A client of mine, in Abu Dhabi, was interviewing a new manager for their HR department, recently and when my opinion was originally sought, I did voice some concerns. The applicant, Johan, is an HR professional of some years experience. He had the appropriate qualifications and experience and in many ways was the ideal candidate. My concern was not about his professional expertise but of his personal values.

Now, having fast-forward six months, regretfully some of my concerns are now being seen. Although his work is excellent, his feelings for the ethos and value of the business are not as per the rest of the team. Johan arrives at work at 8 am and leaves at 5 pm, on the dot. In essence, there is nothing wrong with that but he will not stay even for an extra minute although there may be an important deadline to be met. Of course, I fully appreciate that he is only paid to work up to 5pm but refusing to work a few moments extra does not make him into a team player. When one person is on a tight deadline, then the rest of the team have always been ready and willing to help meet that requirement. Over a period of time, this has led to a culture of trust, support and co-operation, which is an attitude that I certainly endorse.

Johan, however, seems only to be interested in himself and his life and wants to climb the corporate ladder as quickly as possible. Being ambitious and ruthless, he is an individual who works in his own interests. He focuses on projects that will earn him status and has no particular empathy with the people in his team.

His attitude is at variance with those of his team who have a distinct co-operative approach of trust and communication and this difference in approach and co-operation has caused considerable friction with his group.

So here we have a good example of workplace values that are not aligned and that is the concern that I originally felt about the appointment of Johan as HR manager.

Let us now look at some of the values that make for good co-operation within teams so that these can be properly addressed at the interviewing stage, so that those who can work well within a team are employed.

Relevant Questions

What is the mission statement of your company or organisation? What is the organisational culture and the guiding principles for which your company stands? You need to be aware of these before you can ascertain if an applicant for a position will be suitable, in the long term.

Your organisation’s values set the parameters within which your company operates on a daily basis. They identify the focus and the aims of its owners and management so that all employees can align themselves with its goals.

It often concerns me that some companies do not even state their aims and values within their mission statement, so that it becomes virtually meaningless.

When the core values of the company are published and written on every wall in every office and emphasised and re-emphasised at every opportunity, only then will you start to see individuals coming together and working alongside each other in teams that work. They will know why they are working, for whom they are working, how they can make a difference and how they can work towards a common purpose.

When there are no published values or they are out of alignment, then people work towards different goals, with different intentions which in turn produce different outcomes. Ultimately, this can damage work relationships, productivity, job satisfaction, creativity and individual potential.

It needs to be borne in mind that while most people can be trained to adapt to a new working culture, some will find it hard to change their priorities and entrenched positions may be difficult to modify.

So when you know well the values and beliefs of your organisation and those who are employed within it, you will then be able to take on new staff, from time to time, who share those values and who will work together as a team.