7 Serious Staffing Tips from Game of Thrones

It’s not all debauchery and violence! There are recruitment lessons even in the darkest places of Westeros.

A lot can be learned from books and TV shows – life, love… recruitment advice.

Take Game of Thrones for example. In honour of what is undoubtable the most memorable and addictive show of its era, we’ve unearthed some surprising life lessons for increasing corporate stability.



An office needs all sorts of people

“The Night’s Watch needs all sorts too. Why else have rangers and stewards and builders? Lord Randyll couldn’t make Sam a warrior, and Ser Alliser won’t either. You can’t hammer tin into iron, no matter how hard you beat it, but that doesn’t mean tin is useless. Why shouldn’t Sam be a steward?”

– Jon Snow to Maester Aemon

Now this is one from the books, but it rings true all the same. When Alliser Thorne attempted to beat Samwell Tarly into a fighter, Jon pleaded with Maester Aemon to let him steward for him. His reasoning? Sam wasn’t a knight, yet that doesn’t mean he’s worthless – “a land needs all sorts of people.” An office needs all sorts, too.

You’ll find in less ‘culturally attuned’ corporations that people are much of the same. Cut from the same cloth, their ideas are stagnant, their voice all in one harmony. Problem with that is, while that might make an office comfy, it’s disharmony, discord and disruption that catalyses change. You need a multicultural office with different views, opinions and perceptions to have a holistic (and successful) approach to business.


Do not take with fire and blood

Whether Daenerys is morphing into her father, The Mad King, remains to be seen. However, what can be said is that she isn’t winning the hearts and minds of her people by burning those who do not want to bend the knee alive.

We’ve all probably had delusions of grandeur and power in the office, and while moments of strength and steadfastness to one’s ideal are commendable, don’t become the office bully who domineers her colleagues to get what she wants. You may start losing valuable allies.


One bad Theon can spoil the bunch

Taking in seemingly well-to-do candidates into your established, functioning office culture always seems like a good idea. But they can be the poison that undoes all your hard work. Theon and Arya both looked like dedicated, loyal candidates when they were adopted by House Stark and the House of Black and White respectively, yet both managed to destroy the people that kept them.

The same can be said about unwittingly employing personnel without a meticulous (and more often than not, extensive) hiring process. They may clash with your A-player employees, disrupt your smooth company culture, and open up a drain in your cash-flow, which no one, especially fragile start-ups and SMEs, needs.


Keep your employees fighting fit

“Robert was never the same after he put on that crown. Some men are like swords, made for fighting. Hang them up and they go to rust.”

– Donal Noye to Jon Snow

Robert Baratheon was once “muscled like a maiden’s fantasy” and “towered amongst princes”; his strength and battle prowess the stuff of song and legend. That was nine years before The Song of Ice and Fire began. This image is a stark contrast to the fat man that walked as if half in his cups.

On-going training, engagement and growth is vital to ensure the on-going health and productivity of its employees – especially those in senior management. It’s easy to become complacent and lazy after years of working in a similar role. Make sure there’s frequent opportunities for engagement, learning and development, and fun. Needless to say, even some of your mightiest A-players might end up sluggish and bored without it.


Mentorship is everything

You want your staff unified, happy, and learning? Make sure your upper-management – their leaders – are competent, selfless individuals who enjoying teaching and improving their executives. Where would Arya be if it wasn’t for the poignant and observant teachings of her dancing master? Where would Sansa be (okay, less so, but she has grown a lot) without guidance from Littlefinger on the nuances of governance and politics?

Mentors will ensure that your office has a constant rotisserie of able-bodied employees that have learnt from the best your company has to offer.


Presenteeism can be worse than absenteeism

Even the best company cultures suffer from presenteeism – the unwillingness of employees to go and take rest when they need it most. Whether there’s an inbuilt fear of being seen as weak or disposable, or high job-responsibility, it’s important that you force (I mean it, force) your hardworking employees to take rest.

Look at poor Ser Jorah. Greyscaled and all, he was still trying to get the job done. Daenerys did what most management should do when their staff are under-the-weather: sign his sick leave application and send him home to rest—or the Citadel if they’re really poorly.


Multi-generational offices are a victory

Everyone’s worried about Millennials (as a Millennial myself, I’m worried about us, too), the infinitely savvy Generation Z, and everyone before and in-between. Offices are a giant melting-pot of employees from various decades and times. Senior management doubt and pity these “poor, sweet summer children” of the 80s and 90s. The younger generation, full of bravado and eagerness, are trying desperately to make their mark without fully comprehending the wide world of adulthood they’ve entered into.

Fact of the matter is, if your office is multi-generational you’ve got a good thing going for you. Capitalize on the exuberant youth by having them work in harmony with your skilful seniors and you have a recipe for a winning  team that will successfully execute fresh ideas with practiced accuracy.

Bottom-line? An office of Olenna Tyrells and Lyanna Mormonts can be a great thing!