In recent months, I’ve had some interesting conversations with my clients about culture fit. Those who work in HR (or more generally, those who do the hiring) seem to be looking for more information on the relationship between company culture and employees. Sometimes, clients express an interest in changing an existing culture at a company. Other times, we discuss how to establish culture at the inception of an organization. At the heart, though, are two main questions: what is culture fit, and what are its benefits?
Culture fit has been defined in a number of ways (this article from Brent Gleeson is a great read), but what seems to be a common theme is that it’s all about shared values, beliefs, and behaviours between employees and the company itself. When these elements are aligned, companies often experience a greater sense of employee unity, and it can even lead to better overall performance. Understanding what this constitutes at your organization can improve the chances of new candidates being able to successfully fulfill their role.
1) Quality Work – Hiring candidates who fit the company culture can lead to higher performance and increased job satisfaction. When employees are in an environment that fulfills their emotional needs, they’re more fully invested in the work they do, which can increase the quality of what they bring to the table.
2) Reduce Turnover – When you hire qualified employees who also fit your company’s culture, you’re hiring for the long term. And most of the time, less turnover equates to lower recruiting costs.
3) Job Satisfaction – There’s not much job satisfaction for someone who loves their work but hates the environment they do it in. By looking at culture fit, you’re setting employees up to love both – which can drastically improve the rate of job satisfaction at your company.
4) Company Vision and Goals – By incorporating your company’s vision and goals into your culture, and hiring employees who believe in that culture, you’re actually hiring people who are intrinsically motivated to help your company reach its goals. The best part is you don’t even have to sell them on it – they just get it.
To achieve these sorts of benefits, employees need a high level of emotional intelligence (EI). Individuals with high EI are closely in tune with their personality traits and who they are at the core. They’re aware of what makes them an asset on a team, and they also know where they can improve.
Beyond EI, social intelligence (SI) is another factor that influences team performance and collaboration. High-SI individuals are able to take their personal EI knowledge, as well as their observations of others, and apply this knowledge in a group dynamic. A team with high SI plays off each other’s strengths and mitigates each other’s weaknesses to succeed. Engagement, decision-making, communicating, execution, dealing with change and much more can be more effectively realized when a team uses its social intelligence.
By finding candidates with a strong fit to your organization's culture, you’re hiring people who have personal motivation to help you succeed. Over time, hiring decisions that include an analysis of culture fit can build up teams with a combination of intrinsic motivation and high social intelligence – people who are naturally motivated to help achieve business goals and who are proficient at pushing the whole team forward. Who wouldn’t want an all around winning organization based on an awesome cultural dynamic?