LEADERSHIP RESOURCES BLOG

Guidance on leadership development & strategic planning.

Finding Employees Who Fit Your Culture

By Leadership Resources 06/11/2021
"Culture fit" circled in a job application

Wherever people consistently gather in groups (big or small), a culture is bound to arise. So, while the word “culture” has become a buzzword in the professional sphere, it’s merely a natural consequence of company life. Of course, company cultures can become stagnant, exclusionary, and downright toxic if not properly directed and cultivated at every level — leaders must set positive examples of what the culture should look like, employees should do their best to uphold these values, and new hires should be screened to ensure proper cultural fit. Indeed, finding candidates who fit your existing culture makes team and employee management easier and more productive. The question is: how should your business go about locating these candidates?

Let’s outline some key steps to finding employees that will not only fit your current culture but potentially enhance it as well.

How to Hire a Good Culture Fit

Establish Core Values

Finding the right employees for your company’s culture is an uphill battle (if not an impossibility) if said culture isn’t clearly defined from the outset. You must be able to identify your organization’s values and embed them in your operations. Some businesses might cultivate a  performance culture wherein productivity reigns supreme on the list of priorities; others might prioritize collaboration; some companies gather around a singular purpose (i.e., sustainability); the list goes on. A good test of your culture’s clarity and strength is to try and define it in a simple sentence — essentially a concise mission statement.

Put Your Culture Front and Center

Once your company culture is clearly defined, it’s imperative to get the message out there. In doing so, potential candidates with the right cultural fit will gravitate toward your organization. Your marketing materials (especially those for recruitment) should strongly focus on your business’ values. Make sure your website is outfitted with an “About” page and “Careers” section that both speak to your company’s values. Consider receiving employee testimonials and posting positive images on social media pages as well. Those seeking employment will appreciate getting a glimpse into what it might be like to work for your company directly from current employees.

Keep Tabs on Your Workplace Culture

Company cultures should be strong but not so rigid that they snap under pressure. Simply put, cultures evolve over time, and it’s crucial to remain open to changes that will ultimately benefit your organization and everyone in it. If something about your current culture is causing problems for some (or most) of your people, you must get to the bottom of it quickly. Distributing a monthly, quarterly, or annual company culture survey will give you key insights into what is and isn’t working, and which values require more attention or specific adjustment. Taking the time to constantly check and improve your company culture will allow you to keep up with the competition and deliver the most accurate representation of your organization to potential candidates.

Incorporate Your Values in the Interview Process

If you’re zeroing in on a candidate but still aren’t sure about their cultural fit, the best thing to do is simply ask them the right questions during their interview. It’s often best to start with some more casual questions regarding what they do outside of work, such as:

  • What are your hobbies?
  • What’s your average weekend like?
  • What do you value in yourself and others?
  • What’s your most negative personality trait?

From there, ask questions more directly related to company/employee culture, like:

  • Do you enjoy working with others?
  • In what type of setting do you accomplish your best work?
  • Do you see yourself working here for a long time?
  • Can you give an example of a moment in which you demonstrated one of the company’s values?
  • What are your thoughts about the company’s stated values and why?

Questions such as these benefit both you and the candidate as you inch closer to the hiring decision — they will gain an even deeper understanding of what it means to work for your company, and you will better understand how well they might fit into your culture.

Capturing the Right Candidates for Your Culture

Your company’s values and culture serve as the foundation for everything you do and your overall success. When seeking the most qualified candidates for your company, remember to keep culture in the equation — skills and knowledge matter greatly, but cultural fit is the glue that keeps your organization together.

At Leadership Resources, our purpose is to make the impossible possible through people. We aim to do so by helping individuals develop patterns of success that will decrease stress levels and maximize productivity. Contact us here to learn more about what we do and how it can help your business succeed and grow at times like these when you need it most.

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Have You Established a Strong Company Culture?

By Leadership Resources 08/14/2020
Leadership Resources group with strong company culture

The term “company culture” has undoubtedly become a buzzword, but this doesn’t mean the concept lacks merit or importance. Indeed, the importance of company culture cannot be overstated. Unfortunately, it cannot be easily quantified either. Every company operates differently, after all, and there are no hard and fast rules for establishing, maintaining, or adjusting a company’s culture. That said, if your business is falling behind, losing employees, struggling to onboard solid people, etc., chances are your culture is the culprit, at least in part. 

Conversely, a strong company culture often yields growth, boosts morale, increases reputation, and spurs innovation. Why? Simply put, humans are social creatures that thrive in environments that offer and encourage both freedom and collaboration. If we don’t feel comfortable expressing our ideas in an open, receptive environment, a lot will go unsaid, and a company can grow stale as a result. Likewise, people perform their best when they enjoy their work and the atmosphere in which they work — this atmosphere directly stems from culture.

So, the question remains: have you established a strong company culture? If you’re not sure, here are some ways to assess your current culture in order to improve it.

How to Establish a Strong Company Culture

Remember: Performance Often Reflects Culture

As just mentioned above, employee and team performance is inextricably linked to culture. Other factors come into play, of course, such as competence, how well someone fits their role, and elements that are mostly out of anyone’s control. For the most part, though, one way to gauge your current culture is to track performance. If you notice a decline or consistent lack of progress, these issues may stem from cultural issues. Perhaps employees do not feel adequately incentivized to perform better. Maybe there is a general lack of enthusiasm or morale. Team members may not feel well-connected, either, which can impede communication.

Turn to Your Turnover Rates

Your business’ turnover rates can also cue you into cultural problems. Some level of turnover is to be expected in any enterprise — people move, change careers, find better opportunities, and so on. However, if your company experiences high levels of turnover for your industry, this speaks to a weak, potentially toxic company culture. Strong company cultures make everyone feel welcomed and valued day in and day out. And team members are more likely to stick with a company that recognizes their contributions and compensates them accordingly. So, if you want to hang on to your best people, you must cultivate such a culture.

Recognize The Role of Human Resources

If your goal is to create and maintain a great company culture, you must properly invest in your human resources (HR) department. One of the main goals of HR departments is to build and influence a company’s culture for the betterment of all employees, teams, and the organization as a whole. In order to do this, HR leaders take on a number of responsibilities, such as facilitating training, education and communication; identifying, clarifying, and reinforcing company values; empowering individuals and teams; mediating, mitigating, and solving issues; recognizing individuals, teams, and organizational efforts, and more. HR leaders also play a pivotal role in the hiring process, helping to identify candidates that will fit into and/or enhance the existing company culture.

Hear From Your People

One of the best ways to get a pulse on your organization’s culture is to receive feedback from those within the company. You might distribute a standardized, anonymized company culture survey to collect key data. Your survey might feature a list of questions, prompts, and/or parameters for individuals to answer directly and/or rate on a scale of 1-5, “strongly disagree” to “strongly agree,” etc., such as:

  • I feel like I have the opportunity to grow in this organization
  • I like what I do
  • I feel valued
  • I trust my team
  • I feel comfortable speaking my mind
  • I feel heard
  • etc.

This information can be used to make sweeping and granular changes within your business to improve and adjust the culture as needed.

Finding the Balance Between Stability and Flexibility

A strong company culture is not necessarily an unmovable company culture. Put another way, the best workplace cultures should be sturdy but flexible enough to adapt to new challenges and developments. While businesses should exercise caution when changing company culture, they should not fear doing so when it is truly called for. Finding this balance between stability and flexibility is not always easy, which is why it is so important to collaborate closely with your HR departments, employees, and teams to establish a set of shared values that will properly move the organization, and everyone in it, forward.At Leadership Resources, our purpose is making the impossible possible through people. We aim to do so by helping individuals develop patterns of success that will decrease stress levels and maximize productivity. Contact us here to learn more about what we do and how it can help your business succeed and grow at times like these when you need it most.

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