“Cultural fit” in the workplace
Nowadays, people spend a third of their lives at work. In this fast-paced world, people tend to hop around from job to job more frequently. Seeking and hoping to find the perfect company that allows them to maximize their potential while earning a good salary at the same time or achieve a better work-life balance. Whatever people’s priorities are, work feeds into many different aspects of our lives. If finding a job is just about earning money, it wouldn’t really matter so much where we worked. However, for most people, it’s more than that and this is where cultural fit comes into play.
Organizational Culture & Cultural Fit
Just as people do, every organization has its own unique personality, which is referred to as its culture. An organizational culture is defined as the underlying beliefs, a system of shared assumptions, values and ways of interacting that contribute to the unique social and psychological environment of an organization. It basically governs how people behave in an organization. Often invisible, but a powerful force, the culture of an organization influences the group’s dress code, the way they act as well as how they perform their jobs.
A cultural fit is the compatibility between the organization’s culture and the potential employee’s personality traits, their work style, as well as their attitudes and beliefs.
Cultural Fit in the Workplace
Why is “cultural fit” so important for recruiting and retaining top employees? Imagine a scenario where you found a possible employee with the right qualifications and experience. A candidate with a remarkable résumé, who also aced the job interview. However, he/she fails to live up to your expectations and never truly match with the rest of the organization, leaving themselves and the rest of the team demoralized. Dragging down the team’s productivity in the process. Hiring employees that don’t work well with the existing organizational culture leads to poor work quality and will potentially result with a toxic environment.
On the contrary, hiring an employee that fits well with the culture of the organization will most likely prosper. A positive cultural fit can improve the overall self-esteem and make employees feel more capable of carrying out work to the best of their ability. An array of studies has shown that employees who fit well with the company’s culture, co-workers as well as their supervisors showed superior job performance, greater job satisfaction and were more likely to remain within the company.
Furthermore, studies of cultural fit across many countries showed a profound relationship between cultural fit and an employee’s mental and physical health. Thus, if the organizational culture fits with the employee’s personality, they are less likely to exhibit signs of depression and anxiety.
Measure the candidate(s) cultural fit
A positive company culture can offer employers a significant advantage when looking to attract skilled employees. However, employers face the challenge of identifying which aspects of company culture matter the most to candidates. Therefore, it is relevant to ask current employees to share their thoughts regarding the company’s culture in order to gain valuable insights into the areas that require attention to attract top candidates. This will essentially help with defining the current organizational culture of the company.
When you’re certain regarding the company’s organizational culture, formulate behavioral questions for the interview that will help you assess whether a potential employee fits with the existing organizational culture of your company. These questions can be about management style and questions regarding cultural environment in which the candidate is most productive and happy. Another good way to measure the cultural fit of a potential employees is to create a personality test in a form of a questionnaire that probes questions about the characteristics and traits that they find appealing or unappealing in an ideal organization. The results can then be matched against the organization’s current culture to measure areas of alignment and disparity. Other method is to check the candidate’s references and ask referees the same questions you would ask the candidate in order to assess their cultural fit.
It is also crucial that employers do not assume that finding a candidate, who is a good cultural fit means hiring people who are basically similar to their current staff. You should not sacrifice diversity, but rather find a professional from your candidate pool, who share the same values as your company. It is so tempting to hire a candidate that is the “same as you” but doing this might not create innovative results. Choose employees who will challenge your thinking with new ideas and new ways of looking at familiar situations.
If organizations take into account the specific personalities and values of their employees, everyone wins. For that reason, the happier and fulfilled people are, the stronger the society becomes.