – Chief Investigator included – work from wherever we’d like and use the amazing tools available to us – GoToMeeting, Skype, Evernote, Dropbox, and even Google – to meet with others, get our work done and deliver to our clients.

BUT it’s a critical part of how we hire. Some people are not comfortable without the structure and security of a common office. I know individuals who simply need a place to drive to in the morning. That’s ok. But that won’t work with this culture.

And this points to a bigger issue. If you aren’t hiring for your culture, you are creating workplace problems for your best employees. Working with many corporate clients, I’ve been exposed to the training programs that include titles like “How To Work with Difficult People.” This is because there are difficult people allowed to carry on, get promotions and even lead others in these environments. If you hire right, you avoid this issue.

These “not-a-good-fit” people, while often skilled, are poison to a positive culture. They inject cynicism and worse. They drag your top players into the muck. They are the Debbie Downers of the team. Don’t let them in. Guard your gates!

So back to working from home. We are social creatures, so it’s important to create ways for your team to connect. Don’t assume the way you work from home is the way everyone does, and don’t assume their way is wrong. If your culture supports it, there are many advantages. But you have to hire right.

When I was part of starting a business, my partner (who was also my brother) and I learned quickly to develop a “gut check” rule in hiring. The first few hires we made were less than spectacular. As we reviewed resumes, we realized we didn’t really have a reason to say no, so we said yes. After a few of those, we also realized we knew intuitively who would work and who wouldn’t.

So we agreed to a rule where either one of us could say no to a candidate based on a gut check. Another critical lesson learned-we didn’t have to explain it. We found when we tried explaining it, we talked ourselves into a decision we didn’t really want to make. The gut check rule served us very well. We hired great people. Any time we ignored it, we could tell.

Culture is such a funny thing. It trickles down from leadership and rises up from the most junior level. People are irrational and emotional, so trying to be completely objective about them is a farce. Own up to that and own up to how you can’t perfectly define your culture, but you know it when you have it right or wrong.

Are you hiring right for your culture?


Photo credit: foreverdigital via Creative Commons license


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Jeannie Walters

Jeannie Walters is the CEO/Founder of Experience Investigators, a global Customer Experience consulting firm. She has 20 years of experience helping companies improve loyalty and retention, employee engagement, and overall customer experience. Jeannie is a Certified Customer Experience Professional (CCXP,) a charter member of the Customer Experience Professionals Association (CXPA,) a Professional Member of the National Speakers Association, LinkedIn Learning instructor, TEDx speaker, and President-Elect of the National Speakers Association Illinois chapter. Learn more here.

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