Company Culture Should Drive Your Hiring Decisions

A great team is like an eight-man crew boat – it moves smoothly along when the rowers are coordinated and  moving in the same direction. Trouble begins when one rower wants to go in a different direction. That rower may not be a 'good fit' for the team.

That’s a phrase you hear quite often in staffing: “She just wasn’t a good fit.”  Hiring candidates who “aren’t a good fit” can end up costing your company. According to the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM), turnover resulting from a poor cultural fit can cost an organization between 50-60% of the person’s annual salary. Not to mention the time that went into reviewing resumes, interviewing and training.

Understanding Culture

When making hiring decisions, a key element is finding someone who will be happy and work well within your organization. How do you accomplish this? You need to understand your company’s culture, which isn’t always easy to define.

Team culture is not easily planned; it develops on its own over time. Management sets the direction and the drivers that will shape the culture. Charitable initiatives, rewards for achievement, promoting from within, open door policies and flexible hours are all management driven, but the company's culture and personality will stem from hiring decisions.

Management Style

Do most of your managers tend to be hands-on? Do they want to be kept in the loop at all times or do they give employees room to make their own decisions? Managers who empower employees to make decisions find, over time, that they’ve built a team of self-directed people. Promoting collaboration builds a team that works well together.

If you implement iron-clad rules about tardiness and personal time off, you’re likely to have a team of people who are comfortable working within a strict set of parameters. When your team members are close-knit, friendly and often meet for social happy hours or other activities after work, you’ll need to recruit candidates that are extroverted, sociable and friendly.

Hiring someone outside your company’s team environment can create unrest, tension and turnover, so be sure to consider how your management team leads and how that translates to employee culture.

Cultural Alignment and Diversity

Don’t make the mistake of using cultural fit as an excuse to hire clones or throw diversity out the window. You’ll want to hire different thinkers and change makers who can work well together and provide balance to the group. Diversity helps foster growth and new ideas within businesses. However, employees with drastically different work styles can end up working against your cultural flow.

Recruiting for Culture

Once you understand how your team works and the overall culture of your business, recruiting becomes easier. According to the Harvard Business Review’s “Recruiting for Cultural Fit” by Katie Bouton, these questions will help assess culture fit during an interview:

  • What type of culture do you thrive in? – Make sure the response reflects your organizational culture. 
  • What values are you drawn to?
  • What is your ideal workplace?
  • Why do you want to work here?
  • How would you describe our culture based on what you’ve seen? Is this something that works for you?
  • What best practices would you bring with you from another organization? Do you see yourself being able to implement these best practices in our environment?
  • Tell me about a time when you worked with an organization where you felt you were not a strong cultural fit. Why was it a bad fit?

Utilize these questions to understand how candidates prefer to work and if they would mesh well with your team.

All in all, you will drive better performance if you have a well-rounded team that works well together and understands the common goal they are working towards. 

Posted by Dan Weddle at 9:18 AM
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