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Hire for cultural fit, train for the right IT skills

Sharon Florentine | April 3, 2014
Hiring for the right cultural fit can be more important than focusing on technical skills alone and can help companies improve employee retention, engagement and loyalty.

As organisations struggle to adjust to the new growth economy, finding top talent is one of their biggest challenges. According to a recent study from Deloitte's Global Human Capital Trends 2014, "Critical new skills are scarce — and their uneven distribution around the world is forcing companies to develop innovative new ways to find people, develop capabilities and share expertise."

But equally important is retaining talent once you've found it — making sure that your efforts to identify, recruit, hire and develop talent aren't in vain. Sourcing and hiring with retention in mind requires companies to focus less on skills and experience and more on cultural fit and development potential, says Chris Duchesne, vice president of Workplace Solutions, Care.com.

"At many forward-thinking companies, the leadership and hiring teams understand that technology changes so rapidly that, more important than discrete skills, is an employee's cultural fit and their ability to transfer their skills, experience and values to new technology, new endeavors, new paths to the organization. You can always teach and/or acquire new skills and gain new experiences, but it's hard to 'teach' culture," Duchesne says.

The Importance of Culture
The book "Tribal Leadership" by David Logan, John King and Halee Fischer-Wright emphasizes the importance of workplace culture and how it can contribute to a more successful workplace. The authors found that organizations that stress cultural fit find that, within their workforce, "fear and stress go down as the 'interpersonal friction' of working together decreases; people seek employment in the company and stay, taking the company a long way toward winning the war for talent; organizational learning becomes effortless, with the tribe actively teaching its members the latest thinking and practices; People's overall health statistics improve. Injury rates and sick days go down; and most exciting ... is that [employees] report feeling more alive and having more fun" in such a workplace, according to the book.

"Hiring for cultural fit above skills is a great idea, because you never know how much an employee will be developing, growing and changing over time — they could be in a completely different role by next year." — Todd Raphael, editor in chief, ERE.net

Identifying talent that fits culturally within your organization can be a huge step toward employee engagement, satisfaction and long-term retention.

Identifying Your Culture
Workplace culture is, at its heart, making sure that your employees' values, mission and personality align with those of your company, says Todd Raphael, editor in chief of recruiting site ERE.net.

"Hiring for cultural fit above skills is a great idea, because you never know how much an employee will be developing, growing and changing over time -- they could be in a completely different role by next year," Raphael says. "And it makes sense to do so based on the industry and market you're in, too: If you're an accounting company, for instance, you don't necessarily want to hire someone who's chaotic and extremely creative. If you're a cutthroat, uber-competitive, cutting-edge company, you don't want to hire someone who's very laid-back and not as driven by competition, for instance," Raphael says.

 

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