The Science of People

What Is Organizational Culture, Why Do We Need It and How Can We Determine Who Fits with Ours?

At the micro-level, every employee has a unique personality with specific traits that set them apart from others. At the macro-level, a company also has its own personality – an aggregate of all the unique employee personalities that make up the company. This sharing of similar beliefs and values within a company is known as the culture, and an individual that aligns with these is said to have a good culture fit. A strong company culture helps define the organization’s internal and external identity, and an employee that fits with that culture will be more satisfied with their job, more engaged, more productive, and higher performing.

What can predict an individual’s success within a company will not appear on their resume, nor is it related to their work experience. Rather, what companies should pay more attention to is the individual’s natural behavioral style, which will ultimately affect their potential for fit and ability to positively impact the company culture. Due to a lack of tools that can capture and predict natural behavioral tendencies, one of the biggest challenges companies currently face is the ability to define what their culture is and what it means for an individual to ‘fit’.

Research by Graham H. Lowman has found that in order to develop a strong organizational culture, it is best if it aligns with the values and preferences found company wide. This does not mean hiring only one type of person, neither does it mean hiring people based on superficial diversity, but instead deliberately hiring people with different ways of thinking and acting, and with diverse backgrounds – all the while matching on the important organizational values.These behavioral differences are usually hidden, more profound aggregated traits that can be brought to the surface with the help of psychometric tools and data analytics.

Importance of Hiring for Culture Fit

A company culture can be viewed as a strategic asset, aligning the identity of the company with its vision and mission. The main struggle remains finding ways to determine the actual company culture, as well as identifying ways to assess candidates’ profiles for culture fit. Most companies define their culture based on what they think their company identity may be without any substantial objective measures. This kind of methodology lacks proper tools and does not provide any awareness of what needs to change in order to reach a company culture that strongly reflects its aspirational organizational values. Traditional methods do not even offer an accurate non-biased snapshot of the current culture.

Unfortunately, this can then lead to hiring the wrong candidates who do not have a suitable culture fit, who are then likely to demonstrate little interest in the company and provide subpar levels of performance. Without a valid and accurate company culture benchmark with which to assess the cultural fit of candidates, companies are left making decisions with a high degree of uncertainty. In a time when talent is scarce, and hiring and retaining high performers is a priority, this is a crucial area of improvement. With 58% of millennials leaving their job within the first three years, now is the time to place stronger importance on culture and introduce technology to help determine the appropriate organizational culture and assess candidates for culture fit.

How to Integrate Technology when Hiring for Culture Fit

The good news is, emerging technologies in the world of HR Tech are helping to remedy this problem with the use of powerful psychometric assessments and data analytics – providing companies with accurate culture fit information. The best way to introduce culture fit assessments during the recruitment process is with the use of a predictive behavior assessment tool during the preselection stage. Ideally, the use of an assessment tool as a preselection method should be done using a technology platform that will help track, monitor and compile data to facilitate the analysis.

To define the culture of a company and determine the culture fit of candidates, all employees within the company can be tested and a pattern of genuine shared company behaviours can be observed. Conversely, characteristics of employees that have a lower cultural fit can also be identified at this stage. With this information, the alignment between current behaviors and desired behaviors can be assessed. Finally, a predictive benchmark blending actual and aspirational behaviors can be created which will determine what to look for when hiring for culture fit, strategically pulling the company towards where it wants to be while respecting its current identity.

To summarize, a strong organizational culture plays a big role in company and employee success. Hiring for culture fit with the use of a science-based assessment tool will provide you with the necessary information to determine your actual and aspirational company culture and will help you find a candidate that will strongly match with the company and perform at a high level. When the candidate fits not only the role but the company culture as well, you create perfect alignment with what that person needs, all the while contributing to employee engagement, satisfaction, and retention.

Given the obvious importance of organizational culture, companies must find the right technology to help them accurately determine their company culture and screen candidates for culture fit.

Find out how SuccessFinder can help you define and build a strong culture as well as hire for culture fit:

  • A unique data-driven, science-based approach
  • Interactive tools for organizations and individuals
  • Dashboards for people analytics at the organizational level
  • Seamless integration with other SuccessFinder solutions

Author: Anna Szymanowicz, SuccessFinder Consultant, Client Solutions

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