Employee turnover is costly. Hiring based on shared values and cultural beliefs leads to winning results. And I’d argue that culture fit is the most important aspect of retaining great employees above anything else, especially when the company is facing significant changes. But employee retention starts with first being able to clearly articulate what the organizational culture is. What are the aligned values, beliefs, behaviors and experiences that make up the organization’s environment?
Defining company culture and values can be done in several ways. But it must be done. Whether senior leaders are working with consultants or working together as a committee, company culture and values should be memorialized on paper. But this process can’t be done just to check the box. Those involved must truly be aligned on what the best culture is that fits the ultimate vision of the organization. I repeat, the culture should align with achieving the vision and goals of the company. If the existing culture needs some changes, then so be it.
Organizational culture comes about in one of two ways. It’s either decisively defined, nurtured and protected from the inception of the organization; or–more typically–it comes about haphazardly as a collective sum of the beliefs, experiences and behaviors of those on the team. Either way, you will have a culture. For better or worse.
Once the company culture has been defined, ideally every action, strategy, decision and communication should support the cultural beliefs – including all HR mechanisms from recruitment and hiring processes to performance review systems.
So why is culture fit so important for recruiting and retaining great talent? Hiring employees that don’t mesh well with the existing or desired company culture leads to poor work quality, decreased job satisfaction and a potentially toxic environment. This results in turnover which has high costs–both hard and soft.
On the other hand, hiring employees that fit well with the culture and share a strong belief in the values will most likely flourish. A great study on the subject revealed that employees who fit well with their organization, coworkers, and supervisor had greater job satisfaction, were more likely to remain with their organization, and showed superior job performance. This is especially important when the organization is facing the inevitable changes, volatility and ambiguity it will experience many times throughout its life-cycle. A strong team with shared values is more nimble and can adapt more readily.
Sounds great right?