Hiring for Culture Fit: Finding and Growing Talent

by | Last updated May 26, 2022 | 0 comments

Hiring and retaining top talent is one of the biggest challenges for organisations. Great candidates are often fielding multiple offers simultaneously—and even when they accept your job offer, they’re likely to get poached by competitors. To prevent that from happening, one of the tactics organisations can deploy is to hire for culture fit.

Hiring for culture fit has been contested for a long time. There are those who say that hiring for culture fit can lead to discrimination whilst others argue that culture fit is the most crucial consideration when recruiting; after all, skills can be taught, but aptitude and attitude cannot.

Let’s start by defining what culture fit is.

What Is a Culture Fit?

Simply put, culture fit is when the employee’s beliefs, behaviours, and values are in alignment with an organisation’s values and corporate culture. Finding employees whose values match your organisation’s can lead to higher job satisfaction, employee engagement, and productivity—ultimately leading to greater organisational success.

Culture fit isn’t about hiring people with extroverted, fun personality types or from certain backgrounds. Hiring for culture fit shouldn’t in any way undermine efforts to increase workplace diversity. It’s about attracting, identifying, and hiring people whose values match your organisation’s, regardless of their personality type and background.

“Finding employees whose values match your organisation’s can lead to higher job satisfaction, employee engagement, and productivity—ultimately leading to greater organisational success.”

Why Is Culture Fit Important?

Having a culture fit is important for both organisations and their employees. In a Glassdoor survey, 77% of respondents said that a company’s culture was one of the things they consider when applying for a job.

Furthermore, 73% said that they wouldn’t apply for a position unless the organisation’s values align with their own. This shows that job applicants are already evaluating whether they fit into your corporate culture and 56% of respondents said that culture trumps salary when it comes to job satisfaction.

Organisations and recruiters also understand the value of hiring for culture fit. “I have hired based on attitude and skill in the past and I must say attitude wins every time,” says Bev Parekh, a recruitment team leader, in an article on LinkedIn. “While talented employees may possess the ability to pick up new skills with ease, it doesn’t follow that they will always make the effort.”

Hiring someone who is highly skilled but not aligned with your company’s culture and values can be detrimental to both the individual and the organisation. They are more likely to be unhappy with their job, leading to low employee retention.

With the cost of replacing an employee estimated to be one-half to two times the position’s annual salary, every organisation must strive for a low employee turnover rate.

“Hiring someone who is highly skilled but not aligned with your company’s culture and values can be detrimental to both the individual and the organisation. They are more likely to be unhappy with their job, leading to low employee retention.”

Also read: How Having the Right Talent and Culture Enables Transformation

Top Tips for Hiring a Culture Fit for Your Organisation

Identifying the right cultural fit among a set of high-quality candidates can be tough—especially without the right processes in place. Here are some key tips to help you narrow down your list of candidates to find the perfect fit for your corporate culture.

Define Your Company Culture and Build a Strong Employer Brand

company culture chalkboard

You can’t hire a culture fit if you don’t have a clearly defined company culture. Take a moment to think about your company culture. Which values, norms, and practices define your organisation?

If you don’t have a clearly defined culture, a good place to start is by asking your current employees. How would they define your company culture? And don’t just ask the managers—go into the trenches and interview employees at different levels. Using their responses, you can identify the similarities and disconnects.

With a well-defined culture, you can build a strong employer brand that’s attractive to top talent in your industry. A stellar brand will do the heavy lifting for you when it comes to attracting and retaining the right culture fit.

“If you don’t have a clearly defined culture, a good place to start is by asking your current employees. How would they define your company culture? And don’t just ask the managers—go into the trenches and interview employees at different levels.”

To be a strong employer brand, you need to cultivate an environment that’s attractive to top talent. The ideal workplace environment that will help you draw the right culture fit consists of:

  • Helping employees grow professionally
  • Supporting a good work-life balance
  • Valuing employees and their families
  • Showing trust and reliability

Strive to develop these values over time. The bottom line here is that to attract and retain employees who are a culture fit, you should start by creating a compelling company culture.

Get Creative with Your Job Descriptions

job descriptions

Your job ads should leave a lasting, positive impression. A good job ad should not only tell applicants exactly what you’re looking for but it should also be carefully crafted to attract the right culture fit for your workplace.

The usual straightforward job description doesn’t cut it when looking for a cultural fit. To optimise your job descriptions, use vocabulary and tone that will help you connect with like-minded individuals.

For instance, an organisation looking for an editor can use phrases such as “you’re a grammar nut, your friends say you’re a perfectionist, you’re so high attention-to-detail that anything off gets on your nerves.”

Some people might be put off by such descriptions—they’re not the right cultural fit. But there are others who will see it and say “That’s me! This company sounds awesome.” Those are the people you want to hire.

Also read: Correctly Identifying Stakeholders Will Lead to Change Success

Update Your Interview Process

interviewing a job applicant

The interviewing process plays a significant role in identifying and hiring a culture fit for your organisation. Interviews bring you and the candidates together, giving you a chance to evaluate each other more closely.

You want to show candidates that you respect them and their time. Having an overly lengthy interview process can be off-putting to many candidates. It’s crucial to ask the right questions to get a feel who the candidate is and how well they fit into your company culture.

Using open-ended behavioural questions that delve into competencies that you can’t train for is highly recommended. For instance, you can’t train someone to be a self-starter, but you can train them in planning.

Also read: 5 Key competencies of an effective change manager

Invest In and Streamline Your Onboarding Process

onboarding a new hire

Did you know that 20% of employees make their exit within their first 45 days on the job? One of the main reasons for this is due to a poor onboarding process. When new hires aren’t properly guided and supported, they can quickly start feeling lost and dissatisfied. If they were considering other offers, they’re likely to leave before they make any significant contribution to your organisation.

Successful onboarding goes way beyond signing forms and office tours. The goal is to welcome new hires warmly and help them blend in with the rest of the team. Here are some helpful tips for onboarding new employees:

  • Develop robust onboarding processes: Make sure that your organisation has a well-developed organisational onboarding process—with all relevant stakeholders taking an active role in its execution. If needed, develop training sessions for managers and supervisors and implement onboarding checklists.
  • Communicate culture every step of the way: Every step of the onboarding process should communicate the organisational culture. Everything from basic health and safety standards to unique mission statements can be an opportunity to emphasise your company culture.Take time to share with the new hire about what makes your company unique and what your values are.
  • Support new hires: Being a new employee can be stressful. Make the effort to welcome new employees warmly. Once you’ve hired an employee, ask the hiring manager to call and congratulate them—which sets a positive tone. You could also send them a welcome gift package. To help them navigate their first week, provide them with an itinerary that includes tasks to complete and people to meet. It should detail where and when. Let them know who they can go to whenever they have questions or challenges.
  • Announce the new hire to your team beforehand: Surprising your team with a new hire without a proper introduction beforehand can backfire. Send out an introductory email with a short bio and a link to the new employee’s LinkedIn profile.

Optimise Your Hiring Process with Cedar Africa Group

Attracting, finding, and hiring for culture fit is only one half of the equation. To build a truly formidable brand with a strong company culture, you have to keep cultivating relationships with team members and giving them room and opportunity to grow and thrive.

Contact us at Cedar Africa Group today and get started on building and developing your dream team.

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