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Appraisd Community event - Workplace culture, what it is and why should you measure it?

Roly Walter
17th September 2021

Workplace culture, what it is and why should you measure it?

Workplace culture is a hot topic right now. There is a growing consensus that the culture of an organisation has a massive impact on areas like recruitment, retention and productivity. Successive surveys show most employees aren’t happy in their role, leading companies to look for fresh ways to attract employees who feel a connection with their employer, see a value in their role and importantly, enjoy what they’re doing.

The last Appraisd Community Forum looked at this issue. Guest speaker, Chris Platts co-founder of recruitment technology specialists, ThriveMap, shared his view on the subject. He explained the culture of a business is defined by the actions of it’s employees, how they perform their roles and how they interact with each other. When businesses are looking for new recruits or to develop existing teams, they should take note of these characteristics and look for candidates who have both the skills to do the role and like to work in a similar way to the team they will be joining.

Why is culture fit important?

Of all the hires that fail, a staggering 89% are unrelated to how well the employee can do the job. Instead, these hires fail because the employee doesn’t fit in to the culture of the organisation. A hiring process that takes this into account alongside whether a candidate can and wants to do the job, could significantly reduce turnover rates, time spent on recruitment and improve the candidate experience. This produces a win-win situation for employers and employees.

By analysing company culture and having clear metrics to measure candidates against, Chris argued companies could be much more successful in getting the right new recruits through door and making sure these employees thrive within the business. Once in a culture that suits them, these employees will be much more likely to want to stay. Examining the working styles and preferences of the team where the vacancy exists, provides a hiring manager with invaluable data that can help make an unbiased decision on the right candidate to recruit, rather than relying heavily on gut feel.

What should the definition of cultural fit be?

Getting the culture fit right goes much deeper than whether you have a good feeling about the person or think they would be fun on a night out.

Despite the perceptions of many, Chris countered that hiring employees for culture fit should not be about personality. Getting the culture fit right goes much deeper than whether you have a good feeling about the person or think they would be fun on a night out. Our first impressions of people are often wrong. Instead, cultural fit should be judged on objective measures such as how someone works in a team environment or which management style they respond to best.

He tackled the main objection he often hears about hiring for culture fit, which is that it can lead to a lack of diversity in demographics, ideas and personality. However, if you hire using his definition of culture which is about how people perform their roles and interact with each other, the candidate’s race, gender, religion or age don’t enter the equation. In fact, using objective measures, such as culture fit, in the hiring and management processes can help to reduce unconscious bias towards people from shared backgrounds and demographics. How people workis not a measure of ideas. A diversity of ideas comes from a diversity of backgrounds and experiences. The best teams are often full of different personalities. Working in a team where everyone shares the same personality type would simply not work. Culture fit should be about actions not personality.


Retain the human element

Chris’s final point was that while data can help mangers to make better-informed decisions, it should not replace the human element to the recruiting process. The data is there to enable finer judgements to be made, providing a more accurate prediction, but it cannot tell you everything. The hiring manager can reach a more accurate conclusion given the information they have, but that final decision should still be based on a face to face meeting to validate what the data indicates is correct.