How do you determine whether a candidate will be a good fit in your company? Many hiring managers base the decision on skills and experience alone. What these managers do not seem to realize is that a good culture fit is equally, if not even more important. Hiring with your culture in mind can improve your new talent outcome, increase retention, build greater camaraderie among your team, and even increase productivity.
Why Culture Matters
Whether you have intentionally built your company’s culture or not, your workplace has a culture. Even a toxic culture is, in fact, a culture. It is the personality of your organization, and it greatly affects how your team performs. A negative culture has serious business consequences, including greater risk of workplace accidents. Employees are also more likely to leave a negative workplace culture when a new opportunity presents itself, and if word gets out about your culture it becomes harder to hire new employees.
Hiring a bad culture fit can have serious implications to your company’s productivity and employee morale. Companies are like any other community — they function on a network of agreements, compromises, and shared goals. When someone enters the organization and starts to make waves, it disrupts everyone on the boat. Processes start to fall apart,
A Good Culture Fit Should Be Part of Your Hiring Strategy
Increasing employee retention, decreasing employee turnover, increasing productivity, and cutting recruiting expenses are all good reasons to make “culture” part of your hiring strategy. How do you hire for culture? The first exercise is to understand your own culture so you can find a good match.
Once you know who your company really is, you can seek out candidates with similar values, work philosophies and personality traits. If you are a team of collaborators, put “likes to collaborate” in your job posting requirements. If your company isn’t great at communicating directions, be honest that you value “independence and self-direction.” If your company’s work environment is filled with stress, conflict, and aggression … maybe work on that before you hire someone new.
Improving Your Culture to Improve Recruitment
If talking about your company’s culture makes you cringe, there’s good news — you can change your company’s culture! And we mean YOU, specifically. Culture needs to be embodied and modeled from the top of the organization, so the change starts with you.
Define your company’s values.
What do you stand for? How do you want your company to be thought of among your peers, partners, and the larger community? You must first define the values that are true to you as a business leader, then implement those values throughout your organization.
Bring your team into the fold.
Culture cannot be mandated; it must be grown. That means sharing your vision and values with your team and listening to their feedback. Encourage an open dialogue of where your company is now in terms of culture, where you want to be, and ideas of how to get there.
Intentionally changing your culture may lead to a few uncomfortable moments — be prepared for it and remember the goal is worth the effort. If you are modeling the core values every day, your team will start to follow your lead. And if one or two of your employees don’t, it may be time to let them find a place where they are a better culture fit.
Set culture expectations early.
Make your vision and values part of your hiring strategy and on-boarding materials. Discuss your expectations with potential new hires and check in with them often during their first few weeks to make sure they are experiencing the values first-hand from the rest of your team.
Charles Covey, President of Alphapex, a waterproofing company based out of Austin Texas, says new recruits get introduced to the core values immediately. “They are in the on-boarding paperwork. They have to read them, they have to understand what they mean, and they have to agree to uphold them.”
Recognize employees who live your values.
Employee recognition doesn’t have to be complicated or expensive. A verbal “that’s the way we do it!” from leadership can mean more to an employee than a formal Employee of the Month certificate. It’s all about authentic recognition and feedback. Encourage your employees to recognize and reward each other when they are upholding the company values and promoting a more positive work culture.
Reflect and refocus often.
Everyone in construction wears a lot of hats and taking time away from securing new work and managing projects to focus on something “soft” like culture might feel like a waste of time. It is not. As soon as you stop prioritizing culture, it starts to slip. You have to work at culture every day. Make it part of every team meeting, every business decision, and every new hire.
Focusing on your culture, and hiring good culture fits, will improve your reputation among your candidate pool, build employee loyalty and increase retention, and create a workplace people are genuinely proud to be a part of.