Employer Branding

3 Reasons Cultural Fit is Important in the Workplace

It is often said that firms want to recruit people with the right attitude and work ethic rather than just a glowing CV. While knowledge of the job is essential, key skills can be learned in-house, particularly at a junior level. But how easy is it to find someone who is the right cultural fit for your business? It comes down to building relationships.

Imagine a workplace where the most experienced team members are approaching retirement age? Now imagine if at the same time a cohort of 30-somethings, have reached the point where they are leaving for pastures? As well as losing key skills, an employer will also be faced with finding replacements for those who not only upheld the company ethos, but also played a role in shaping it.

1. Invest in hiring for the long game

When it comes to new appointments, employers are now going to great lengths to find someone who is a good cultural fit. Many candidates look ideal on paper, but only a handful will be capable of integrating with the team and working to achieve the business’ objectives. Get it wrong and in all likelihood, the new starter will resign after six months, leaving managers with the headache, not to mention cost, of filling the role again.

This is one of the reasons why recruitment consultants should play the long game, taking time to nurture relationships with their clients and uncover what really makes their candidate tick. All too often, chasing a quick win leads to people being placed in an unsuitable position, and this one of the main reasons why talent pipe-lining using psychometric assessments is so valuable.

2. Focusing on softer skills

The process is designed to highlight a person’s soft skills so that a prospective employer can make a judgement before interviewing them. Assessments can show, for example, how proactive someone is, whether they are supportive towards others and how well they respond to training. An added benefit is that it also breaks down the idea that cultural fit should be based on factors like qualifications or work experience, and focuses on values and capabilities instead.

For employers, the results of psychometrics often form the basis for the interview itself and they can ask questions to gauge whether a candidate’s outlook is aligned with that of the company. The interview is an opportunity to see how someone interacts with others, and whether they can respond well under pressure – and it is the recruiter’s job to ensure that only those who display the desired behaviours reach the next stage.

3. Establishing the values

Interviews are, of course, the time when employers can really find out whether someone is a good match for their team. Hobbies and personal interests are usually a good indicator of personality, for example, if someone talks about their voluntary work, chances are they are friendly and work well with others. Similarly, a keen sports player may demonstrate the resilience and teamwork needed to drive a department forward. Certainly within our own team at Macildowie, we embrace the values that sports foster, including delivering under pressure and being the best you can be.

Finding the right cultural fit is one of the best ways of reducing staff turnover, however a long recruitment process is not always possible. Faced with a skills gap left by experienced team members, employers may need to take on a person who can simply ‘do the job’ in the short-term, even if they do not stay. In these cases, it’s also worth thinking about whether a temp or interim candidate could be a better option.

Inevitably, employers need to balance the operational and financial needs of the business, and may not always have the luxury of spending many weeks conducting interviews. This is why recruitment consultants should always have a thorough grasp of what a client needs, and ensure they find a candidate who will not only fit in but also possess the tools to be a long-term success.

About the Author: James Taylor is the managing director of recruitment consultancy Macildowie.

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