Let’s start by exercising your imagination. It’s early morning; you feel the crisp air carrying a delicious smell of freshly brewed coffee. There are pastries on your plate. The rays of the sun leave a small arrow of light on the kitchen floor. You breathe in the flavors. And now, your workday starts.
How do you feel about it? If you are commuting to work, how do you feel about the place? What are you excited to accomplish today? Who are you excited to see again? Are there any work buddies or friends that you can’t wait to catch up with? What about meetings, workshops, or tasks that jumpstart your creativity?
Our work environment matters to each one of us, albeit in different ways. Not every day is perfect, and we all have our ups and downs, both personally and professionally. But when we think about our daily activity, we should be able to find overall positive aspects. The general tone should feel reassuring and warm. Company culture, or organizational culture, is a part of it.
Organizations are living organisms. Company culture starts with the core values of the company and its founders, but it’s sustained by employees of all levels. The attitudes and behaviors within the organization support the values and beliefs of the company, as well as those of its employees.
The benefits of positive company culture are numerous on both sides:
Increased employee engagement
Higher employee retention
Better overall communication
Stronger company values
Workers today value company culture, sometimes even more than other aspects of a job such as salary or benefits. In fact, millennials are willing to give up an amount of their income as a trade-off for positive company culture. Toxic workplace cultures are not sustainable, their high attrition rates are costly for both the company and the remaining employees. This is why it’s crucial to recruit for cultural fit.
What is cultural fit?
A quite intuitive term, “cultural fit” refers to a job candidate compatible with the workplace culture. Someone with a better chance to adapt and bring value to the team. While knowledge and experience are certainly important, so is the personality and the ability to work in a particular social environment.
Here are some tips on how to expand your recruiting practices to find the right cultural fit for your company.
Grow Your Employer Branding
Employer branding is the reputation of a company as an employer. People may hear about a company through its products, services, customer experience, and online presence. Word of mouth is also a great way of understanding what it’s like to work for your company. Stories from current employees, past employees, and people who have interviewed with your recruiting team can travel far.
How your organization is perceived by the outside world can highly influence the potential talent that gravitates towards you. By investing in your employer branding, you can increase your chances of attracting like-minded people with similar beliefs and values.
- Here is how you can grow your employer branding to attract the right cultural fit:
- Build great relationships with your existing employees and turn them into champions of your company.
- Update your website and social media posts to reflect the personality of your company.
- Create interesting job advertisements that will speak to your target audience. Use specific verbiage and add interesting facts that will make the job posting more descriptive.
- Invest in your current company culture to build a strong identity that will be immediately perceived with an outside eye.
- Make sure you are on the same page with your recruitment team, especially if they are an external department.
Encourage Candidates To Understand Your Culture
There is a scenario to consider - you might feel that a candidate is the perfect cultural fit, but do they think the same?
Interview questions tend to focus predominantly on technical abilities. Recruiting specialists and managers ask questions to ascertain the candidate’s skills evaluate their professional potential. The candidate is given tests and asked to solve hypothetical situations directly related to the position. This helps the candidate understand their future role better. When the candidate passes the test and receives the job offer, they receive general information about the company benefits.
This helps the candidate to understand the implications of the role and the financial aspects of working within your organization. But keep in mind that it might not offer all the necessary information about the environment and the atmosphere.Encourage candidates to learn more about your company culture so they can make an informed decision and be certain of their choice.
Company culture can be observed in aspects such as:
Onboarding and training style
General feel of the place (interior design, decorations, atmosphere, snacks, meeting rooms, desk personalization, etc.) Stories, myths and inside jokes
Interactions between colleagues
Learning and growth possibilities
Team building activities, breaks, and other types of recreational fun
Since it might be difficult for a candidate to address these topics, make sure you include this information in your pitch. Show them around the office and let them know that they are encouraged to raise any questions about how things are done
Promote Diversity In The Workplace
Company culture can be used as an excuse to perpetuate biases, unwillingly or even intentionally. Certain words or phrase might exclude categories of people and lessen their chances of success. But recruiting for cultural fit doesn’t exclude diversity. In fact, it encourages it. Cultural fit doesn’t mean to find look-alikes, but to find people that complement and enrich the current dynamic.
Stay away from elitism and promote diversity in your teams. We all come from different backgrounds, people bringing their own perspectives and interests adds value to the culture.
Let’s think of the following example. Candidate X is an avid game enthusiast and a fan of geek culture. As a person who enjoys most of their time enjoying solitary activities, they might be found by some recruiter unfit for an energetic, aggressively social environment. However, this might not be the case.
Candidate X might surprise by bringing board games to team buildings and lifting the spirits with anecdotes. They might bring a bit of healthy competition to the table. If other values are aligned with your company’s culture, they shouldn’t be dismissed just because they don’t present themselves and socially active.
Another great example is age. Age bias can be encountered in the youth-oriented corporate world and it can be a loss on both sides. Candidates of different generations can still have compatible interests and they can complement each other. Just applying to the position tells us that they share a similar interest with their younger colleagues.
Consider Both Micro and Macro Levels
When you assess the compatibility of a candidate, consider the workplace culture at different levels. To make sure that a new candidate will fit within the organization, make sure they are a proper fit not only for the company but for the department and the team that will welcome them. It’s important to have a cohesive company culture, yet not all departments function the same way.
These differences can be caused not by their values and personalities, but by the nature of the jobs. For example, a team of developers might be more laid back and work independently, while the Marketing or HR departments can be cross-functional and more socially involved. A Quality Assurance department could focus on precise tasks and procedures, while the creative roles will have fewer restrictions and more flexibility.
As you recruit someone new, facilitate a meeting with their future team so both sides can evaluate if they will fit in well with the team dynamic.
Cultural Fit Questions To Ask During Recruitment
Recruiting for the right cultural fit requires knowledge and understanding of the workplace culture and its values. It also requires quite a bit of intuition. Knowing people is a skill that must be perpetually developed, adapted, and re-evaluated.
However, there are cultural fit questions that can help us in the decision-making process.
Here are some examples:
What drove you to choose the previous positions?
What was your role in the team and how did it grow over the time spent with the previous company?
What activities were you in charge of and how did you coordinate them?
Do you have any good friends in your current workplace?
Describe the main values of your current company culture. (follow up) Why are they important for you?
What about our website and job posting spoke to you?
For which tasks do you prefer to work in a team and for which tasks would you find it more suitable to work by yourself?
What is your learning process?
How did you spend your last vacation? (follow up) If finances weren't an issue, what would be the ideal vacation for you?
Describe a great experience with your job and a not-so-great interaction (interesting or amusing anecdotes are encouraged).
We can help you design better experiences for your people and grow your company culture. Get in touch and let’s start the conversation.