Best-selling author, Jim Collins said, “First who, then what.” He went on to say, “People are not your most important asset. The right people are.”
The key point he was making was the “who” question came before the “what” decisions – before vision, before strategy, before organization structure, before tactics.
Let’s continue our discussion of more of ERC’s (Employers Resource Council) list of characteristics of “great workplaces that excel at the attraction, retention, and motivation of top performers” based on 15 years of surveys and interviews. 
Today we'll explore two of the ERC’s 15 attributes of a winning culture. Every leader can develop a great workplace by cultivating the following two attributes in their culture.
Recruiting, selection and hiring
The first attribute that I’d like to highlight from ERC’s findings describes the recruiting, selection, hiring, and on-boarding process:
“Great workplaces hire the best – and only the best. They recognize that a great workplace and culture results from great people. They define the talent they need, strategically recruit it, and put into place selection practices that identify top performers, as well as on-boarding practices that engage top performers and set them up for success from the start.”
Prior to introducing our company core values, we hired people more for their competence of the job being offered, than, for their character (their core values).
After introducing our core values, we became more intentional to hire people first for their character (their core values), then, for their job competence, and for their chemistry (… asking, “Would they get along with our people?”). We called it the “3 C’s”.
I occasionally thought about a “4th C”, I wish we were more intentional to add capacity to our list of primary hiring considerations (the person’s ability to develop beyond the job being offered).
We had a saying, “When in doubt, leave them out.” We learned to wait to hire the right person even when we needed someone quickly.
After we hired the right person, we worked hard to get them into the right position so they would be successful. Our new employee orientation reinforced our core values and helped solidify the employees’ understanding of the company.
Do you have a hiring process that allows you to hire the best people?
People working together
The second attribute that I’d like to explore from ERC’s findings also describes the results of people with the same core values working together:
“Great workplaces are made up of great people. Within great workplaces, top performers work alongside other top performers who are positive, hardworking, committed, and loyal, believe in what the organization does, and participate in making the workplace great.”
The simple change to be more intentional about hiring people first for their character (their core values) transformed our company. How? Because we attracted and hired a group of people that shared our values.
This common foundation enabled our people to become top performers who knew how to behave as they pursued our purpose, vision, objectives, and strategies.
We did not need bureaucratic rules and policies to tell our people how to behave. Why? Because we hired the right people who already had the core values in them. Their core values served as a guide for their decisions and behavior.
I think it's also helpful to note that scripture lays out a loving reminder of how each and every one of our actions should glorify God. This verse from Colossians is one of my favorites, so much so, that I shared it with our employees at each company-wide meeting.
“Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for human masters, since you know that you will receive an inheritance from the Lord as a reward. It is the Lord Christ you are serving.” Colossians 3:23-24 NIV
The people you select as team members have a significant impact on your organizational culture.
Have you successfully formed a team of high performers in your workplace? How did you do it?
In our next blog post, we will continue to look at more characteristics of winning cultures.
 yourerc.com “HR Insights Blog” ERC (Employers Resource Council), 5-Sep-2013 (12-Aug-2014).