Recruitment & Onboarding


Instead of an offsite HR person solely conducting job interviews, the recruitment process could have a step which includes the employees working at the bar. It can even be that the process is ignited and led by the team itself, since they are most likely the one’s who have recognized the need for a new team member in the first place. Including the current team to be a part of the hiring process gives you a better chance to have a solid and like-minded team at your bar.

In the Orange world view, which is driven by the idea of measuring performance, efficiency and innovation, the focus on the recruitment efforts are on selecting applicants with the best skills, experience and expertise for a specific role. The hiring process is done by the HR department and you might not even see any future coworkers or managers before your first shift. Since you have only had a chat with someone from HR you have no idea if you will really be a good fit to the team. Of course, human resources personnel have their strengths and ways of trying to find the right fit, but nothing beats actual interaction with the people you are going to work with.

Orange companies can be seen “wearing a mask” already before the job interview has begun. A whole new field of marketing called “employee branding emerged into today’s business world some time ago, where the company is not trying to attract customers but job applicants by promoting how great of an employer they are. Sometimes under false pretenses. But if you make the shift towards the Teal approach and lose the offsite interviews as well as interviews led by a single manager and incorporate the staff into the process, you can give a more transparent and authentic view of your venue. The idea behind this is that the employees don’t have hidden recruitment targets to reach but are merely trying to find a person that they would feel comfortable to work with. Moreover, the current team members tend to be more honest about the workplace and they tell how things really are at the venue. After all, they are the ones who have to face the consequences and work with the new hire if they have exaggerated the workplace to their new team mate. When the employees are honest the new recruit is invited to be honest as well and the foundation for a strong and Teal-minded team is off to a good start.

You can embody storytelling practices to the hiring process as well. Existing team members can share a story symbolizing a wish for the new colleague to highlight what things they cherish in the workplace. For example how to behave, what is expected of them, what they give in return, how they view the workplace and their relationships with team members to name some.

The owner of the Morning Star (a California-based agribusiness and food processing company) has noticed that in their organization it takes around one year for a new employee to be fully comfortable with self management. They usually organize job interviews at home to analyze the fit not the expertise. They look for being fit for the company philosophy and map out their personal needs or desires too. Newcomers can get for example a two hour training of self management practices. On top of this, 5 to 10 colleagues are part of the interview process, or are involved in different ways during the first weeks right after the recruitment, in order to help out screening the right candidates, and/or give guidance for them.

Photo by Antero Semi

Skills and experience is one thing, but attitude and character are the things you want to look for. It’s easier to teach someone how to make a cocktail than to teach them how to be a good person. The venue and the team also have a responsibility to spend time together in the recruitment process to communicate what their values are and what it is like to work with them. This way the new recruit can decide whether the practices are something they’re interested in. A thorough introduction to self-management during the interview process is important. The candidates could even be invited to join a discussion about the venue’s values and practices during the process.

In short, there are three types of fit to consider (Laloux, Reinventing Organizations):

  1. The Role (the traditional skill and behavioral interview)
  2. The Organization (compatibility related to the values and self-management practices)
  3. The Purpose (the deeper connection)

Individual and organizational purpose should go hand in hand. When the venue names it’s purpose it drives the team members to think and pursue their purpose too. The more clarity, the more resonance. The more the workers are centered, the more they contribute to the venues work energy.

Questions from Frederic Laloux’s Reinventing Organizations book (p.219-220) you can consider incorporating to the recruitment discussions:

  • Does the organization’s purpose resonate with me?
  • Is this a place I feel called to work?
  • What do I really feel called to do at this moment in my life?
  • Will this place allow me to express my selfhood?
  • Will it help me grow and develop?
  • What is your sense of your life trajectory? How could working here fit with what you sense you are called to be and to do in the world?
  • What aspects of the organizational purpose resonates with you? What unique talents and gifts could you contribute to the organization’s journey?

The hiring process should aim to find out if the person is in sync with the organizations values and purpose. Will the person thrive in a venue operating by the self-management styles? Will they be a good fit? Ultimately you are trying to figure out if both parties sense that they are meant to journey together.


All new recruits and new teams, especially the opening team, should partake a “training course” related to communication styles and solution-driven methods of interaction. The course helps the whole team learn a coherent set of skills and techniques for healthy, safe and efficient group decision making.

On top of the actual trade related stuff and communication styles, the first weeks of the new employee should also consist of getting to know their colleagues, as well as some trainings related to the in-house Teal practices:

1. Self-management

  • What it is, what is different, what stays the same compared to traditional ways of operating
  • Problem solving/decision making tools
  • Meeting practices
  • Other basics of self-management

2. Striving for wholeness

  • Assumptions between one another (team members in general)
  • Ground rules (respect your commitments, language etc.)
  • Values
  • Conflict resolution

3. Listening to Evolutionary purpose

  • What is the organization’s purpose and where does it come from?
  • Reflect on their personal calling and how it resonates with the organization’s purpose
  • How to support and nurture these two?

If you have gone to great lengths to design and open a venue of your own, there must be a higher purpose that drives you. Share your passion, your story and your “why” with everyone who is involved – your team first and foremost. The more you give from yourself, the easier it is for others to reflect on it and find their way defining their own relationship with the venue’s purpose. But be careful not to preach it, as if you were the only one to understand it. You might be the one who kicked things off in the beginning, but after that, your team is part of the venue’s identity and purpose now too.

Recent Posts

Mika Ammunét Written by:

Bar Manager, Future Bar Owner

Be First to Comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.