People in congruent jobs – ones that match their personality – will tell you that they feel more competent. As it turns out, work can feed not only your self-identity, but also positively impact self-esteem and self-efficacy. Given that most of us will spend the majority of our time at work – about a third of our waking lives – it is no surprise that we expect a lot from work. It is a chance to grow and develop, be valued, get recognised and fairly (ideally generously!) rewarded for what we do. When what we expect and what we get line up, our productivity and happiness levels can soar.
More and more, companies are starting to appreciate the value of we call cultural fit. It offers some very clear benefits for both employers and employees.
So, what is cultural fit? Why does it matter? And what can companies do to create the conditions for better fit?
What is cultural fit?
Cultural fit is when there is a match of norms and values between candidate and employer, according to specialist on the topic of job fit, Prof Adrian Furnham.
A comprehensive meta-analysis of job fit provides concrete evidence that various types of fit (organisation, job, group and supervisor) influence behavioural outcomes and the critical factors of performance and turnover levels. More specifically, fit positively impacts job satisfaction, organisational commitment and intent to leave.
In other words, hiring candidates who show positive cultural fit with your organisation turns out to be good for business, and for people! Interestingly, when you hire for cultural fit, you are also more likely to produce work friendships. And having a friend at work offers some surprising benefits …
Do you have a friend at work?
Gallup research shows a clear link between having a best friend at work and the amount of effort that employees expend in their job. That’s’ why Gallup consistently ask their famous employee engagement research question: Do you have a best friend at work?
Having a best friend at work has been shown to:
- Decrease safety incidents by 36%
- Engage customers 7% more
- Generate a 12% higher profit.
It is human for us to build positive connections with our colleagues. A workplace devoid of human connection and support is isolating and de-energizing, whereas affiliation drives position action in business. An organisational culture of belongingness, trust and inclusion is certainly more favourable for the lion’s share of your waking hours!
3 ways to create a culture of inclusion and friendship
Cultures where friendships can develop and thrive are good for business, they engender well-being, engagement and performance.
Here are a few ways places to start for fostering these inclusive cultures.
- Promote open communication and collaboration
To create psychological safety, build trust and support feelings of belonging, invite people to speak up and ensure they get heard. Create practical ways for employees to have voice and recognise contribution when it is made. What mechanisms could you use for this in your organisation?
- Allow people to get to know each other
How much do you know about the people you work with? Opportunities to work together naturally promote more sharing. Create cross-functional teams for projects, assemble employees around philanthropic causes and encourage sharing of some personal interests in meetings or on company tech platforms.
- Promote and participate in social activities
Organise company ‘down time’ together, a festive season celebration, a gaming or a walking club, a picnic. We’re having to think harder about how we do this in lockdown – one idea might be to ask your employees what they’d like to do!
Don’t leave it to chance. Consider positive cultural fit in your hiring process and build cultures of inclusion where new recruits can thrive. Managers should reflect on their own level of congruence with organisational norms, values and expectations. From the beginning of the recruitment process, communicating your lived experience with clarity will help to attract, hire and retain candidates who share similar values and are inspired by the organisation that promotes them.
Consequences of individuals’ fit at work: A meta-analysis of person-job person-organisation, person-group and person-supervisor fit.