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Second Blog of Series (Tips to Hire, Retain & Develop Talent)

From an Event Ticketing Professional’s perspective, an interesting way to understand cultural fit would be to visualize a NY Yankee fan, dressed in his jean shorts, Nike high tops, “Is it just me or do the Red Sox Stink” t-shirt, his beer helmet, and foam finger making his way into a Met Opera presentation of Othello. If it’s not right, it should “stand out like a sore thumb”. If you want to take the scientific approach, William Schneider may say an organization’s culture is “how we do things around here to succeed”. An organization’s culture can be identified through its leadership: by their actions and attitude, what they pay attention to, what they reward and what gets punished, as well as what they allocate resources to. Hiring decisions made based on Cultural Fit have benefits extending well beyond hiring “a keeper”.

If, during your selection process, you are just focusing on the candidates’ skill set, experience and their answer to the question “if you were an animal, what would you be?” you are missing out on critical insight into the candidate that will tell you if the person has a high chance of success or failure in your organization. According to a study performed by Leadership IQ, 89% of hiring failures within the first 18 months are due to a poor cultural fit. Only 11% are due to lack of skills. You need to understand what your company culture is, then look for a cultural fit using the same diligence used to scrutinize the candidate’s skill set and experience.

A candidate with a good cultural fit positively impacts:

  • Employee Morale
  • Teamwork
  • Workplace Safety
  • Financial
  • Customer Service
  • Leadership
  • Employee Retention
  • Absenteeism
  • Workplace Injuries and Claims
  • Insurance Premiums
  • And much more…

An easy way to get insight into your organization’s culture is to use William Schneider’s Model of Cultural and the definition of culture above. In Schneider’s Model, culture is broken up into cultures that are People Oriented, ones that are Company Oriented, cultures that are Reality Oriented (focus on what is happening now) and cultures that are Possibility Oriented (looking to the future for what is possible). The four quadrants of culture illustrated in Schneider’s Model are the Collaborative Culture: “we succeed by working together”; Control Culture: “we succeed by getting and keeping control”; Cultivation Culture: “we succeed by growing people who fulfill our vision”; and Competence Culture: “we succeed by being the best”. Understanding and knowing how your organization “does things” in relation to the model will help you map your company’s “footprint” on the various quadrants and guide you as to what type of questions you should be asking new hire candidates.

cultural model

Culture is not a “one-size-fits- all” approach. Different cultures have their advantage depending on the values and behaviors that are important. A company whose culture to succeed is grounded in creativity and innovation will not want to hire a manager who is process and control driven. They may have been very successful at their previous employer, but would be a “recipe for disaster” in the Cultivation/Collaboration culture. This is where that 89% failure rate comes from and why it is so important to find the right fit. Sorry HR people, it’s not the competitive benefit package including the 401K, health, life and dental, the Keurig in the break room and the membership to the Planet Fitness that guarantees happier employees. It’s a culture that is built with shared values and philosophy that employees live, breathe and believe in daily.

Leaders create and disseminate culture every day. Culture is at the root of your organization’s success or failure; your “Strongest Asset or Achilles Heel”. A strong effective culture transcends the workplace. It helps your people develop and evolve at work and is the cornerstone of your brand that attracts new talent to your organization.

Perhaps the “if you were an animal” question might work in finding a fit in the creative department at Disney but please don’t ask it when you are looking to fill the role of “Spock” on Star Trek. “That just would not be logical”. By the way, the correct answer to the “if you were an animal” question is a “cheetah” because you will want to get away from that interview as quickly as possible!

What culture “misfit” stories do you have to share? I could fill volumes! How about you? Let me know your thoughts. Check out the previous blog in this series “Tips to Hire, Develop and Retain Talent” as well as our other blogs at LockData.

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