As I was sitting in my office the other day, I could hear the friendly conversations throughout our office. It was really nice to hear such genuine, positive energy as everyone shared their holiday plans amid their normal work conversations that take place every day. I was struck by the cheerful and respectful banter of our associates, all different in gender, age and ethnicity. Everyone listened to each other’s plans and asked interested questions. It was a special moment for me, realizing that we had not only hired very talented people, but people who respected each other and genuinely “got along”.
Talent is Important, But “Fit” is Also Key
For our own organization, we certainly try to hire talented people. However, we’ve found the intangibles of “fit” are even more critical in our selection process. Ensuring we bring in people who “resonate” with our core values and our core purpose as an organization is a must. For us to be nimble and adaptive in solving our clients’ recruiting challenges, we must live out our core values and core purpose every day. It’s who we are at our core.
We have the privilege of working with many great organizations and work cultures. We get to see what works and doesn’t work across a broad spectrum of companies and work groups. We see organizations struggle to attract and acquire the talent they need. And, if they do find the talented people they want, they oftentimes lose this talent sooner than expected because of cultural fit issues. So, fit really does matter and more than you might think.
Work Group Chemistry and Fit Should Always Be a Strong Selection Criterion
Every individual you bring on board affects your work group and your organizational culture. Even a highly talented person can still be a very disruptive influence to your work group chemistry if they don’t buy in to your organization’s core values. Or, if you hired an individual to whom you weren’t clear about your core values, they may experience the uncomfortable dissonance of not naturally embracing your core values. In either scenario, if people can’t work well together, no matter how talented, you will not get the desired, sustainable results from that group. And, eventually, damaging turnover and poor productivity will result.
Therefore, it’s in your best interests to address these important fit issues in your selection process. This emphasis on cultural fit is important both for your organizational well-being as well as the candidates applying and being considered for each and every role you fill. Your screening and interview questions should reflect your priority to find talented people who will also fit well into your culture. Obviously, these core value considerations should be legally defensible and always support a diverse work environment. But, you need to discern through your selection process whether a candidate will be a positive influence on your team or organization.
You must also be forthcoming in your communication with each candidate as to the organization’s core values and core purpose. This will also give candidates the opportunity to “select out” if they realize your organization’s core beliefs are not congruent with their own. Too often, we are blinded by the “halo effect” of great talent and fail to appropriately articulate our core values for fear of losing such talent. However, it’s better to hold out for a better “fit” and talented candidate than to lose your highly talented and poor fit candidate six months down the road.
Great Fit Associates Bring Multiple Benefits
There are multiple benefits in hiring great fit people for your organization.
- First, people who fit well within your culture bring that reinforcing ‘can do’ energy. They want to make this new chapter in their career work – they sincerely want to be there.
- Newly hired, great fit people deliver more and better employee referral candidates.
- Great fit hires will be accepted more readily by their new team members and their socialization into your organization will be quicker and more effective reducing early disengagement and early turnover.
- Great fit hires get productive quicker. They sincerely want to make a positive difference for your organization.
- People you hire who fit well within your organization reinforce your already powerful force of your core values, your core purpose. It reinforces who they are, who you are and what you stand for together as an organization.
So, I hope you can see the benefits in expending the important efforts and developing a winning process to deliver great fit hires into your organization. Building a great team, a truly great organization takes intention, it doesn’t just happen. Even getting great talent (if you can) alone will not deliver the results you seek. However, getting the right people all rowing in the same direction will give you a sustainable competitive advantage and provide the culture that will make the journey truly enjoyable.