Rob Daley | Crain's Pittsburgh

In this ongoing series, we ask executives, entrepreneurs and business leaders about mistakes that have shaped their business philosophy.

Rob Daley

Background:  

4moms is a Pittsburgh-based robotics company that makes high-tech baby gear and employs 140 people.

The Mistake:

When we started out, we were growing so fast and hiring so many people that we focused on people we thought could do the best job. But we soon realized that the person with the best resume wasn’t always the best fit for our company.

We, unfortunately, found that we had to invite people to leave 4moms because they weren’t the right cultural fit for us. These were painful decisions at the time. We tried keeping employees that were strong contributors and doing good work, but if someone was culturally disruptive to the organization, it was difficult to keep them on.

We were so busy growing that we didn’t have the time to figure out the hiring piece. When we reached 50 people, we realized that we needed to actively determine and define our cultural expectations for 4moms. We achieved this initially through communication with our team. 

But it’s one thing to communicate something and quite another to have a shared expectation. So we worked on this more as a team and came up with what we call, "words to live by," which are our company mantra: everything matters; be humble; work hard and respect others (so important to collaboration); embrace change at all times; minimize scope; get it done and improve; communicate and collaborate; and have fun.

4moms is massively focused on innovation and creativity as a team. They may be buzz words, but they are very important. When people communicate well and have mutual respect for one another – when people are humble – they have the ability to respect the expertise of others.

Hiring for cultural fit is much more important than hiring for a resume. 

The Lesson:

Hiring for cultural fit is much more important than hiring for a resume. We spent a lot of time seriously thinking about this as a company. We put together a profile of what constitutes a good fit at 4moms – attributes that weigh heavily around humility and passion. 

Every person who is engaged in a meaningful job interview with us goes through a cultural interview process. If a prospective employee is applying to work in our accounting department, that employee will be interviewed by two people at 4moms who have nothing to do with accounting. They explain the importance our company culture and tell them about the team we are building here at 4moms.

This has been really effective in bringing in employees who are good members of the 4moms community. It also conveys to new employees that this is something we take very seriously. Before they get here, they know they will be responsible for helping to carry the company torch. As a company, we reinforce this in many ways. We have a company yearbook – like a college yearbook – that highlights company milestones. People are our most important attribute.

Follow Rob Daley on Twitter at @4moms.

Pictured: Rob Daley. / Photo courtesy of Rob Daley.

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