When you hire a new member of staff, you’ll look at their qualifications, skillset, personality, work history, experience and suitability for the job. You might assess how likely they are to fit in too, and this may be done consciously on your part or even sub-consciously. It’s that last part which is in essence cultural fit – how well an individual’s beliefs and values match the vision, goals and ethos of your organisation.

It may not explicitly form part of your recruitment process just yet, but it should. Making a conscientious effort to hire for cultural fit can bring real benefits to your business and you only want to take on those people whose ideals match with yours. Hiring someone who is highly talented and skilled but doesn’t speak the same cultural language or have the same beliefs as your company can be bad for business and lead to increased staff turnover. Worse still, it can leave your existing teams wondering what on earth HR or senior management is doing and it can weaken trust generally amongst your staff if every new hire leaves within months of joining the firm.

However, hiring for cultural fit isn’t about hiring all the same people and reducing diversity in your organisation, far from it. You will come across candidates from vastly different backgrounds who share the same purpose as your organisation does. According to one survey of 20,000 hiring managers, 46% of all new hires fail within 18 months and 89% of those fails were due to attitude or personality issues. And of those hiring managers, 82% admitted in hindsight there were subtle clues during the interview process, but they didn’t heed them, either because of other pressures, lack of time or lack of confidence in their interview skills.

Given the potential for staff attrition, it’s not surprising more businesses are taking note of the effects of cultural fit and actively incorporating it into the recruitment process. Defining your company culture is the first step to it, followed by working out how that culture fits within into the role you’re interviewing for.

How a candidate interacts during interview stage, the questions you ask, discussing the values you hold important and the way they have approached past work situations can give you a really good idea if they’re going to be right for you.

Better understanding of business goals

By defining your company culture, vision and goals and letting staff know what it is you’ll be able to hire new members who fit in with those beliefs. The advantage of this is they get it and what you’re about. As a result, they are more invested and motivated to help you achieve your company’s goals.

By hiring people of a similar mind set you can build up a team over time which is cohesive and works well together towards the common goals you originally set.

Becoming brand ambassadors

By hiring staff who fit in with your culture you create your own brand ambassadors. They don’t just work for the business, they really believe in it and what it is trying to achieve. As a result, they’ll be more inclined to represent it exactly how you want and to sing its praises.

If your company has a particular culture but the staff your hire think and act in a different way it can create friction between the business and your key stakeholders. But if they fit with the culture it can create a powerful brand name which ultimately leads to more positivity and efficiency in and around the business.

Increased employee retention

It’s not rocket science – if an employee feels happy where they work and like they belong they are less likely to change the situation and look for a job elsewhere. And lower employee turnover rates generally lead to lower recruitment costs for your business.

Greater employee motivation

The joy of working in a positive environment where they feel happy and settled is likely to lead to increased motivation from your staff. Higher motivation leads to greater productivity and is beneficial to your business.

Reduced employee stress and increased performance

Stress can affect different areas of an employee’s life leading to difficulty socialising or integrating with other workers and reduced performance. For example, if your company encourages team working and collaboration, hiring someone who prefers to work alone is going to be a tough sell. Not only will it impact on the team culture overall, but that staff member will feel stressed and more isolated which can adversely affect productivity.

Finding new hires with the right cultural fit takes time but it is worth the effort. There can be a temptation to hire fast, particularly if other companies are circulating and the person is in high demand. But just because they are talented and interview went well doesn’t mean they are right for your business. Assessing them for cultural fit should be part of your recruitment process or it could cost your business dearly.

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