’Cultural fit’ has been a buzz phrase on the recruitment circuit for a few years. With evidence showing happy employees spell better returns, satisfied customers and stronger outcomes, there’s no surprise it now ranks as a deal-breaker in the hiring process for some 80% of organisations - my own included.
In a bid to create the elusive ‘social and psychological environment’ that will pave the way for success, we see all manner of ploys and strategies. Whether it’s a Google-style slide and snooze room or hiring ‘people culture managers’ (yes… really), every man and his dog now claims to hold the key to a successful ‘culture’. We want innovation! We want collaboration! Great, stick in a weekly team yoga class and the next Google Glass will land in our laps. Right?
Wrong. Because we’re forgetting that, like a stubborn teenager, your business won’t be forced into being something it isn’t. Cultures evolve over time - they can be supported or guided, but they won’t be created with a few choice decisions over office décor. Most importantly, they start with the people we employ.
The approach of many hiring gatekeepers is to look for people who are the right “fit”. Someone we can see ourselves down the pub with. The danger is, this becomes a judgement based on personal fit for that individual; not finding someone in line with organisational values.
One client of mine confessed to championing this minion-approach to hiring. “It’s my company, my ideals, and I’m successful. So when I set out to create my company culture, surely I want people like me? Turns out, the answer is no. I really can’t stand working with myself.”
Simply put, homogeneity breeds failure. We already recognise that it takes multiple skill sets to function: the same is true for the multiple personalities it takes to breed a great culture.
To achieve cultural utopia, we need to stop making recruitment a one-man show. Committee and peer-based hiring may be considered a bit ‘out there’, but a multifaceted process is far more likely to reap rewards. Cultural fit isn’t about hiring multiple versions of the same person. It’s about finding that right mix of diversity with a consensus on the core values that really matter. It’s acceptance that we do have to work with people we don’t like. When you get that right, you’ll have a truly fitting business culture.