Why and how to hire for cultural fit
Company culture, also called corporate culture, is defined as the underlying beliefs, assumptions, values and ways of interacting that contribute to the unique social and psychological environment of an organization. Corporate culture is rarely explicitly defined, and it emerges from the ways of being, acting and thinking of each individual that forms part of the group. External influences such as socio-cultural changes in the environment also impact the corporate culture.
Corporate culture is shaped by the success of projects--internal practices, individual and collective habits, ways of thinking, stereotypes, as well as the company's public image. Changes in the culture can be promoted by different individuals--from the people who founded the company to the junior level employees.
Every company has a culture; SMEs as well as multinationals, startups, and even well-established companies. Each organization is unique, and therefore, have their own signature corporate culture that is difficult to imitate.
THE IMPORTANCE OF CORPORATE CULTURE
A company's culture works like glue; it holds the entire organization together. It helps guide employees on how to behave with colleagues and customers, as well as set guidelines as to how to make decisions on a daily basis. Corporate culture also sets a common framework which represents the lifestyle within the company. When employees share collective values and the company's vision they develop a sense of belonging, which promotes their well-being and serves as a source of motivation. Last but not least, corporate culture helps define the direction of the company guiding everyone in a way that promotes productivity and efficiency.
A company’s culture also influences its communication strategy. It can help reach different target audiences as well as form part of their wider HR strategy helping attract the right candidates. If we take the example of Coca Cola and Pepsi, we all know they both sell soft drinks with similar flavors and product range, however, we personally hold very different images of both companies for better or worse.
WHAT IS CULTURAL FIT?
Cultural fit refers to the degree to which the candidate has the attitudes, values, and beliefs of the organization. Finding a candidate who aligns with the company’s culture is just as important as finding someone with the qualifications to ‘get the job done’ and may be the key to your hiring success. A study by Monster.com showed that companies that have considered cultural fit in their recruitment process have 30 percent less employee turnover than companies that do not consider it at all. Another study by Vadequa found that 36 percent of hiring failures largely result from issues regarding the incompatibility between the new employee and the company values. We can conclude that cultural fit is an important factor in determining if the candidate will be able to effectively thrive in the company.
HOW TO ASSESS A CANDIDATE FOR CULTURE?
The match between a candidate and the company should be based on shared values. This way, you can measure the candidate’s potential to adapt and fit into the company. You can look at this in two ways: first, we can measure what is called the supplementary fit. This is when the individual and the company already share the same values. We can also look at the complementary fit, which is when a company hires candidates that hold values that the company does not have but would like to have more of.
The match between a candidate and company should be based on the complementary and supplementary he fit of shared values.
Central Test has created a Corporate Values Framework model that reveals the candidate’s culture fit for 12 distinct corporate values. The framework can also be customized with specific values of the organization.
We have seen that cultural fit can impact company performance, employee well-being as well as important factors in human resource management. Ensuring organizational values match your employees’ will increase job satisfaction and promote a healthy work environment.