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Why Values Are More Important Than Skills?

By Rishika Agrawal, Senior Associate-Culture

Our story is set in a large corporation, where our two protagonists worked one in hand. The first one had always been the top performer, acing any project they were assigned to. The other was our Average Joe who had been around for longer but was hardly in the limelight. Within the team, the Ace always brought out their top-notch skills and breezed through their task list. Our Average Joe, on the other hand, was a tad bit slower but always managed to finish their tasks on time. Both of them while in similar roles, reached the same goal eventually i.e, the accomplishment of tasks. However, there lay a stark difference between the two. 

This difference did not lie in their speed of completing tasks, but rather, in the way they approached their work during pressing times. 

One time when faced with an uncertain and unfortunate business period, the company was forced to reinvent their work style which was difficult to adapt to. In the absence of direct supervision, our Ace who was equipped with the best skillset, found themselves making excuses to get out of tricky situations. Technical glitches and network issues became more frequent, just to avoid the extra workload. 

In the meantime, our Average Joe who didn’t necessarily have the best of skills stuck to their value system. Guided by honesty, great work ethic, and hard work,our Joe continued working with the same dedication and vigour as before. 

Now here is an interesting question for you. Which of these two candidates is the real asset to the organization?

Values: The Game-Changer In A Workplace

Values form the behavioural core and the motivational force for an individual, making them the foremost criteria for business leaders to assess while recruiting candidates. Everyone wants to build a highly skilled team that comprises the right skills and values. 

A study from City of London Economic Research says that 98% of employees do not prefer working at a place that does not align to their value system. This is precisely why recruiters should give candidates a clear picture of how the organization’s values are in sync with their own.

Will The Ideal Candidate Please Stand Up?

For most recruitment professionals, finding an ideal candidate is nothing short of a far-fetched dream, but they try nevertheless. But what makes the candidate ideal? In the perfect world, an ideal candidate is one who strikes the perfect balance between the right culture-fit and the right skill-set. 

In the real world, these seemingly perfect candidates may exist on resumes. But apart from reflecting their competencies, do resumes really offer us the opportunity to assess the candidate’s personality? Recruiters thus have to take the risk and decide what is more important- culture or skills. 

Values Cannot Be Taught, They Are Inherent

According to a study, it was discovered that 86% of employees blame workplace failures for lack of collaboration and poor internal communication. The study also revealed that 97% of employees cite a lack of alignment within the teams as a critical challenge, which negatively influences the outcome of a project. Someone who lacks the functional skills can be trained, but how can one be trained to learn the foundation of life, i.e. values? It’s an important point to reflect on.

A Culture-Fit Candidate Is Good For The Business

A candidate with advanced skills won’t require much training. They can seamlessly jump right onto projects and deliver productive outcomes. On the other hand, a candidate who is attuned to the culture is more likely to be a good team player, produce stronger and high-quality work, and boost the organization’s morale. They would be the right investment an organization needs to achieve long-term success. 

If such people feel truly valued, they are more likely to become key additions to the overall organizational structure. With the right value-fit, employees will be more engaged with their work, approach it with confidence, and stay on for longer- ultimately resulting in reduced attrition rates. 

Don’t Just Talk Culture, Walk It As Well

Top performers mostly possess the functional skills which can definitely bring in short-term successes, but not long-term wins. Moreover, values can also be called as the bedrock of a high-performance culture. But more often than not, organizational values remain at the conceptual level and fail to be embodied, because organizations do not know how to objectively integrate these values at the operational level. Hence, the reinforcement of organizational values in all processes, especially the hiring process, will help distinguish oneself from other industry players.  

After the successful incorporation of these values in the organization’s system, recruiters then need to hire keeping the long term objective in mind, to ensure that the selected candidate is not a liability, but a true asset for the organization!