The importance of cultural fit and getting it right

The importance of cultural fit and getting it right
Published: 20 February 2020

If you’re anything like the majority of employees, you’ll know how important it is not only for your professional development, but perhaps more significantly, for your own wellbeing to work somewhere where your values tie in with those of your employer. In fact, research from LinkedIn showed that 71 per cent of employees would be happy to take a pay cut if it meant that they could work for an organisation that mirrored their own values.

‘Cultural fit’ is a term often mistakenly used to describe a homogenous workforce, where everyone is the same and hiring managers hire people similar to themselves. The result? Stifled creativity and an uphill struggle when it comes to innovation.

I’d be hard-pressed to think of anyone who would profess that this type of environment ties in with their own values. Instead, we’d most likely describe our ideal organisation as being one that empowers its people by giving them a voice, recognises the individual contributions that make the business a success, and understands that true diversity lays the path to a sustainable future.

 We are increasingly hearing about the importance of diversity and inclusion, but there are plenty of companies that are still getting it wrong and it’s these companies that will find themselves sitting on a ticking time bomb.

To get cultural fit right, you need to consider your own values. Values are like a compass, guiding you in the right direction to make important decisions that align with your own personal belief system. Think about what’s truly important to you:

  • Is it the opportunity for growth? If so, you’ll need to make sure your new employer is one that can offer that scope for development. You could look at the company accounts for a track record of success and ask connections who already work there what opportunities are available. You might want to ask questions at interview to assess whether the organisation is actively committed to diversity and inclusion, for those are the organisations that are likely to be able to provide opportunities for personal growth in the long term, alongside the organic growth of the organisation.
  • Is it important to work for a company that puts the customer at the heart of everything it does? For many, this is fundamental in the decision-making process. If the organisation is truly customer-centric, then you will already know you’re joining a business which values their employees.  It’s a simple equation – to keep customers happy, you need an engaged workforce. To keep your workforce engaged, you need to treat them well, offer opportunities for growth, and respect their contribution and opinions. A happy workforce equals happy customers.  
  • If getting along with the people you work with is an important consideration, perhaps reflect on whether communication is a strength of the organisation. As Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. famously said, “People fail to get along because they fear each other. They fear each other because they don’t know each other. They don’t know each other because they have not communicated with each other”. Lack of communication causes problems in all walks of life yet is so simple to remedy. If the company communicates well and encourages deliberate communication between employees, you’re more likely to enjoy the time you spend with your fellow comrades.

Berwick Talent Solutions are experts in building diverse teams through rigorous research, candidate assessment and selection on behalf of our clients who are typically undergoing significant change and transformation.  For more information on the work we do please contact Lucy Thomas.

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