What's a "cultural fit" anyway? And why is cultural fit important when finding a job candidate?
When interviewing a prospective employee, finding a good cultural fit means finding someone who believes in your company's mission and shares a similar outlook and attitude as his or her potential colleagues.
Defining Your Workplace Culture
Before you can hire for culture, however, you must define it. What are your company's values? What are the behaviors, attitudes and mindsets that make your teams tick?
If you're struggling to identify your culture or are looking to revamp it, external consultants can offer the perspective you need. Sometimes an outsider sees things you miss and can help you develop the type of environment that attracts the individuals you're seeking. From there, you can train managers to ensure those values are being represented in employees' everyday experiences.
Training managers to uphold your organization's culture is important because negative interactions among co-workers impact the entire workplace. Millennials in particular look to leadership to set the cultural tone, so executives and managers must present a unified front when implementing cultural standards.
People care about their work environment. They want to be part of dynamic, supportive organizations that stand for well-defined missions. Recent studies show that many professionals would consider taking lower salaries to work at companies known for their great cultures.
It's crucial to find someone who believes in your organization's mission and who shares a similar attitude as his or her potential teammates.
Hiring Candidates Who Enhance the Company Environment
Once you've cultivated a strong company culture, you should hire people who enhance it!
For example, at Hueman, we gravitate toward candidates who are:
We've seen the benefits of hiring for cultural fits firsthand. Hueman has been recognized by Fortune magazine as a Best Workplace and the Great Place to Work Institute for 14 consecutive years, even earning the No. 1 spot in 2013 and the No. 2 spot in 2014. Most recently, in 2018 we were recognized by Gallup as one of the Top 39 Great Workplaces.
But as much as we pride ourselves on our hard work, we also recruit people who value work-life balance and are willing to have fun on the job. We wouldn't hire someone who looks good on paper but lacks the right mentality for our team. We live by this approach and are passionate about helping our clients do the same.
The old approach of sticking just any "warm body" into open positions doesn't work. Why? If they are the wrong fit, those warm bodies become disgruntled once they realize they don't belong with the organization, and they either quit or create problems on their teams. Their responsibilities fall to their colleagues, who then become burned out and disgruntled themselves. It's not a good cycle.
But when you hire the right people, the organization thrives. People want to come into work every day because they love their co-workers and feel valued by the organization. When we partner with other organizations, we learn about their cultures first and then source potential candidates. The only people who make it to interviews are pre-vetted and guaranteed to complement existing teams.
5 Ways Hiring for Cultural Fit Can Benefit Your Business
Once you define your company culture, here are five ways hiring for cultural fit can benefit your business:
1. Increased employee satisfaction.
Happy employees are productive, engaged, and motivated to succeed. That's a critical combination in any industry, where employees are entrusted with your company's health. In an ideal world, who wouldn't want to enjoy going to work every day?
2. High-level performance.
When workers feel like they belong, they're enthusiastic about taking on new challenges and responsibilities. The entire team benefits from their willingness to go the extra mile. The result? High-level performance from your employees.
3. Decreased turnover.
Employee turnover is costly. People stay in jobs they like. Employees who are happy are 12 percent more productive in their work environments and feel invested in the long-term success of the company. They want to stick around to play their parts.
4. Lower stress levels.
Stress levels in the workforce are largely due to the lack of a job fit -- which can be preventable with a value alignment between the employees and the work environment (aka having a cultural fit in your workplace). Stress is a relationship-killer among co-workers, and it distracts people from doing their jobs well. Cohesive teams are productive, so be mindful of how new hires will impact (and be impacted by) existing dynamics.
5. Employee loyalty.
Employees should not dread coming to work every day. If workers see themselves as valued team members, they identify with the company's success and contribute to the overall purpose and goals of the organization. They're less likely to leave if they feel responsible to their colleagues and their employer.
Great hires bring fresh energy to their teams, inspiring creativity and a renewed sense of motivation. That spike in overall engagement can increase both productivity and profitability by 20 percent.
The Wrong Cultural Fit in the Workplace is Bad for Business
Hiring someone who doesn't align with your culture doesn't only affect other staff members and management — it also negatively impacts customer care. A single bad employee can drag down the morale of an entire office, increasing the likelihood of mistakes and underperformance.
Hiring for cultural fit is essential to keeping your company's reputation in good standing. Bad cultural fits tend to be disengaged from work. Weeding out people who don't fit your culture during the recruitment process can save you money in the long run.
In the end, you can't teach someone to fit into your organization's culture and goals. But, you can hire the very best candidate for the longevity of your business and the foundation of your core values as a company.
Finding the right cultural fit for your business can positively impact your business—and it's clear that it's in more ways than one. Check out our eBook on Finding the Right Cultural Fit for Your Company and learn how to recruit the best for your business.