Ao.com said its biannual assessments flag up staff who do not share the etailer’s values but it was not about developing worker clones.
Speaking at this morning’s Retail Week Customer Experience conference, chief executive and founder John Roberts said the appliance retailer looked beyond staff hitting their targets.
If staff do not hold the right values it can be “cancerous” for a company, he said, adding that while he believed it was easy to hire people based on values, it was harder to fire those who are not the right cultural fit but are “hitting their numbers and a high achiever”.
As a result, Ao.com takes into account people’s values when assessing staff, including being “fun, smart, caring and driven”.
Despite the emphasis on values, Roberts insisted “we do not try to develop clones” and that the company has a “very broad church” when it comes to its staff’s personalities.
Ao.com also focuses on getting the culture right and does not introduce perks for the sake of it, according to Roberts, and is quick to be honest when “things don’t work”.
Roberts highlighted an initiative for which Ao.com foots half the bill for extra-curricular activities if four or more the employees want to do it.
Initially employees took part in activities such as photography and French classes, but Ao.com had to put “limits” on the scheme after a large group of staff used it to go on a skiing holiday.
Most of the activities from the scheme are “low budget”, such as going for country walks at the weekend, according to Roberts.