What Is Culture Fit?
Cultural fit is not actually as complicated as the concept of culture itself (there are over 150 different definitions of culture because it is a multi-levelled concept). The cultural fit is actually scientifically called Person-Organisation (PO) fit and there is a tonne of research related to it. It is defined as the value congruence between individual and organisational values. The PO fit has been found to have a beneficial effect on the organisation and its employees; it increases:
- Employee engagement
- Job satisfaction
- Organisational commitment
- Employee wellbeing
Some believe that culture fit is a pointless ethos that adds little value – but Macawly disagrees. It is a common misconception that culture fit decreases diversity within a workplace. However, people who share the same values and purpose do not necessarily all look or think the same. If the culture fit is assessed using psychometric tests it allows for more objective and bias-free judgement.
Why is it so Powerful?
Creation of the PO fit creates mutual benefits for everyone involved. The main reason for above benefits stems from the experience of self-fulfilment of employees at work. Being able to relate their own values and motivations with those of an organisation helps them to satisfy their intrinsic needs, such as relatedness. As a result employees are more motivated and capable to invest more energy to improve performance. But most importantly, employees become more engaged, committed, and simply happy. We don’t really need scientists to explain it because it is an intuitive knowledge that most people should be familiar with. The fact that employees invest more energy into their work improves their skillset and ability to learn and develop, which in turn helps employers with narrowing down the ever-increasing skills gap in almost every industry.
Intensity & Scope
The real question is how do we know what values to watch out for when recruiting for the cultural fit. The answer can be explained within two dimensions: intensity and scope.
The intensity dimension indicates the level of importance of a certain value at the organisation. It defines how deeply ingrained a value is. When recruiting for cultural fit it is best to determine the value congruence based on the values held with the most intensity because they are most likely to stay constant as the business develops. New employees that fit the core values will remain motivated and attracted to the organisation for a long time as the core values are slow changing. Recruiting for temporary values that relate to a climate rather than the real culture creating short-term fit, which might result in drop of the employee performance once values change. Therefore, it is important for the business to know what the core values are and be able to define them in a way that is unique to the organisation.
The scope simply indicates how many values the congruence has occurred for. PO fit relating only to a portion of values might lead to value conflict with remaining values that were not considered in the recruitment process.
Example of Culture Fit
I worked with an organisation that shared with me a recruitment experience that nicely reflects the importance of the scope and intensity of the culture fit. Company X had 3 core values:
- Hard Work,
They were recruiting a new director and found an individual with an amazing CV (let’s call him Sam). Sam’s culture fit assessment in the recruitment process showed that he was Result-Focused and Hard Working. The individual had been previously working with a larger organisation within the same industry. The management was amazed and hired him straight away. As it later turned out, even though he was result-driven and work working, he was not collaborative. Management soon realised that Sam was extremely self-centred. He would not listen to the advice of his colleagues and would work in separation from others.
The lack of collaboration in a highly collaborative environment led to a failure in the delivery of a big project. Unfortunately, after a few months the management had to let him go. As a result, the organisation had to not only start the recruitment process again, but also experienced a drop in performance, workforce morale and suffered failed projects.
In the above example we can clearly see that even the brightest individuals will become poor performers if they do not relate their own values to the working environment. Sam, whose scope of the culture fit for the highest intensity value of Collaboration was limited. He was on the opposite spectrum of Collaboration, which lead to a conflict that lead to a business failure.
It is extremely important to consider those two dimensions of intensity and scope of organisational values when recruiting for cultural fit. Turning a blind eye to only one of the core values might not seem relevant but in reality the fit across the whole scope of the values held with the most intensity is highly advisable to avoid bad hires. When working with Macawly, we make sure that all the core values held with the most intensity are identified at your organisation. We also supply an easy-to-follow assessment criteria designed to determine the scope of the value fit to make sure you never have to experience a bad hire and only recruit the best talent.