Culture fit is defined as having shared and aligned values and mission in the workplace. From an employee perspective, it’s when the employee’s attitude, behaviors and personality are consistent with the company’s mission.
Cultural fit is exhibited in many ways including: (i) language and communication, (ii) work ethic, (iii) integration of your work with your lifestyle, and (iv) understanding how decisions are made and how roles, responsibility, and accountability are distributed in the company.
Company culture and culture fit have been a hot topic for the last several years. In this article, we answer some common questions regarding culture fit.
1) Does cultural fit matter?
For most organizations, yes – culture fit does matter. When you bring a new hire into your company, you want that hire to be a long-lasting, valuable employee within your organization. Remember that you can always provide the resources and tools to help employees get better at their jobs, but it’s much harder to teach someone to align with your cultural values. It’s extremely difficult to succeed in any environment where you don’t share the values of the people and organization you work with. For example, being a vegan in a meat packing company will probably be difficult if you ethically disagree with people eating meat. In the corporate world, clocking out every day at 4 PM while your co-workers are used to working late nights may make it hard to relate to the company’s and coworker’s sense of hustle.
2) Is it important that a new hire fits into company culture?
This answer will depend on the organization, but there is a strong correlation between company culture and success. A survey by Deloitte found that 94% of executives and 88% of employees believe a distinct workplace culture is important to business success. Moreover, companies with strong cultures can see up to 4x increase in revenue growth.
It is also worth remembering that it is not only the employer that is assessing whether a potential hire is right for the company, but the applicant also regularly assesses whether they would be a good fit. Approximately 35% of American workers say they would pass on the perfect job if they felt the company culture wasn’t a good fit.
“Your personal core values define who you are, and a company’s core values ultimately define the company’s character and brand. For individuals, character is destiny. For organizations, culture is destiny.” Tony Hsieh, CEO of Zappos
3) Can company culture change?
Yes, company cultural shifts often come from the top-down (e.g., through mergers and acquisitions or through new management). One important point to note is that when a company culture has already been established, people must unlearn the old values and behaviors before they can learn the new ones. It is more difficult to change the culture of an existing company than to create a culture in an early-stage organization. However, company culture can be improved – check out our article on building a strong company culture for more details.
If you are expecting a culture shift, make sure to check out our podcast on managing people through change initiatives.
4) How to know if an employee is not a good fit to your company culture?
An employee’s degree of job satisfaction and comfort as well as the degree of control they have over their future in the workplace can be a good determinant of cultural fit. If an employee is not happy in their job, there is a chance that culture fit may play a role. Having continuous feedback conversations (and documenting the feedback) to determine the cause of this dissatisfaction can help pin point the root cause. Feedback conversations are also great to remind employees of the company’s values, objectives, and how their individual work fits into the company strategies.
5) Is culture fit just a way to be biased to who you hire?
It is important to remember what culture fit is not. Hiring for culture fit does not mean overlooking different cultures and lifestyles, or dismissing personal values you don’t agree with. Gender, color, religious orientation, or educational background does not fit into the equation of culture fit. Hiring for culture fit comes down to making sure employees treat coworkers with the respect that your company values, and/or mirrors your organization’s work ethic.
Do you have any questions you would like us to answer? Let us know!