Decoding the Culture Fit: A Guide to Informed HiringNatalie
“Think about culture fit when hiring candidates for your business.”
Too many HR people give this advice to their clients without really knowing what it means.
In the HR landscape today, it’s all too common to see professionals dishing out advice about company culture without truly understanding its depth and complexity. They throw around buzzwords like ‘culture fit’, ‘company ethos’, and ‘values alignment’ as if these terms were merely checkboxes on a hiring form, rather than crucial elements that can shape the entire trajectory of a business.
The truth is, understanding and advising on company culture is not something one masters overnight. It requires years of immersion in culture creation and change to truly appreciate the impact and significance of these concepts. It requires first-hand experience, a nuanced understanding of people and processes, and the ability to foresee the ripple effects that a cultural shift can cause in a company’s ecosystem.
This is where my decade-long experience in the field comes in. Having navigated the intricacies of culture creation and transformation, I have witnessed how it can make or break a business. Unlike those who’ve merely skimmed the surface of these concepts, my in-depth experience allows me to guide clients not only in understanding these buzzwords but in embedding them meaningfully into their businesses. It’s not about jumping on a bandwagon—it’s about leveraging culture as a powerful tool for business success.
Culture Fit doesn’t mean hiring people who are all the same
First, let’s get this straight: when we talk about culture fit, we aren’t talking about hiring people who are all the same. This isn’t about creating an echo chamber where everyone dresses alike, thinks alike, and drones on about the same topics in the kitchen whilst making a brew. It’s not about seeking out cookie-cutter candidates who mirror your current workforce.
Instead, culture fit is about aligning on values and attitudes. It’s about how potential employees work, how they interact with others, and how their approach aligns with the overall ethos and objectives of your company.
Think of your business as a high-performance sports car, and your employees as the engine components. Each part is unique, playing a different role, but they all need to function in harmony for the car to perform at its best. Similarly, you need a team with diverse skills and experiences, who can work together seamlessly towards a shared vision.
How to assess for culture fit
Here are some points to consider when assessing culture fit:
- Values Alignment: Does the candidate share the core values that your company upholds? If your company prioritises innovation, does the candidate demonstrate creativity and a willingness to try new things? If teamwork is a pillar of your culture, is the candidate a natural collaborator or do they thrive on solo work?
- Adaptability: In small businesses, especially, roles can change and evolve. Does your candidate demonstrate adaptability and a willingness to step outside their comfort zone? A high culture-fit employee can wear many hats and grow with the business.
- Drive for Success: Is the candidate merely looking for a job, or are they excited about the role and your business? Someone who shows a genuine interest in what your company does and has a drive to contribute to its success is likely to be a good culture fit.
- Communication Style: Every business has its own communication style. Some prefer a formal, hierarchical approach, while others thrive on open, informal communication. Does the candidate’s communication style match your company’s approach?
Hiring for culture fit doesn’t mean compromising on skills or qualifications
Remember, hiring for culture fit doesn’t mean compromising on skills or qualifications. It’s about striking the right balance. A candidate might be the most talented in their field, but if they don’t gel with your team or align with your company values, their potential contribution can be drastically reduced.
Moreover, a lack of culture fit can lead to increased staff turnover. Employees who don’t fit in are often less satisfied and less productive, and more likely to leave the company. This can cost your business significantly, both in terms of direct costs like recruitment and training, and indirect costs like lost productivity and decreased morale.
So, small business owners, it’s time to take the idea of “culture fit” seriously. Look beyond the CV and take the time to evaluate how candidates align with your company’s culture and values. This doesn’t mean you should shy away from diversity—far from it. A diverse team brings a wider range of perspectives, experiences, and ideas, which is invaluable for business growth and innovation.
But by considering culture fit alongside skills and experience, you can build a team that doesn’t just look good on paper but performs brilliantly in practice. After all, a team that works well together is a team that wins together.
I’d love to talk to you more about your company culture. Click here if that sounds up your street.