Is ‘Cultural Fitness’ Part of Your Playbook?

BY Kathy Crosett
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Hiring managers are more aware of cultural fit these days. They know that hiring an individual who’s clearly not going to fit into the existing company culture could be a bad move. Is this attitude always good for an organization? Gustavo Razetti, at Talent Management and HR, reminds hiring managers that paying attention to culture fitness should be the real focus.

Organizations and their cultures are constantly changing. They must change to keep up, or they’ll die off as the world around them advances. If you hire with a narrow focus on cultural fit, you are signaling that you’re not interested in change. That attitude may be fine for some positions in some departments at certain points in time.

What happens when you want to develop a new product line or service? Or maybe you plan to merge with another organization in the near future. To succeed at these initiatives, you may need to bring different kinds of employees on board. These new folks may not fit exactly into the culture you have now. In the best of both worlds, new employees will challenge the culture to change in positive ways, while existing employees will hold onto the parts of the culture they like best. How should managers hire for 'cultural fitness?'

There’s no substitute for hiring the brightest, highly energetic and talented candidates. Using formal assessments can help you identify the natural work styles of these candidates, along with their ability to think critically. Beyond that, Razetti encourages you to have an open mind. Hiring a candidate whose work and culture perspective is vastly different from what currently exists on your team could be exactly what you need to reach the next level. Instead of fearing disruption, encourage it. Work with existing team members to openly discuss differences in thinking and work styles. Help people understand that differing points of view can bring needed energy, change and growth to your group.