Hiring for culture and diversity
The concept ‘cultural fit’ is really quite simple to understand when it comes to the fulfilment of an employee and the maximization of productivity in the workplace. On average we spend a third of our lives at work and each of us have individual personalities and values. To be part of an organisation that shares your behaviours and values is essential to maintaining happiness, and is an essential component in creating a successful company.
But what exactly is cultural fit?
Cultural fit is often misinterpreted. A company culture is not based on whether there is a ping pong table or beer tap in the staff room. Neither is it based on how similar you are to your co-workers in terms of personality or background. In short, cultural fit means that an employee’s beliefs and values are in congruence with those of the organisation of which they are employed. This means that employees of different genders, from different social, ethnic and economic backgrounds can all fit in with the same culture, as what is most important when measuring cultural fit is that the beliefs and values of the employees align with those of the company.
A diverse range of people can believe and value the same things. Research has shown that there are ten core human values are universal. Therefore when hiring for cultural fit is done correctly, it can promote, rather than stifle diversity.
‘An employee who is not aligned with the culture and is not committed to living it can wreak havoc pretty quickly, even if they bring a great deal of skill and experience to their craft’. – Lauren Kolbe founder of KolbeCo (Fernandes, 2016).
Good cultural fit – The benefits
Good cultural fit is associated with a variety of beneficial outcomes. A meta-analysis by Kristof-Brown (2005) reported that employees that fit well within their organisations had greater job satisfaction, showed superior job performance and were more likely to remain at the company. Studies have also demonstrated how it can impact peoples’ health outside of the workplace. If one’s job matches one’s values you are less likely to suffer from depression, low self-esteem and other mental health conditions (Schofield, 2013). When employees are healthy, they have less absenteeism and are more productive at work.
Companies are more productive when there is values congruence between the employee and the company. For example, if you enjoy where you work, you are more likely to go the extra mile and be more committed to the tasks at hand. Employees who believe in the company values, vision and mission will be better representatives of the brand, deliver better customer service and be more productive. Resulting in a more profitable company. Good cultural fit is also advantageous when it comes to the hiring budget of a company. Hiring and re-hiring can be extremely expensive. Hiring for cultural fit means less is spent on recruitment processes to replace those who leave because of poor fit.
How to hire for Cultural Fit
To accommodate cultural fit within the hiring process an organisation must be able to adequately articulate the core values and practices that define the organisation. Once the company culture has been identified, the company should share it via websites, job postings, interview procedures etc. (Fernandes, 2016). Promoting company culture in this way will be effective in attracting employees that are most suited to the job, as research has shown that when potential candidates are given an indication that they are likely to fit in with the company, they are more likely to apply.
Hiring for cultural fit does not mean that your selection process will leave you with a homogenous workforce. Diversity is a key component to all companies in order to help facilitate creativity, productivity and innovation. Hiring for cultural fit is not about personal similarities or preferences; it is about finding individuals with the deeper values that enable them to help in the development of a successful company. A culture can still be diverse.