Do You Hire Skills or Values? Which is Best?

When it comes to your business, there is one factor, more than any other that will determine your success. That factor is the people on your team. The right people can make or break your business.

Depending on the type of business you have, there may or may not be a lot of skilled people that you can access. If you are building out any type of digital asset, or tech solution, there seem to be more and more skilled people these days. But, are skills enough?

Skills are definitely important when hiring the right team, and if you really want to succeed in business, the right team is a must, but are values important too?

Let’s start with skills. How important is it to hire a skilled team?

To start this discussion, let’s examine an answer from Derek Wyszynski, Chief Sales Hacker at ZynBit (2015-present), who answered the question — Which is more important: skills or attitude? Why?

There is a modern business dictum about skills vs attitude – that attitude is so much more important than skill. That great attitude can overcome poor skills…and given the choice between the two…choose the former. I contend that having a positive attitude is actually a “skill” because it’s literally something you have to work on…day after day…in order to get good at it.

According to Derek, having a positive attitude really is a skill. When we are talking about skills, we can’t just be talking about the skills needed to perform the job needed, we must also be talking about those soft skills that make all the difference in a company.

Why are soft skills so important?

Soft skills include things like problem-solving, being able to control your emotions and the ability to stay calm under pressure. In today’s fast-paced business environment, soft skills are becoming increasingly more important. In the startup world, as I can contend, soft skills are almost as important as any other skills, but can’t be the end-all-be-all, of course.

Without a balance of soft and hard skills, you won’t be able to thrive in this new economy. If you want to build a strong team, one that gets you places, you are going to have to find people with a mix of skills. That’s just the way that it is, but what about values?



In purpose-driven enterprises, we must be able to look beyond just the skills necessary to build our team — what about values?

What about values?

Without an alignment of values in our businesses, we won’t be able to fulfill our mission the way it should be as well. Take, for example, our cover story in our upcoming March issue of Change Creator, Sonya Renee Taylor who built an empire on her activist mantra that yes, The Body Is Not An Apology.

When she was growing her movement, that started as a moment between friends and grew to a worldwide company that continues to grow, she knew she did not only need to hire the right skilled people but that they all had to align to the mission. For Sonya, mission and values would often supersede skills and experience. At the beginning of TBINAA, those early days of the company/mission, values became the thing that would draw the team together, as she told us:

“It’s easier to teach skills then it is to teach values.”

So which is more important, skills or values?

As we have briefly discussed, if you want to build a solid team, you are going to have to hire skills and values, but if you had to choose, what should you do?

In a social impact business, there are times that you are simply going to have to choose values. In those early days, when you might need to pull in volunteer or inexpensive help, you will have to find those who believe in your mission.

Invest in those people too. They might not be able to create the backend of your website in a day, but they should be able to communicate your mission, get others on board. Their energy and excitement in the mission can be a driving force if you can harness that energy.

As your business grows, there are times that you are going to have to hire skills first. You simply can’t teach someone to code in a day. Remember to consider both soft skills and hard skills when assembling your team at this stage.

Ideally, you should not have to choose between skills and values.

Determine now, before you create your business plan, to find those people who not only bring the right mix of skills to the table but share similar values in your business. Most important, make it a priority in your impact company that everyone holds the company mission as you move forward. Keeping that vision in mind, on everyone’s mind is the secret sauce to propelling your impact in any business!

Related content: Why Great Entrepreneurs Are Not Normal.

Recommended Posts