The importance of hiring for cultural fit in business
Anyone tasked with finding new employees for a company understands the importance of finding the “right” talent. It’s not enough to pick someone based only on education or bullet points on a resume. Like finding a missing puzzle piece, a candidate must work with your company culture and reflect its values to truly fit in. The consequences of hiring the wrong person can be serious for your business financially and affect the overall atmosphere in the office.
Here are some quick, “bad news” facts on the cost of hiring the wrong person:
- A 2015 report from Bersin by Deloitte found that new hires cost a company about $4,000. (entrepreneur.com)
- The Harvard Business Review reports that up to 80% of employee turnover is due to bad hiring decisions. (Insights.Dice.com)
- A Society for Human Resources Management (SHRM) study estimates it can cost up to five times a bad hire’s salary to replace him/her. (Insights.Dice.com)
- Aside from the financial consequences of selecting the wrong person, a bad hire can also have a negative impact on the company’s morale and productivity. (entrepreneur.com)
As a hiring manager, human resources director, senior executive, or recruiter, it’s important that you understand why finding a candidate who meshes with an organization’s culture is essential to everyone’s bottom line.
Business News Daily defines culture fit this way, “At its core, cultural fit means that employees’ beliefs and behaviors are in alignment with their employer’s core values and company culture.”
For instance, if your company has an open floor plan with team projects, but you hire an introvert who needs to be alone in order to work, that might be a bad cultural fit. If your company is very structured, and you hire someone who needs more freedom, chances are, both of you will be unhappy. You can’t take a chance on someone who can’t or won’t work well with the team you already have in place.
Tips on hiring for good cultural fit
If you want to ensure you hire people who will mesh well with your organization, you must first define your work culture. To do that you can work with an external consultant or conduct staff focus groups and discussions.
You need to ask yourself:
- What are the core values and goals of the company?
- What is the company structure?
- How do lower level or new team members suggest or express new ideas? Are they able to go directly to management – or even the CEO – or do they need to go through several layers of supervisors?
- What are the top 3 behaviors that are critical for success in this company?
Once you’ve identified the culture, you’ll need to come up with a formal statement that defines it, including operational and cultural norms that govern how the company is structured. Everyone then needs to be on board with this statement, from the top down. That cultural statement also needs to be reflected everywhere, from internal memos and meetings to your website and social media postings.
You must also ensure those core values are clearly communicated to hiring managers, HR directors, and recruiters. Make sure the values and qualities that are important to you are also expressed in job postings and recruitment ads. It’s not enough to include years of experience or education required. If you want someone who works well on their own, who is innovative and a problem solver without needing a lot of supervision, that needs to be expressed.
One important thing to point out
Don’t confuse looking for a candidate who is a good cultural fit with hiring people who think and act exactly alike. This can lead to a lack of diversity and ideas, ultimately stifling creativity and innovation. According to Harvard Business Review, “The values and attributes that make up an organizational culture can and should be reflected in a richly diverse workforce.”
The interview process
When you do bring in candidates for an interview, be sure to ask questions that can help determine if he or she is a good fit.
Here are several examples of questions from American Express Small Business and Harvard Business Review:
- Tell me about your best day at work.
- How do you go about delegating tasks?
- Based on what you’ve seen so far, how would you describe our culture here?
- What is the biggest change you’ve had to adapt to at work? How did you do it?
- What type of culture do you best thrive in?
- What values are you drawn to and what’s your ideal work environment?
- Tell me about a time when you worked for an organization where you felt you were not a strong cultural fit. Why was it a bad fit?
Armed with these guidelines, you will be better able to identify new hires that will fit seamlessly into your organization’s environment and become an integral part of your team.
At Mankuta | Gallagher, we go beyond browsing resumes and skillsets with strategic planning and direct communication, so that clients and talent can be assured of a successful hire and lasting relationship. Contact us today to learn more about our unique approach.