In the relentlessly competitive global climate, the key to success in business isn’t what you do but how you do it. Providing the best product or service isn’t enough – you need to differentiate yourself from the competition at team, department and company level. But how? That’s where your company culture can make all the difference.

Aligning your culture and brand

A strong, differentiated company culture contributes to a strong, differentiated brand that will attract both customers and employees. Examples vary from one company to the next: offering generous employee benefits such as free drinks at Starbucks, encouraging employees to disagree with their managers at Amazon, empowering employees to be their own boss at Zappos, letting people set their own hours at Patagonia, unlimited vacation or no tracking policy at Netflix…

It’s obvious that if you want to win the battle for customers, your culture and brand need to be aligned and driven by a common purpose and set of values. And it all starts with recruitment. 

4 reasons you should hire for culture fit over skill set

Lower turnover

You probably want to be surrounded by the best – that’s par for the course. But “the best” doesn’t necessarily mean “the most qualified” or “the candidate with the best degree”. In fact, hiring top performers that don’t fit your company culture is a recipe for unhappy employees that won’t adjust to your organization or get along with their teammates. In the end, they will stagnate in their position until they find a better one elsewhere. This kind of bad fit is the reason why 50% of new hires fail in the first 18 months.

A feeling of belonging

Integrating a highly qualified person who doesn’t fit your company culture will be more challenging than making a success of hiring a  good match for your company culture with a more average skill set. They will always feel like outsiders and integrating them will represent a considerable challenge. On the other hand, fitting in with your company culture gives your employees a feeling of belonging, thereby increasing their loyalty to the organization.

A smarter bet in the long run

Have you heard of the growth versus fixed mindset model, put forth by psychologist Carol Dweck? It basically states that education should value effort over result in order to help us enjoy the process of learning about new topics and acquiring new skills. Giving too much importance to your employees’ skill set or achievements on the day you recruit them may not encourage them to be curious and explore new areas in the future. In our rapidly changing business landscape, it won’t be long before they start lagging behind. Choosing a candidate for his or her potential instead is the smarter bet.

Increased collaboration

Hiring a highly qualified person who doesn’t fit with your company culture can jeopardize the whole company’s equilibrium. Indeed, “unity is strength” is only valid when people actually want to work together. Team members that share the same values will get along better, improving team spirit and overall collaboration inside the company.

 

Hiring for culture fit involves defining your company, department or team culture first: the values, implicit rules, and interactions among employees that differentiate your tribe from any other organization.

❗Be careful not to confuse the lack of diversity with culture fit. Diversity is vital to your company’s ability to innovate and adapt to an ever-evolving environment.

Have you defined your company/department/team culture? Do you leverage it in your hiring process? Tell us in the comments  section :)