Talent War: The Arrival of the Metaverse

Talent War: The Arrival of the Metaverse

Meta is coming…are you prepared to protect your team and defend your people?

Meta has announced that they have plans to open up a hub in downtown Toronto, and of course, this means they’ll bring with them about 2,500 job opportunities…

…this also means that the arrival of the Metaverse inevitably brings some business owners a sense of peril.

Those 2,500 hires will be talent drawn away from their pre-existing roles in Canadian companies and be propelled toward enticing new employment opportunities.

So, just as King Leonidas fearlessly led his Spartan army to the Battle of Thermopylae against Xerxes and the Persian army….Canadian business owners will soon have to suit up and be proactive to keep their team well trained, aligned, and dedicated. It’s the only way businesses can hold strong and retain their top talent during the Meta invasion.

How do I retain my best people?

You can retain your people by being prepared for the arrival of Meta; this means you need to implement the best modern HR strategies TODAY!

To retain your top tech talent during the Meta invasion, look to the Spartans for inspiration, and take a look at your current practices for:

Recruiting – Spartans were extremely picky about allowing the healthiest of offspring to join their ranks; they knew that they needed the best team in order to succeed, and understood what traits, skills, and qualities were necessary.

What we can learn – Know your Ideal Employee Profile…and stick to it! Having an IEP is just one of many recruiting game-changers that will help with your Talent Acquisition strategy. Whether you find them through a job posting or through an Employee Referral, you’ll know what traits and skills you’re looking for.

Training – Spartans were all about constant training, with clear promotions in their ranks and goals to be met…they were constantly advancing their ranks.

What we can learn – Upgrade your team constantly, encourage a growth mindset, and the development of new skills. Have clear tiers to help them achieve and have a plan in place to track their progress…this is why modern performance reviews and new hire onboarding playbooks are essential.

Culture – Spartans were always culturally aligned and strong. They were focused and had a code of conduct…most importantly, they stood by their values and their people and never surrendered. 
What we can learn – Ensure that your employees are all aligned and understand the company values and goals. Employees must all fit with your company culture, and if your culture is unclear to them, remember that they will define it for themselves…a fierce leader would never let that happen!

Our Takeaway

The Spartans didn’t give in to the demand of Xerxes, and they fought for what they believed in.

While we strongly discourage gory battles and kicking your opponents into a pit, we believe that the Spartans truly understood their culture, the importance of having the best people on their team, and constant training, and that is a key takeaway here.

The Spartans were the O.G’s of teamwork and preparedness. We highly recommend drawing inspiration from them when preparing your team for the arrival of Meta…and that means improving your modern HR strategies in order to attract and retain a force (team) to be reckoned with!

If your team is aligned, just like King Leonidas’ 300 army, they’ll conduct themselves well, share the same values, and make decisions based on what they know and believe in.

Think of your team organizing a Phalanx to defend your people when Meta arrives…if everybody is aligned and invested in what they’re fighting for, you’ll hold strong.

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Remember: a small, intentionally built team of A-players with aligned values can achieve a LOT against an invading force.

And, if you’re like Castle HR, you don’t need a team of 300, so that’s the good news…however,  the challenge with that is you need to be exact on the hires you make now and fiercely defend them from being taken – an ounce of preparation is worth a pound of reaction.

If you need help aligning your team and preparing for Meta’s arrival, Castle HR is here to help.

For Sparta!

Book a call with us to learn how we’re helping companies
attract superstar talent, increase productivity,
and score a ridiculous retention rate.

70 Percentage

increase in new
hire quality

59 Percentage


21% - Castle HR


The 8 Culture Types

There are eight main culture types for organizations. This image is of an eight ball on a pool table.

The 8 Culture Types

When it comes to culture, no two companies are alike…understanding and defining your company culture will help your business function well across all areas of operation, and it will help your team be able to make decisions in their roles, and understand your company as a whole.

Simply put: your team should know who they are working for, what is expected of them and you should know who you are looking for to be a part of your team! 
Often, people mistake their company values as culture. Although your values and mission are certainly an element of your company culture, it goes beyond that. Your company culture encompasses how you, and your employees, interact and behave, what the workplace environment is like, how problems are handled, how changes are met, how internal and external relations and communications are managed and what goals you set.

There is no ‘one size fits all’ solution to company culture, and that’s why, as a leader,  establishing your culture is an important task to tackle in the early stages of scaling your business.

Why is identifying your company culture so important?

As your business grows, you’ll want your team to be able to make daily decisions and actions on their own and have an understanding of the company they work for…not just their specific role and duties. Their ability to do this relies on their understanding of your specific company culture.

Today’s workforce wants (and expects) to know what a company culture is. And, they don’t want to piece it together when they are hired; people want to have a clear understanding of a company’s culture when they are interviewing, and especially before they sign a contract.

In other words, retention and talent acquisition are directly affiliated with your company culture. If you are facing issues with turnover, or find you cannot seem to attract an ideal candidate, there are many factors to consider, but your company culture could be one of them.

We previously wrote about the role of company values in hiring, and about creating a great interview process.

How does culture impact your business?

Without a clear understanding of your culture, you will not be able to create an effective strategy for managing and scaling your company.

Culture drives behavior; you want to attract, hire, and retain the best team of people whose values, attitudes, goals and ethics align with the company and other staff. Your staff should all be able to collaborate and be productive, and comfortable, in their workplace. In addition to this, if you don’t define what your company culture is, your staff will decide for themselves…which can lead to a lot of disconnect, and could potentially disrupt the flow of your business..

Culture is the glue that holds organizations together…you want your employees to be excited about coming to work, and have an in-depth understanding of the environment they work in and company they work for.

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What are the culture types?

There are 8 culture types, each with its own set of strengths, weaknesses and unique identifiers, they are:


These companies pride themselves on taking care of their employees. They often have extensive benefits packages and are very focused on work/life balance, as well as employee collaboration. Employees of Caring Culture Workplaces often help one another and become invested in one another’s success.

The downside of these cultures is that they can be seen as “coddling” by some employees, and they may not be as driven to achieve results.

Example: Disney


These companies exist to achieve a greater good, not just to make money. They are often mission-driven and values-based, and this extends to the mindset(s) of their employees, too! The purpose driving the company is often one that is highly important to employees and unites your entire team.

If there’s any potential ‘con’ to a purpose-driven culture, it’s that they can be overly idealistic and may have difficulty making tough decisions.

Example: Whole Foods


These companies believe that learning is a lifelong process and invest heavily in employee development. They are often very open to new ideas and adapting new (or altering) practices.

The downside of these cultures is that they can be seen as “flighty” by some employees, and they may not be as focused on achieving results.

Example: Tesla


These companies are all about having fun while you work! They often prioritize comfortability and have a very informal structure; they typically encourage employee creativity, flexibility and collaboration.

Although a more playful work environment sounds appealing to some, note that they can be seen as unprofessional and employees may not take their work seriously if there aren’t clear boundaries and expectations set out…a well written, concise employee handbook can help with that!

Example: Twitter


These companies are focused on achieving results, and often have a very competitive environment. The upside of these cultures is that they are highly productive and achieve great results.

The downside is that they can be very stressful and may not be as conducive to employee development. Decisions may also be made unilaterally, as many results-oriented companies opt for a hierarchical structure.

Example: Netflix


These companies believe in a top-down approach to management, and often have a very hierarchical structure as well. The benefit to an authority-style culture is that they are very efficient and decisions are made quickly.

Unfortunately, they have potential to be inflexible and may not be as open to new ideas or encouraging employees to think outside the box or ‘grow’ in their roles.

Example: Huawei

Safe or ‘Risk-Conscious’:

These companies prioritize safety and security, and often have very strict rules and regulations. The upside of these cultures is that they are very safe and employees feel secure.

The downside is that they can be seen as overly cautious and may not be as innovative.

Example: Public sector entities, Government agencies

Order, or ‘Structure’:

These companies are very organized and follow a set of strict procedures. Cultures with order and structure are efficient and employees know exactly what is expected of them.

Similar to authority cultures, they may not be as open to new ideas and things may run on a very strict schedule.

Example: Big Banks like TD, CIBC, RBC

I know which culture I want for my company. Now what?

It is important to note that defining your company culture isn’t always a ‘black and white’ scenario (it is possible that your company culture is a combination of two). But, defining what your primary and secondary cultures are is still vital!

If you want to learn more about company culture and how to improve it, or if you need help defining it, an HR professional can help you define and establish yours as your company grows.

Establishing a company culture that clearly aligns with your mission, values, goals and structure of operations will help ensure that you attract and retain the best team, and that your company operates well across all departments, and with a unified rhythm and understanding of workplace culture!

Book a call with us to learn how we’re helping companies
attract superstar talent, increase productivity,
and score a ridiculous retention rate.

70 Percentage

increase in new
hire quality

59 Percentage


21% - Castle HR


What is an Employee Handbook and Why is it Important?

What is an Employee Handbook and why do we need one?

What is an Employee Handbook?

At its core, an employee handbook is a place to keep all of your official HR policies. It’s also so much more: it’s a document that describes and celebrates your company’s culture and values. 

An employee handbook should also include an acknowledgment form where employees sign off on all of its policies.

Why do we need an Employee Handbook?

An employee handbook protects the business from legal exposure by defining what is—and is not—acceptable at your company. 

Employee handbooks also protect the people on your team by informing them of their legal rights, and by setting expectations from day 1.

Can I just keep a folder of our policies instead?

A loose collection of policies—even if they’re all in one convenient place—is not as good as having a full employee handbook. For one, tracking who has signed off on which policies becomes a logistical nightmare. Updating policies over time and tracking changes quickly becomes an issue as well.

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How does Castle HR do Employee Handbooks?

We make fully-customized employee handbooks that shout your company culture from the rooftops. Your values are front and centre, and every policy is written to fit your exact needs.

A modern employee handbook is more than just a way to stay legally compliant; it’s a document that employees will refer back to time and again because it has answers.

Castle HR also proactively updates our clients’ employee handbooks when something changes. Companies often find the need for new policies as they grow. An employment bill passing into law also presents the need to adapt—often quickly.

Can I use a template to create my employee handbook?

Templates—whether for the overall document or for specific policies—will never do your company justice. While a template may provide some coverage, the gaps are critical when it comes to legal exposure. 

The presentation of a handbook also sends an important message to the team. What level of effort and care went into creating a document so central to the organization? They’ll know.

The bottom line:

An employee handbook is an important document for both new and tenured employees. It codifies your culture, and there’s power in writing things down.

It’s also critical to stay compliant with your legal responsibilities, both to protect your business and your people.

Book a call with us to learn how we’re helping companies
attract superstar talent, increase productivity,
and score a ridiculous retention rate.

70 Percentage

increase in new
hire quality

59 Percentage


21% - Castle HR


The 5 Keys to a Best-in-Class Interview Process

The 5 Keys to a Best-in-Class Interview Process

We recently did a deep dive on why it’s so important to hire for values over skills. But if you don’t have a great interview process to begin with, the candidates you want – the ones that share your values – are not going to accept your offers.

If only you could build a process that finds you the right people and has them scrambling to say yes…

Well, read on!

crop businessman giving contract to woman to sign
Photo by Andrea Piacquadio on Pexels.com
  1. Transparency from the Start

Your candidates should know a fair bit about your process even before they apply. Why? It’s a natural filter to save your time and theirs. If your process takes 3 months and they need a start before then, no amount of interviews is going to make it a good fit. Or you may do rigorous reference checks, and candidates might need time to line those up. Think of this as a professional kindness.

Having a standardized process also shows that you’re limiting some biases. The opposite – a subjective flow – lets the interviewer decide who the candidate should speak to next, or possibly even to make the hiring decision right away. Stick to the process, and being transparent up front means you’re committed.

At Castle HR, we post our interview process directly as part of our job description. Candidates know exactly with whom they will be meeting at each stage so that they can do their homework. We also include a short description of each step and an estimate of the overall timeline.

“Scoring for values is the difference between a grocery list that says ‘get something for dinner’ and one that has an itemized list of ingredients for a four-course meal.”

flat lay photography of vegetable salad on plate

2. Value-Based Scorecards

This sounds simple, right? And using a scorecard should be – that’s the point. But how you create the scorecard is critical.

Scoring for your company’s values is the difference between a grocery list that says “get something for dinner” and one that has an itemized list of ingredients (with measurements!) for a four-course meal.

Interview scorecards – designed well – can also be a huge asset in removing bias. How you word your questions and how you teach your team to evaluate candidate responses cannot be neglected.

crop illustrator coloring apparel sketch at table

3. The “Show, Don’t Tell” Approach

Behavioural-style interview questions (“tell me about a time when you…”) are quickly moving out of fashion. They not only put candidates on the spot, they leave room for errors in memory and deception (no matter how well-intentioned).

Instead, design your process to have the candidate show you what they can do. The key here is to not ask for too much. They’re not working for free, after all.

Set a task that lets them show off their chops, and also allows for some creativity. This is a great opportunity to align the conversation around your values, too; a fun-loving team might put a goofy spin on the task so you can’t help but laugh together. Does the person take it way too seriously? Maybe they aren’t the best fit.

multiethnic colleagues discussing contract on paper

4. Empower Your People

This could arguably be titled, “Let decisions happen.” Don’t overcomplicate by requiring sign off from every executive unless the role really calls for that. Decide in advance who’s making the decision, and then let them.

A surefire way to lose a promising candidate is to leave them waiting, and waiting, and waiting. If the person who would decide is going to be on vacation, you should be able to know that in advance and deputize someone else.

This not only makes for a more efficient process that doesn’t trip and stumble over preventable details, it shows candidates that you’re serious about them! They’ll also see that you’re a company that trusts the people they hire. You want them thinking, “the CEO was away, but clearly has a lot of faith in their team – I want to be a part of that!”

brown and clear hour glass

5. Trust in the Process

When you build a good process it will find you quality candidates.

Earlier this year we released a video about eliminating ‘interview insecurity,’ where you think you’ve found the perfect candidate, but you just want to meet 5 more to see how they measure up.

Then suddenly that perfect candidate gets snatched up by your competition because they didn’t hesitate! This paralysis-by-analysis is a great way to lose skilled talent.


It’s time to sit back and let your interview process do its thing. That’s why you put so much effort into it, right?

Our fractional HR team is here to help guide you in creating a stellar interview process. Contact us today to learn how we can help.

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Why you Need to Hire for Values Over Skills

Why you Need to Hire for Values Over Skills

If your business has ever done sales then you’ve done the work of defining your ideal client. When your salespeople can picture their dream customer, fewer such opportunities will slip through the cracks. Whether your ideal client is the perfect buyer for your product or someone who could really use your services, they are very likely to be someone who will recommend you to others. 

Have you tried applying this same approach to your hiring process?

You may have a very clear sense of when you’re speaking with an ideal client, but what about your ideal job candidate? 

The job market uses broad terms like ‘culture fit,’ but what the heck does that even mean? 

Outside of checking the traditional boxes available on a resume, how do you know when you’ve found the right person?

Believe it or not there IS a right type of candidate, and identifying them goes way beyond how they present ‘on paper’. 

graduate with papers and laptop excited about getting job
Photo by Ketut Subiyanto on Pexels.com

Aligning Values

Do you remember the days when you were applying for jobs? Aside from asking about your experience, you were probably hit with predictable scenario questions about your past experiences in difficult situations or asking how you might handle a hypothetical. Either way, the question required you to think on your feet and formulate an answer using your intuition as a guide.

That’s because the interviewer wasn’t invested in the outcome of the situation in your example. They were interested in your behaviours and outlooks because those things are great indicators of your values. No surprise, a candidate whose values align with the company at which they are interviewing has a higher chance of success – both in interviewing and in the role itself.

For example, if honesty is a top priority in your organization then you’re going to search for candidates that can demonstrate that they value honesty in everything that they do. At Castle HR, we look for candidates who have Grit (read as: Hustle & Heart), so we know they will give their best effort and care about the results. We ask questions that reveal “gritty” qualities and elicit stories that demonstrate working towards success. That’s a great indicator that they align with our values, and will succeed in our environment.

Apple specifically seeks out happy, calm, easygoing personalities to work in their stores. Expert knowledge about technology is less important because it can be learned.

Predicting Success

Many of us have not been into an Apple store for a while, but we know what the experience of the store is like. But what about the people working there? Have you ever noticed that even though the store is always full of customers, the employees seem cheerful and unfazed? No matter how frenzied the activity around them, Apple employees are famous for maintaining this happy sense of calm and staying upbeat.

man passing an apple store

Amazingly, this isn’t because Apple employees are all technological wizards that gain comfort from having all the answers always, or that they love standing on their feet all day answering the same questions over and over again. Apple employees are happy working at Apple Stores in large part because Apple hires the type of people who would be happy being just about anywhere. 

Apple specifically seeks out happy, calm, easygoing personalities to work in their stores. Expert knowledge about technology is less important when considering a candidate because it can be learned – and of course they’ve developed processes to download that information. Rather, it’s the soft skills and personality traits that are harder to learn and say much more about a person’s values. Speaking broadly, those easy-going employees at Apple value positivity and kindness, and you see that in how they interact with customers. 

We see parallels in the legal world, too. In some areas of law that focus on litigation, lawyers and hiring managers look for students and junior lawyers who are bold, passionate, and strong-minded. The reasoning is the same: they can teach a young lawyer the fine details of the law, but the passion that it takes to get on one’s feet in court and advocate for a client can be daunting, and is harder to learn because parts of wanting to be that advocate come from your values.

a woman holding a tablet and a pen

Know Your Subcultures   

A candidate who does not align well with your company’s values is unlikely to be a great fit on any of your teams. That should be pretty obvious. But looking at this in the opposite direction presents an interesting distinction: 

Your company has core values, but each team can have its own sub-set of values too. And just because someone matches with the core values does not predict that they will be a good fit for the subculture of any given team.

Imagine a respected company, with a team of successful salespeople that has a reputation for being a bit abrasive. On this team, the ability to push people’s buttons is important. The kind of drive for success it takes to treat people this way is a value of the sales team subculture. But you wouldn’t want someone like that on a team that highly values empathy. Imagine them taking customer support calls! Yet both teams and their very different subcultures must coexist within this organization.

For another example, consider a team of developers compared to a marketing team. The former might value adherence to rigid industry standards and best practices, while the latter could prioritize exploration and unorthodox approaches to new problems. 

It’s easy to see how hiring for alignment with your company values and for the subculture of the role’s team are both important.

man people woman coffee

The Takeaway

Values are the pieces that you cannot instill in the venue of new hire training. They come from within, and are very difficult to change. If a person’s values do not align with your organization’s, they are probably not the right fit no matter how strong their technical skills.

Know the values that your organization prizes and behaviours that demonstrate them. You’ll need to figure out what interview questions will uncover whether a candidate shares those values.

Later on this month we’ll be taking a closer look at interviewing, and how to assess if that promising-on-paper candidate really is the right fit for your company, and for the team they would join. In the meantime, we are available to assist you at any time with your HR needs. Our fractional HR setup means that we do not need to be onsite to be able to lend a helping hand. Contact us today to learn more about our services.

Time to refresh your hiring process? We can help!

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