Culture is key, but key to culture comes through hiring

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Most of Coyote's hires are straight out of college. The offices feature an expansive open space lined with row after row of young people, some in chairs, some seated on inflatable exercise balls, all wearing telephone headsets and toggling between dual computer monitors.

The place exudes energy. New hires go through rigorous group training classes to learn Coyote's software and cultural mores. Tribal. True. Tenacious. Smart. It's all driven home relentlessly, and employees buy into it or don't last long.

"If we can find people who fit well with those brand characteristics, we're doing well," Silver said. "We want to know who they are. That's the important thing for us."


No. 4 large company

When a job candidate comes to ATI Physical Therapy, the interviewer takes that person's resume and does something unexpected.

"We turn the resume over and just talk to people," said Dylan Bates, the company's chief operating officer. "We get to know what makes them tick. They're going to be working with patients. Can they communicate effectively? Can they be a team player?"

The company has a 10-person recruiting team, and Bates said ATI puts "a lot of resources into recruiting and really cherry-picking the right kind of people who we know are going to work."

Again, culture is king. The company has been growing, opening new clinics and acquiring existing ones, and the goal has been to staff each facility with people who embrace the same mission, a quest for a certain level of homogeneity.

Bates said they look for the requisite skills, along with a competitive spirit, a belief in teamwork and an outgoing personality.

The company tries to conduct initial interviews in a clinical setting.

"We want to see the applicant in the environment and see if they really have some of the qualities that we're looking for, see if they seem to pick up on and connect with the kind of environment we have going on," Bates said.

Hiring decisions on the clinical side of the business come down to a group of five people.

"I think we've got great consistency because we only have a handful of people making hiring decisions," Bates said. "We've kept a tighter funnel on ultimately deciding whose coming on board, and I think that's created better consistency."

Each person hired goes through a five-day orientation.

"In that time, we really spell out their expectations, we're reading body language, we're sensing whether the message we're delivering is sinking in and are they on board with that," Bates said.

New hires are assigned a mentor and are carefully monitored for the first 90 days to make sure they meet ATI's standards and are a good fit.

"Hiring right, that's where it's at," Bates said. "Opening the number of clinics we're opening, we have to stay ahead of the staffing curve."

Rex Huppke writes the "I Just Work Here" column for the Tribune.

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