The Importance of Cultural Fit in an Organization and How To Test for It

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7 MIN READ

Recruitment is an important process to keeping your business intact and running. Hiring people to fill in vacant positions in your company will help you ensure that all necessary tasks are completed.

Hiring may seem simple at first, but it is actually quite a tedious process. This procedure involves finding, attracting, screening, shortlisting, and interviewing individuals who are qualified enough to complete the tasks expected of them.

Because of the pandemic, the recruitment process has transformed to accommodate the changes experienced by almost everyone around the world. Most recruiters, nowadays, complete the hiring process virtually. However, although the recruitment process now mostly occurs online, it still involves the same steps.

Knowing the Candidate

One of the primary goals of hiring managers when recruiting is to know about the candidate, including their skills and characteristics. Ensuring this will allow them to assess if the applicant will be a good fit for the company.

Most recruiters prioritize learning about the candidate’s hard skills at first. These refer to an individual’s abilities that contribute directly to how they can handle the tasks related to a certain job.

Hard skills are obtained through education, hands-on experience, and/or training. To check if a candidate has the abilities required to fill in a vacant position, recruiters screen their resume, conduct interviews, and provide skills and talent tests.

Hiring managers usually start by looking at a candidate’s resume and assessing the hard skills listed on the document. They then talk with the applicant in an interview to learn about their abilities and experience more thoroughly. Recruiters also use skills and talent tests to prove that a candidate can fulfill the duties of the job.

Handshake during interview

Sometimes, recruiters take extra measures to ensure that an applicant is fit for the position. They do this by conducting a background check on the candidate and ensuring that every detail they have provided is truthful. Recruiters may also check on an individual’s criminal records, sanctions, and financial history.

In addition to learning about a candidate’s hard skills, it is important that you learn about their traits and characteristics. This includes knowing about how they interact with others and how well they can adapt to your organization’s norms and values. Learning these about potential employees will allow you to determine if they will be a good cultural fit in the workplace.

Cultural Fit: A Definition

Similar to other types of organizations, companies can develop a “personality” over time. This can be referred to as a business’s culture.

Business culture is often defined as the values and beliefs of an organization that are upheld by everyone involved in it, including its founders and individual employees. It can be observed in the way people in the company interact with each other and the condition of their work environment.

This culture can vary from one business to another. This is why some applicants may fit into an organization right away, while others have trouble adjusting to a company’s values and work environment.

An individual’s ability to adapt to an organization’s core values and joint behaviors can be referred to as cultural fit. It can also be defined as the alignment of beliefs, values, and behaviors between an employee and their employer.

Why is Cultural Fit Important?

There is no doubt that an employee’s function fit within an organization is important because they should be able to match the work standard expected of them. This means that they should have the hard skills to accomplish their tasks and contribute to the growth of the company.

However, an employee’s performance can also be dependent on their cultural fit within the company. If they do not have a good cultural fit, they may experience conflict in the workplace. They might even cause friction between other employees, which may lead to a dysfunctional office environment.

A guy who is working from home

Although minor issues can easily be resolved by the management, an employee who is not a good cultural fit for the organization may become unhappy and unproductive after a while. Because of the unsatisfaction they are experiencing, they may underperform at their job and even leave the company.

On the other hand, an employee who easily fits into the company’s existing culture is more likely to stay. If they are a good cultural fit for your business, they will find the interaction with other employees and the working environment pleasant. This can contribute to their satisfaction and encourage them to do better at their job.

Benefits of Culture Fit

When you hire the right candidate, you will be able to enjoy the following benefits:

Staff Retention

Finding an employee with a good cultural fit will allow you to work with individuals who will likely be happy and contented in their workplace. When this happens, you would not have to worry about any staff retention problems. You also would not have to deal with presenteeism and absenteeism issues.

Employee Engagement

In line with what has been discussed above, a culturally fit employee is a happy one. If an individual is satisfied with their relationship with their colleagues and their work environment, they are more likely to be more committed to their company.

a culturally fit team

A committed employee will be motivated to do well in their job and strive to exceed others’ expectations at all times. They will also be more enthusiastic about joining an organization’s extra-curricular activities to build rapport with their colleagues.

Great Performance and Productivity

An individual who finds their workplace conducive and enjoys collaborating with their teammates have more chances of being productive. Being in such a favorable position will also encourage them to give a better performance at their job.

Excellent Teamwork

When an individual is a good cultural fit for your company, they will easily find themselves becoming a part of your team. Although there might be some professional and personal differences between each member, they can be effortlessly resolved. This is possible if every person on the team is focused on achieving the same goals for the company.

Impeccable Communication

Individuals find it easier to communicate when they work with people who share their values. When your employees align with the culture of your company, they will be more willing to communicate with each other. This will make your office a much more pleasant place to work in.

Cultural Fit and Diversity

Given the importance of cultural fit, you might be thinking of hiring people that are almost identical. This might make sense because similar people can adapt to the company’s culture easily. However, hiring for culture fit—if not done properly—can sometimes lead to forming a homogeneous team.

According to research, businesses that have an intrinsically homogeneous workforce can suffer from stifled creativity and information processing. Teams consisting of people with similar characteristics might also experience conflicts amongst their members.

Team looking a laptop

To prevent this, your hiring manager should still embrace diversity when screening employees. You should remember that just because a person does not meet the average demographic of your employees, does not mean they will not make a good cultural fit.

For example, you have an older applicant who has been working as a housewife for several years. They have decided to come back into the workforce after spending years taking care of children. If you have a younger team, you might not think that this candidate will make a good cultural fit.

However, this applicant may still provide your existing employees with extra knowledge gained from years of experience. There is also a chance that they uphold the same values as your company.

How to Test for Cultural Fit

Now that you have learned about cultural fit and its advantages and pitfalls, it is time to learn how to test for it. Follow these steps to find a candidate that fits your company’s culture.

Identify Your Company’s Culture

Before assessing applicants on whether they fit your business culture or not, you should establish it first. To start, take your organization’s core values and mission. You must also consider the traits of your existing team members.

overhead shot of a team shaking hands

Once you gather all the information you need, you can come up with a general idea of your business culture. You can then use this to determine if a candidate is a good cultural fit.

Interview

During an interview, you can ask the candidate questions that will help you learn more about their personality and preferred work environment. Here are some questions and prompts that will allow you to determine whether an applicant is a good cultural fit for your business:

  • What is your ideal work environment?
  • Describe your ideal work style.
  • How would your teammates describe your work style?
  • What kind of work environment would make you unhappy?
  • Describe the best boss or manager.

Personality Tests

For a more thorough cultural fit screening, you can ask candidates to complete a personality test for job applicants. Through this method, you will be able to obtain significant information regarding an applicant’s characteristics. You can also use the results to assess if a candidate will be a good cultural fit for your organization.

aptitude-tests

Aside from that, you can enjoy the benefits of personality tests for employment, including the following:

  • Faster recruitment process
  • Eliminate biases
  • Acquire deep insight into an applicant’s potential

Use Cultural Fit to Your Advantage

Hiring for cultural fit is a great way of ensuring that your employees work in harmony and are productive. When done right, hiring for cultural fit allows you to build a team that can effortlessly work together towards a common goal—helping your company grow.

Just remember that you should be careful not to build a homogeneous team. You should still embrace diversity to benefit from a culturally fit workforce.

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