One in five wouldn't hire the wrong cultural fit

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This depends on how you define culture. In my mind it revolves around shared values and principles and hiring on that basis would not exclude diversity.


Read More Bernie Mayall
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Employers see a candidate’s cultural fit as very important, but experts warn this mustn't turn into bias

One in five (17%) employers wouldn’t hire a candidate if they were not the right cultural fit for their organisation, according to a survey by totaljobs.

The survey found that 67% of employers see a candidate’s cultural fit as ‘very important’ in the hiring process, with only 1% seeing it as not important.

More than three-quarters (76%) said cultural fit helps to improve staff retention, while 70% said it improves job satisfaction. Additionally, 64% said it makes work a more fun place to be for everyone, while 60% said it increases productivity and makes employees more committed.

“Much like reputation, company culture takes a long time to build but can be broken in an instant,” advised Matthew Harradine, director at totaljobs. “It’s important, therefore, to not rock the boat with new hires – they must fit in with the company culture you’ve created.”

But others warned, in response to these findings, of the danger of hiring on cultural fit straying into bias and exclusionary practices.

Louise Ashley, a lecturer at the University of London specialising in research on diversity and inclusion programmes, told HR magazine: “Cultural fit in the workplace is associated with positive outcomes, including for example job satisfaction and commitment. But appointing on the basis of ‘fit’ is also problematic – a body of research demonstrates that this entrenches the tendency for managers to recruit and promote in their own image, contributing to a lack of diversity in many organisations.

“While it is by no means always the case, in many organisations the decision makers who set the dominant culture are drawn from a pretty homogenous group – often men, who are often white, and who may for example come from relatively privileged backgrounds. In those organisations, without careful checks and balances including attention to both unconscious and conscious biases this can have an exclusionary effect”.

She added: “The most enlightened employers recognise the importance of building a strong culture, including for example through commitment to a shared set of values, but also focus on recruiting for experience, potential and skills rather than ‘fit’.”

Professor of leadership at Cranfield School of Management Elisabeth Kelan agreed, warning of the detrimental impact striking the wrong balance could have on the bottom line. “If cultural fit just means adding more people who look like the majority organisations are missing crucial talent,” she told HR magazine. “If organisations are serious about diversity and inclusion they have to consider how cultural fit is defined in this context and which unintended consequences this definition might have.”

The totaljobs report asked those polled how organisations could improve company culture. Encouraging a positive team atmosphere was cited by 76%, recognising and rewarding great work by 57%, encouraging strong relationships by 54% and improving communication by 51%.

Comments

The culture of an organisation is beyond important to both the applicant and the recruiting manager, but even this has now been hijacked by the 'diversity and inclusion brigade'. These academics and professors sit in their left-wing eyries pontificating theories on what in the main they have no current practical experience of.


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This depends on how you define culture. In my mind it revolves around shared values and principles and hiring on that basis would not exclude diversity.


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Agree taht most academics suffer from over analysis of work place dynamics and the bottom line . Often there are many unknowns at work which can only be managed after recuitment takes place .


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Such a pity that Ms. Carol Scott you fail to put forward any informed opinion to justify how you would actually assesses 'cultural fit' so that we might learn from your supposed wisdom i.e. how you currently define 'fit' in your organisation and how this has translated into measurable evidence of diversity or homogeneity in the profile of your workforce or sector? Having dealt with a high volume of discrimination cases the criteria of 'fit' is often used as a cover for discriminatory practices in the hands of the untrained recruiter who judges people on appearance and other subjective criteria rather than any real understanding of 'shared values' and how to assess this. You need to specify what relevant questions you would ask candidates to support 'fit'; what other assessment methods would you use to make objective observations to identify positive or counter indicators? I would invite you to answer these questions, share your specific practices and results arising from them before trying to unilaterally silence others. This would enable us to have a reasoned debate and learn how we can make organisations more inclusive (assuming that is your shared purpose and you believe we still have a long way to go?) The risk is you will do exactly what you are doing in your response , namely labelling people negatively that disagree with you as being 'left wing' and part of 'diversity and inclusion brigade' to silence contrary views. There was no information in the article to indicate the political leaning of the quoted Academics. Are you simply going to go around silencing anyone who publishes research or views contrary to your deeply held but unfounded opinions by insulting them and their work in totality? By all means critique their research which has been subject to rigorous peer review but do so having read it. You can then be specific and intelligent as to why you believe their conclusions or methodology is flawed in some way. This is a short article, designed to prompt you to think and research more deeply. These Academics are simply asking you to keep an open mind, have some doubt rather than be driven by certainty. They are specifically inviting recruiters to exercise some sensitivity and caution to the real existence of conscious and unconscious bias.


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Responding to: but even this has now been hijacked by the 'diversity and inclusion brigade'. These academics and professors sit in their left-wing eyries pontificating theories on what in the main they have no current practical experience of. I'm SO glad I don't work at their organisation! My gosh, how closed minded. but I guess the far right always hated the left! If your company culture excludes people - it is a bad culture.


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