How Do You Assess Organizational Fit?

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Posted by: David Garcia

Topics: Human Resources, Recruitment

A healthy work environment relies on a variety of moving factors. One of the most significant is arguably how well-suited your team is to your organization. 

How aligned are they with the company values? Are they even aware of what your brand values are? How are they working to enforce them? These are all questions that you need to be asking of your business.

One of the ways you can assess how successfully your brand and staff align is through organizational fit. If you aren't familiar with the term, you're in the right place. We will walk you through how organizational fit impacts your business and how your hiring team can assess it before bringing a new hire on board. We also address some difficulties you may encounter along the way. 

Keep reading to learn how you can ensure a more harmonious balance between the organization, its values, and the workers you employ. 

What Is Organizational Fit?

The success of a business relies on the efficiency of the team running it. Your business won't reach its full potential if you don't have a cohesive team backing it.

Organizational fit is a substantial part of achieving this cohesion. It refers to how well your staff aligns with your company culture. You can measure it in various ways, including how their values match up from a social and productive standpoint. 

Every business has a working culture. It starts from the top and works its way down. It influences almost everything your company does, so it is vital to establish whether or not a prospective candidate is an organizational fit with your brand. Even if just one team member feels alienated, it can severely affect company morale. 

Why Is Organizational Fit Important?

Paying attention to organizational fit is vital during the recruitment phase. It goes much deeper than simply creating a friendly work culture. We've listed some key reasons below.

It Creates a Sense of Team

No matter what industry you work in, everyone wants to feel a part of something bigger than themselves. Bringing a group of like-minded and value-aligned people together will undoubtedly increase productivity. With the right team, you can create a pleasant environment where creativity thrives. 

When colleagues like and respect one another, they are far more likely to engage with ongoing projects and help each other reach their respective goals. This team camaraderie ultimately benefits the business as a whole. 

It Increases the Likelihood of Employee Retention

Finding the right candidate for a job can prove challenging enough, but retaining them is a whole different challenge. However, if you know from the beginning that they are a perfect organizational fit, the risk of them moving on is lessened significantly. 

There is no perfect recipe for retaining staff, but ensuring they feel welcomed and belong is a significant part of it. Put yourself in their shoes. Even if you loved your job, feeling isolated and disconnected from the overall brand would make you want to move on as soon as possible.

There are obvious benefits of increasing retention, including cost savings. Consider that turnover can cost up to twice an employee’s annual salary per employee. With the potential for such high losses, it’s worth investing in retention, starting with the organizational fit. 

It Can Prove Motivating

Psychologically speaking, all humans are motivated by something they can understand, relate to, and engage with on a deeper level. If your employees feel like they can tangibly connect with your brand mission, whatever it may be, they will be more motivated to help you achieve it. 

Engagement is highly beneficial, resulting in a 22% increase in productivity. Whether it's driving sales or increasing engagement via your online platforms, employees will remain enthusiastic if they fundamentally align with the company's values.

It Can Improve Overall Performance

Happy people perform better. If your employees feel that their company represents their values and that they genuinely impact the business, they will strive to keep the forward momentum going. Job satisfaction starts with establishing a solid organizational fit right at recruitment. 

May Result in Higher-Quality Referrals

The recruitment process can instantly improve when your current employees make their own recommendations. It’s even more valuable when this referral comes from an employee who is a good organizational fit. 

High-performing employees are more likely to network with people who share their professional values, especially thanks to social media outlets like LinkedIn. The referrals they send you will be a better fit for your company, ultimately optimizing the recruitment process.

How Can a Company Assess Organization Fit Before Hiring Employees?

Knowing the value of organizational fit and how to look for it during recruitment are two very different things. Thankfully, several key indicators will give you direct insight into how well a prospective employee will fit into your work culture. We've listed some main ones below. 

Understand the Goals for Your Culture 

It is one thing for employees to understand the culture and values of your brand, but do you? As a leader at your business, you need to know your desired working culture. If you don't, there's no way you can successfully implement it.

Of course, there's no way to guarantee a specific work culture. The culture tends to emerge from the personality types that make up your team. You can guide it, though, starting with identifying your desired outcome.

The easiest way to do this is to get it down in writing. You can start by brainstorming. It doesn't have to be anything complicated or elaborate. In fact, the more essential it is, the more specific your description will be. 

Think of how you would like your staff to describe your work culture. Is there a focus on professionalism? Or do you want staff to feel more laid-back? Is there a strict schedule to adhere to, or are you more flexible? Take the time to consider what makes your business unique. 

Speak to Current Employees

Besides the vision itself, you also need to gauge the actual company culture, and no one understands your company culture better than the team members who currently represent it. Ask them what they believe the core values of the business are. 

This communication can prove illuminating in numerous ways. It may even bring to your attention that current employees aren't sure of your brand's core mission. If that's the case, you now have an opportunity to develop ways to bring about a more concise understanding. Think of it as a revision course.

Some businesses make the mistake of believing that they don't have a distinct company culture. In their mind, employees turn up, do the work, and then return home. Perhaps the environment is primarily positive, but there's nothing significantly unique about it. 

In actuality, this is never the case. All workplaces have a distinct culture. Sometimes the only way to identify it is to speak to your staff. Ask them what they think about the levels of formality, professional expectations, and the predominant belief systems of the workplace are. This feedback will provide you with a framework for future employees.

However, suppose you feel that simply asking your team what their working culture is like would prove ineffective. There are more specialized tools available. The Organizational Culture Assessment Instrument, or OCAI, is designed to provide greater insight into how your employees operate. 

Building company culture is an ongoing process. It will grow and evolve alongside your business. However, to ensure that it extends into the vision you’ve set for the company, you need to touch base with employees regularly. 

Encourage Self-Assessment From Candidates

Even before you reach the interview stage, you can gain an insight into culture fit from your candidates. At the preliminary process, you can start by sending applicants self-assessment forms. 

These are usually questionnaires that ask candidates to describe their ideal work environment. They can also assess personal values through the form of personality quizzes. 

There are plenty of quizzes available explicitly designed to assess organizational fit. A standard format is to provide statements about their preferred working conditions and indicate whether they strongly agree, disagree, or feel neutral. 

Self-assessments can't replace interviews as a means of understanding a candidate, but they can certainly help narrow down your pool of applicants.

Ask Questions Specific to the Company Culture in Interviews

Interviews can be incredibly valuable when used correctly. They aren't just about establishing an applicant's experience or competency level, though this is important. They are also ideal for further understanding their personality, values, and professional beliefs.

There are various questions and prompts you could ask to retrieve this information, including:

  • Describe a work environment where you would feel the most productive.
  • What characteristics would you like to see in the ideal boss or supervisor?
  • What workplace benefits or perks do you value most in a professional setting?
  • How important is socializing with colleagues outside of work to you?
  • Do you prefer to work alone or as part of a team? Why?

Indeed, it’s best to make the interviewee feel as comfortable as possible before diving into their values. You can start by introducing yourself and the company. Interviewees can often feel like they’re in an uncomfortable spotlight. By starting the conversation with information about yourself and the organization, you open up that space. The more conversational the interview feels, the more honesty you will get from the candidate. 

Consider How Remote Work Affects Culture

With the advent of remote work upon us, you can't consider your work culture without including it. 

Remote work can significantly alter office culture. People communicate differently over chat platforms than they do when discussing in person. The absence of body language substantially impacts how we interact, affecting your entire work culture.

If your office is entirely remote, it's even more critical for all staff members to be clear on the business's values. Since interpersonal relationships primarily drive your work culture, a remote working environment can cause that to suffer. 

Having a specific vision of your desired work culture can help remedy this and give you a clearer idea of how a potential candidate could fit into it. 

Difficulties Assessing Organizational Fit

The importance of identifying organizational fit is undeniable, but it isn't easy. Several factors make it complicated, some having to do with the subjective nature of the assessment and others with the candidates themselves. We've listed below some challenges to consider when assessing organizational fit. 

Defining Work Culture is Difficult

The first thing you need to accept is that you will never be able to define perfectly what your work culture is. In part, it is due to the subjectivity we discussed above. It is also because of how your culture will evolve over time. 

Work culture isn't static. Even if you could concretely define it, it wouldn't stay that way forever. Be open-minded when defining your work culture. You may never pin it down, but having even a loose idea can prove beneficial. 

The Process Is Entirely Subjective

Evaluating work culture is entirely subjective. Who fits in well and who doesn't is up for debate. One person may interpret your work environment as laid back, whereas another may see it as stringent and focused. 

Subjective assessment from your team largely depends on where each individual has worked previously and how they compare it to their new environment. Past experience can affect self-assessment, too. Recognizing the fluidity of work culture is essential.

Candidates Want to Impress You

You can expend significant time and resources on measuring company culture and crafting questionnaires and interview methods to optimize the likelihood of organizational fit. But the reality is that candidates are looking to impress you in interviews.

Candidates are more likely to tell you what they think you want to hear rather than being truthful about their personal views. Unfortunately, all this is counter-productive when establishing organizational fit. 

There isn’t a way to prevent candidates from exaggerating their experiences or repeating language from the company’s mission statement to force the appearance of organizational fit. However, standardized assessments can reduce this slightly as they can reveal inconsistencies in a candidate’s answers.

Compatibility and Productivity Are Two Different Things

It's easy to believe that if you and an interviewee have a great rapport, they are a perfect organizational fit. But while a connection is undoubtedly valuable, work culture is not just a measure of how well colleagues get along. 

Workplace cohesion is about more than office friendships. You could have a highly successful work culture without any social interaction whatsoever. Some people thrive in purely professional environments, which is valid too. 

Conclusion

Finding the perfect organizational fit can feel overwhelming, especially when you have hundreds of applicants to sort. However, by utilizing the tips listed above, you can better grasp how well a candidate could complement your business.

At ScoutLogic, we perform thorough screening checks so that you can rest assured that your applicant possesses the experience and qualifications necessary for the role. Contact us today if you have any questions about our process and how we can help you find the right fit every time. 

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