Assets and Liabilities

When in the process of hiring new employees, companies tend to evaluate potential job candidates’ value to the firm based on their grades, standardized test scores, and academic involvement. While this method of comparison is straightforward and easy to apply, it is not necessarily the most effective way to ensure that the company is hiring the right people. So how does one approach a hiring decision without a specific, well-defined standard? For the past 10 years, Spotify has been hiring employees based on their cultural fit and future potential.

Spotify has achieved success by creating a business model that reflects Swedish culture and values. By prioritizing autonomy, competence development, belonging, and benevolence, Spotify has built a team that can create and facilitate the company’s exponential growth.

Swedes are known for their decentralization of power and authority, their flat organizational hierarchies, and their practice of management by consensus. These practices are pervasive throughout Swedish businesses and stem from Sweden’s enduring culture of inclusion and equality. Spotify has used this concept of minimal hierarchy to create an environment where any good idea is recognized, no matter where or who it comes from. Discussion, collaboration, and competence development have played an integral role in Spotify’s success and ability to create an environment that promotes a sense of belonging.

Over the past week I have found that Swedish culture has given entrepreneurs a unique advantage over those from other countries. While leadership is present and crucial to the organization, companies emphasize the importance of managerial equality and the respectful treatment of employees. After all, employees are a company’s greatest assets and greatest liabilities.