“This is a fun place to work”, “We are an innovative, ambitious, and results-oriented company”. Who hasn’t hear phrases like this to describe a company’s culture?
Obviously, just like humans have different unique personalities and characteristics, companies have their own unique values and culture. In banks, for example, the conversations and dress code are very formal, whereas conversations and dress code in start-ups are rather relaxed and casual.
In the traditional recruiting process a candidate’s knowledge, skills and abilities to the job are crucial when evaluating an employee’s suitability for a job, whereas the candidate’s values, characteristics, and preferences do not matter very much. This traditional recruitment process puts high emphasis on the so called “job fit”.
When assessing job fit, recruiters are comparing the requirements of the job with the knowledge and skills the candidate brings to the table. However, knowing the values, characteristics, and preferences of candidates can be just as important as knowing his skill set. In the end, skills can be taught, but personality, preferences, and values cannot.
The latter approach that assesses a candidate’s values and preferences for certain work environments can be referred to as “organizational fit”. There are many benefits to including organizational fit data in the hiring process. For long term retention, for example, organizational fit could help reduce employee turnover, thus saving organizations from the costs associated with bad hires.
There are several reasons why organizational fit is crucial when selecting a candidate. When candidates are looking for new job opportunities nowadays they do not only want to earn money, but they also want to enjoy going to work….everyday! If the organizational fit is high, employees will most likely enjoy going to work day after day as they can identify with the organizational culture and values (I will come back to that later).
If the organizational fit is high, employees may find not only the working environment pleasant, but also the work interactions with like-minded colleagues and supervisors who possess the same work values and preferences. This triggers a mutually reinforcing cycle that leads to higher job satisfaction, organizational commitment, and ultimately better performance.
How can Organization Fit be measured?
The question that remains is how candidates can learn about the culture of an organization and how companies can reveal the values and preferences of a job seeker. Organizational fit is most frequently measured in terms of the congruence between a set of work-related values held by a candidate and the culture of an organization. It’s all about how the candidate fits into the larger culture of the organization. Organizational fit data answer questions like:
- Does the candidate have the same core values as the company?
- Is the candidate someone you and your team could work with?
- How does the candidate fit in with the overall culture and vision of your company?
In practice, organizational fit is most frequently assessed by first, developing a baseline for the organization’s culture. This is done by having employers complete a short survey describing their organizational culture across several dimensions. Second, a candidate’s individual work value profile is created by completing a similar survey that measures their most and least preferred work environment with regards to the very same dimensions. Finally, the candidates work value profile is compared with the organizational culture profile of the company. Comparison of both profiles reveals valuable insights about the overlap and dissonance with regards to values possessed by a company and those of a candidate.
SuperCareer, for example, offers a Person Company Match Survey that assesses a company’s organizational culture and provides companies with the most accurate job seeker matches based on their unique organizational values. Job seekers complete a short survey that measures several work-related values such as cultural diversity, work structure, professional development, and innovation. The employer completes a similar survey indicating their organizational climate across the very same dimensions. After completion by both parties, direct match percentages are computed and provided to the employer. These outcomes provide a great estimate of the fit between a candidate and the hiring organization and can be very useful for helping companies make all kind of important decisions.
SuperCareer not only measures organizational fit, but also job fit and overall fit. For each advertised job position companies have to specify what they value most about their prospective employee along dimensions such as task variety, autonomy, authority based on which job fit percentages are computed. When making a hiring decision it is important to not solely rely on one source of data, but to use both job fit data and organizational fit data to complement each other. SuperCareer’s platform is a pioneer by providing an indication of both organizational fit, job fit, and overall composite fit.
Advantages of including organization fit
There are several other ways in which companies can use organizational fit data to their advantage.
1. Promote your company’s values and culture in your employment brand
There is lots of benefit in taking the time to understand the values held by an organization and then communicating these values to their prospective employees. Communicating values clearly and transparently will send a clear message to those candidates who share the same values with a company. In the end, job seekers are looking for jobs in companies in which the values, goals, attitudes and preferences are aligned with their own so that candidates can enjoy their work.
2. Use Organizational Fit data to complement Job Fit data
Both job fit and organizational fit data can have lots of value to companies. As they address different aspects, organizational fit and job fit together can actually provide a more holistic picture of a candidate. Not least, the whole is greater than the sum of its parts when it comes to making a hiring decision. As always, it is important to not solely rely on one source of data when making a hiring decision – a healthy balance between organizational fit and job fit data is required to identify the best suitable candidate for your job in your organization.
Another reason to include organizational fit data when making a hiring decision is that employees generally hold multiple jobs over the course of their employment with a company. This makes a pure job fit approach inadequate. Once an employee’s responsibilities increase or change over time, the skill set based on which a hiring decision was made in the first place might not be sufficient for the new job requirements. If a company includes organizational fit data, however, the employee is better equipped to master his new job responsibilities.
3. Use fit to optimize the configuration of work groups and teams
One of the greatest benefits about organizational fit data is that it can help organizations to determine which employee is best suited for an internal assignment. An inventory of work-related values and preferences collected during the recruitment process can be used to make sure that an employee is not assigned to a work group or team that possesses a culture that conflicts with the one of the employee in question. Looking at organizational fit data when determining which individual is the best choice for an internal assignment or when configuring work groups can have a huge impact on the productivity and performance of work groups within the organization. Thus, having a look at an employee’s organizational fit data when evaluating his/her suitability for promotion into a new role within your organization is always worth the little effort.
How to measure the impact of organizational fit?
Research has shown many ways in which organizational fit can have value for a company. The most remarkable outcome of a good organizational fit is increased retention. This makes perfectly sense as the greater the fit between candidate and organizational values, the more likely a new hire is to stay with his new company.
When looking at HR analytics to evaluate the costs and efficiency of the company’s recruitment process, retention is generally the easiest way to investigate the efficiency of a selection tool, as it is directly reflected in the ROI. Some of the outcomes that organizational fit has shown to impact such as reduced turnover, thus, are obviously measurable and quantifiable. The impact of other outcomes of organization fit, however, such as increased job satisfaction and organizational commitment, are more intangible and harder to measure and quantify as they are not directly reflected in the ROI. Even though harder to measure objectively, it are the intangible outcomes that drive an employee to “go the extra mile” for an organization.
In short, a good organizational fit brings several positive outcomes about such as higher job satisfaction, organizational commitment, and more productivity. However, it is crucial to not rely exclusively on organizational fit data when making a hiring decision, but to use both job fit data and organizational fit data to complement each other. After all, both types of fit account for different aspects of job success and performance. It is crucial to realize that the less objective nature of organizational fit makes it harder for companies to prove its positive effects on job performance and ROI. Organizational fit inventories, however, as the one provided by SuperCareer, provide useful information for both job seekers and hiring organizations as they gauge organizational values and culture and match them with potential employees. Is your company ready to include organizational fit in the recruitment process and benefit from the positive outcomes a great organizational fit brings about?