Culture-fit hiring is all about hiring the right candidates, whose beliefs and attitudes are in perfect alignment with the values and culture of the organisation. A lot of emphasis is being laid on hiring candidates who are culturally fit for the organisation. But is this being done at the cost undermining our diversity agenda?
According to a research conducted by Professor Lauren Rivera at Northwestern University’s Kellogg School of Management, that whole perception of hiring managers and interviewers when it comes to hiring culturally-fit candidates, is to select someone they would enjoy having a beer with or with whom they would not mind being stuck at the airport. The hiring managers’ decisions are influenced by the similarity of the candidate’s educational level, experience and institutions, with their own.
That means, instead of hiring the right ‘cultural fit’ they usually end up hiring a ‘personal fit’.
Therefore, the decisions made by hiring managers in terms of candidates who are a misfit in the organisation’s culture, may cost a lot to the organisation. As a result of such hiring decisions, over a period of time, companies lose out on the best of talents. Instead, they end up putting together a team of individuals who are similar and even share similar thoughts.
“People who match the cultural values, may not necessarily have similar thought processes”
It is just an instance of human beings preferring to hang out with like-minded individuals. This can heavily impact the organisation as a whole because there will be no diversity of thoughts. In the absence of diverse views and creativity in design, the value of the organisation’s product(s) will also be degraded.
As explained by Nihar Ghosh, CHRO, Emami, the concept of culture fit does not hamper the diversity at the workplace. It simply facilitates hiring of people who are aligned to the cultural values of the organisation, rather than the values of the employees.
For instance, transparency and customer-centric mindset are two examples of an organisations’s cultural values. A candidate who is found to match and fit these, will be called a culture-fit hire.
“The gender, colour or background of the candidate, better known as the profile of the candidate is different from the values of the organisation. People who match the cultural values, may not necessarily have similar thought processes,” says Ghosh.
On the other hand, for Vijay Singh, VP-HR, JK Cement, the mindset of the person is more important. A culture fit is not always a person who fits or matches the values of the organisation. A person with a flexible mindset, will be able to better fit in with the company’s culture.
“Technology should be leveraged while hiring people. Humans, under the influence of some bias or the other, are likely to make mistakes, but machines will not falter”
“Culture fit can also result from the adaptability and flexibility of a person. We hire people from so many sectors and organisations— some from the telecom sector, and even some from our competitors. They all come from different organisation cultures. The most important thing is to see whether they can adapt to ours,” explains Singh.
Hiring people from different company cultures will only add to the diversity of the organisation.
We can safely conclude that the concept of culture-fit hiring does not really go against the diversity agenda. It is simply the wrong perception of the concept by the hiring managers that ruins everything.
So, the right step would be to train hiring managers to understand the difference between ‘culture fit’ and ‘personal fit’.
According to Singh, “Technology should be leveraged while hiring people. Humans, under the influence of some bias or the other, are likely to make mistakes, but machines will not falter,” shares Singh.
Training managers to understand the concept of culture-fit hiring should be an important part of the diversity agenda of organisations. Companies can include relevant counselling and awareness sessions to encourage diversity and inclusion at every level.