What Culture Fit Really Means

4 min read
Sep 6, 2016

Organizational cultureIt’s quite common these days to hear about the importance of hiring for organizational culture fit, and for good reason.

For starters, not hiring for culture fit can cost organizations upwards of 60% of the given employee’s salary — according to the Society of Human Resource Management — when they invariably stop working at the company. Beyond that, workers who fit in with their companies’ cultures are more likely to stick around than their peers who are outsiders.


The Definition of Culture Fit

But it’s one thing to talk about hiring for culture fit. It’s quite another to actually know what culture fit means. So first, let’s start with a definition from Harvard Business Review:

  • Cultural fit is the likelihood that someone will reflect and/or be able to adapt to the core beliefs, attitudes, and behaviors that make up your organization.

Your employees are your company’s biggest asset. Without them, it’s impossible to create great products and offer your customers top-notch service.

That being the case, its essential that you hire for culture fit up front. The last thing you want is to spend a ton of time and resources hiring an employee who simply doesn’t agree with your organizational values — particularly when you can get a good idea as to whether they’re a culture fit before extending an offer in the first place. All you need to do is ask direct questions or give them personality tests.

Culture fit is so important that, as this TechTarget article points out, some human resource representatives even suggest that hiring managers extend offers to candidates who fit in with company culture — even if they lack that 10 years of experience required for the job role.

So what exactly does hiring for culture fit mean? Companies only extend offers to candidates who are likely to get along with their peers, embrace company values, and thrive in their new roles.

Culture fit


Coworkers Get Along With Coworkers

Hiring for culture fit is more likely to produce work friendships. And that’s not something to scoff at, particularly since the number one thing employees like about their jobs is their coworkers, according to our Engagement Report.

When employees have even one friend at work, they’re more likely to be happy with their jobs — which means they’re less likely to jump ship and seek employment somewhere else. This is great too because, as stated above, it costs a ton of money to replace employees.

Think about your own work situation. Nobody wants to show up to a workplace every day where they don’t get along with anyone. By hiring for culture fit — and thereby ensuring your employees share the same values — you virtually eliminate the possibility that your workplace will become that way for any of your employees.


Employees Fit in With Organizational Values

Why do companies spend time putting together a list of organizational values in the first place?

Quite simply, these values reflect the business’s identity. They also help guide decision-making processes, attract top talent, and give the public a clear view of what a company is all about.

When you hire for culture fit, you drastically increase the chances that your new employees will live and breathe your organizational values. In turn, this makes it much easier for businesses to achieve their goals. Instead of having to proverbially herd cats that are moving in 100 different directions, employees who fit in culturally with your company already share your organization’s values — which means they are much more likely to move in the same general direction.

The end result of all this? It’s a lot easier for a company to meet and exceed its goals.


Team Members Thrive in the Work Environment

Odds are that at some point in your career you worked at jobs that weren’t exactly the most exciting gigs in the world. You’d do what you needed to do to stay employed and earn your paycheck. But if you showed up to work dreading your day — or if you didn’t really believe in what your company was trying to accomplish — chances are you didn’t reach your full potential, or even come close to it.

In order to become the best worker possible, employees need to believe in what they’re doing. They need to show up to work every day with a purpose. They need to feel as though the projects they work on — and the people they work with — matter.

When employees fit in with a company’s culture, work is exciting. They feel as though there’s a sense of purpose to their job — which is important because research has shown that millennials in particular increasingly care more about enjoying what they do than about making a boatload of money.

This positive attitude translates into increased productivity. Since they all get along with one another and share the same guiding principles, employees are much more likely to give each other a hand when help is needed. They’re also more likely to go above and beyond, taking on additional projects or showing initiative by brainstorming new ideas.

millennials in the workplace


Putting Your Organization in a Position to Succeed

Your company has finite resources. If you want to be successful, you need to use those resources as effectively as possible.

Since no one can predict the future, this isnt to say that there’s zero chance a new hire won’t pan out if you hire for culture fit. But keeping culture fit top of mind increases the probability your company will make the right hiring decision — which in turn strengthens both camaraderie and your bottom line.

Why risk hiring someone who doesn’t agree with what your company is setting out to accomplish? At the very least, such an individual could discourage previously engaged employees from giving it their all.

There’s no sense in rolling the dice on any part of the hiring process. By understanding the importance of culture fit and explicitly targeting (and attracting) candidates who fit that mold, your company will become that much stronger. It’s as simple as that.



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