by Anitha Brown, Managing Partner
The Importance of Cultural Due Diligence
We have all been there. You are a few months in to a new job and something is just not perfect. The work itself is on target, challenging, fulfilling, and not too many surprises. Your colleagues are professional and friendly, but you are floundering around still to find your comfort zone. It is likely that cultural fit is imbalanced between you and your new company.
In the fairly recent past, corporate culture has evolved from the scenario of if you were in business the dark suit went on in the morning, arrived at your cubicle, and preserved the time-honored tradition of being a staunch professional. Now, companies take on all sorts of personalities, expectations, and cultures which range from the still staunch professionals in dark suits and cubicles to bean bags, mandatory relaxation breaks, and shorts/jeans/tshirts as office attire.
The bottom line is that they are all correct! How a company excels in business is driven by their beliefs and success stories. It has become a critical step to not only evaluate skill requirements, but also intimately understand the cultural aspect of a new business.
Organizational culture evolves over time based on attitudes, customs and values that make up a company’s unique social and psychological environment. An organization’s culture touches all aspects of the business and it is expressed in its products, the way it interacts with it employees, customers and the rest of the world. Certainly, it will impact the new employee directly. The subtleties of culture are definitely something that can be sought out and matched to candidates with due diligence.
What is a fit for one candidate may not be suitable for another. You can teach an employee new skills but is hard to train for cultural fit if they don’t fit the mold. When there is a cultural fit, the person will naturally perform consistent with how things are done in an organization. It results in employees being engaged and focused on growth and the organization reaps the benefits. As well, the employee reaps the benefit of loving their job, not only for the skill and professional challenge, but because it is where they thrive psychologically. The opposite is true when there is a cultural mismatch. Studies show that cultural fit positively impacts performance, ability to adopt to changes and retention.
The same principles apply to staff augmentation decisions. It is exceptionally successful to take the culture fit analysis step when hiring contractors. At Amick Brown, we have built our successes on the practice of not only understanding our clients’ cultures, but staying involved after the placement with both the company and the contractor. Ongoing team building puts everyone in a position of positive communication and therefore reduces churn.
Amick Brown’s IT sourcing strategy in recruiting and staffing projects is to ensure that, apart from technical skills, there is a cultural fit both for the customer and the consultant. Our proprietary methodology incorporates thoroughly understanding the client’s cultural personality. We take into consideration the leadership and the communication style of the client’s team. At times the role that we are staffing might need a heavier emphasis on technical skills vs cultural fit. We are realistic about both the positive and negative aspects of the culture and balance our recruiting strategy for each client. We are aware of the need to strike a balance between technical and cultural fit in IT recruiting. We are proud to say that this has helped us to achieve more than 95% consultant retention with our clients. Cultural due diligence in hiring and staff augmentation makes a big difference!