Chances are if you’ve interviewed for a job lately someone has mentioned the importance of “Cultural Fit” or “Corporate Culture”. These are a few of the trendy new catch-phrases adopted by Corporate America.
As organizations focus on rebuilding and growth, they are placing a greater value on Cultural Fit than experience alone. Background and experience are important, but they’ll only get you so far if you don’t fit in or can’t get along with your co-workers.
The importance of “soft-skills” are gaining more attention as companies compete for candidates and continue the battle for employee retention. Candidates themselves have begun to place a greater value on the Culture of an organization when deciding to join.
In a recent book, “Hiring for Attitude”, Mark Murphy cites lack of proper attitude as the driving force behind poor employee performance and turnover. His research seems to support these claims. He studied 20,000 new hires and found that 46% failed within the first 18 months. If that doesn’t grab your attention, his findings go on to show that 89% of the time attitude was the culprit vs. skills which factored into 11% of the cases.
However, before your hiring managers start extending offers to “nice” candidates, you need to make sure you’ve established a “Corporate Culture” and, that everyone understands the definition of that “Culture”. It’s not enough to simply trust your managers to exercise their own judgment and determine who would be a good fit. Example: I spent a number of years as an Internal Auditor for a major Insurance company. Time and time again when teams would fall short of corporate standards, I would counsel the Management team on the importance of hiring the right people (turnover was also a huge problem). They would stubbornly defend their hiring decisions by saying, “I hired them because I thought they’d fit in with the team.” To some degree they did fit in. When it came time for the ever present team pot-lucks, the spread was great! These people could cook! When it came time to following corporate guidelines and passing audits, not so much.