How important is it to be ‘culture fit’? | The Daily Star
12:00 AM, October 11, 2019 / LAST MODIFIED: 12:00 AM, October 11, 2019

How important is it to be ‘culture fit’?

Just like people, businesses too have personalities that we call organisational culture. A company’s culture can be seen as the values and beliefs of the company’s founders through the collective force of employees, interactions between management and subordinates and the work environment. This culture varies from company to company. ‘Culture Fit’ doesn’t imply that companies hire people who are identical; it is essentially about matching people with the said business culture.

The term ‘Culture Fit’ was initially found in career sites, integrated into interview processes and touted as a competitive advantage for many organisations in the tech community. Now, the term has taken a more tribal meaning. Employees spend a substantial portion of their lives dedicated to working and building a career. If they don’t love the work they are doing and the people they are working with, they can quickly spiral into an undesirable work environment which might inevitably lead to employee turnover. This is something that should be extensively thought about by both the employers and the candidates who are applying for the position.

The underlying cultural hallmark of an organisation should be embraced by all the people working in the organisation. The importance of being a culture fit in the business world is exponentially increasing. People spend about a third of their lives in the workplace. It is important that they feel happy and connected in the place that they work. If that doesn’t happen, this might lead to the problem of staff retention. Culture fitness is the most important aspect of retaining employees.

When an employee’s beliefs are more tuned to those of the company that they work for, they are more likely to be committed to the company and its work. This level of employee engagement is critical for a business and its sustainable success.

A team that works well together with the same core values, functions better and is aligned more accurately with the same goals than a team with disjointed priorities. Professional and personal differences are much easier to resolve in teams where employees are committed to similar values.

Organisations with a healthy culture are usually interested in collaborative working processes and open communications. When values are aligned, it is much easier to communicate.

On the contrary, as companies strive for increasing diversity and inclusion, the term ‘Culture Fit’ is falling out of favor. A hiring process built around an undefined notion of cultural fitness is fraught with bias. Some companies may use this term as a blanket term to reject candidates that don’t match the hiring managers’ view of the ideal candidate. The term has thus been labelled as a notion of unconscious bias. Some companies are beginning to drop this idea as they are reframing their thinking to add diverse candidates to their culture. Forbes listed companies such as Facebook, Pandora, Atlassian, etc. are some of the companies that are reframing their views on culture fitness to promote diversity and inclusion in the workplace.

Despite these dynamic shifts, being culture fit is still perceived to be imperative for both employees and organisations alike. “Being culturally fit is very important to align yourself with a company. If you don’t fit in with the culture, all the work will feel like a burden and it becomes tough to own your work,” says Shadman Ul Karim, Assistant Brand Manager at Marico Bangladesh. Naziba Bar Chowdhury, Global Graduate of Operations, British American Tobacco says, “Being culture fit is very, very important, irrespective of whether the fit is between an educational organisation and a student, or a workplace and an employee. Proper cultural alignment is extremely crucial.”

 

Nabila Hossain is a senior at Institute of Business Administration, University of Dhaka. Reach her at nabilaanima@gmail.com

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