Culture Fit and Employee Retention

Any rapidly growing organization requires numerous ingredients to be added in just the right proportion to the existing working mix to make it more potent and enriching in order to achieve a sum greater than its parts!

A fully-functioning organization is analogous to the human body where every organ performs its assigned function efficiently, duly monitored by the brain and controlled through the central nervous system. The body can grow and realize its full potential when each organ is provided the right microelements and nutrition to grow and operate in-sync with each other. Similarly an organization can realize its full potential only when each employee is provided with a conducive environment to realize his/her potential and is able to identify the scope for their own growth. It is here that organizational culture provides a nurturing environment, where an employee relates to the vision of the organization and feels a sense of belonging to contribute to the growth of the organization. A culture fit is what makes the employees tick in tune with the organization’s heartbeat. Culture fit is what provides the confidence, self-belief and security for the employee, who then unleashes his/her skills to drive the business forward with utmost commitment.

How important can culture fit be for employee retention? Let us first define organizational culture to understand what exactly ‘culture fit’ means. Organizational culture is defined as the collective behavior of people working in an organization. Generally, this is formed through shared and common values, work norms, visions, working language, symbolic beliefs, systems and habits – all as amorphous glue that binds the organization and its employees together.  A good culture fit is the likelihood that a prospective employee can identify with these, adapt and easily assimilate into the organization. It is no secret that employee turnover is very costly, in terms of lost revenues, lost opportunities and recruitment cost as well as the lead time to hire fresh talent. Retaining an on-boarded employee is the best option and culture fit is one of the major binding forces that can aid employee retention.

A culture fit plays a big role since employees that don’t assimilate well with the existing organization tend to have decreased work satisfaction, reduced productivity and lead to dysfunctional teams. Avoiding this scenario at all costs is important especially in a sensitive and stressful period when an organization is in its growing phase. A well-knit and strongly bonded team with common values can prove more resilient, agile and adaptable. There are greater benefits too, such as better work satisfaction, performance, wellness and retention rate. When an employee realizes that the organizational culture supports achievement of professional and personal goals, there is a greater likelihood of job commitment, ownership, and happy employees. Better performance leads to teams enjoying a great work environment striving to achieve larger goals. It is obvious that happier, engaged and productive employees would stay longer and grow with the organization. Moreover, from the organizational perspective this ensures alignment of organizational culture with business strategy and willingness of people to work together toward achieving a common goal.

It would be worthwhile to have a look at the other side of the coin too. Complete dependence on culture fit might breed teams with the same cultural thoughts and values. Convergence of same thought patterns and agreement on everything would make it difficult for business to become innovative. Looking for diversity in culture is crucial for the cultural fit argument to succeed. While it’s good to have an organization of well-tuned in-sync people, it’s important to have a diverse yet balanced mix to ensure sustained creativity and innovation. Different views and perspectives should also be valued and an endeavor to recruit diverse employees who relate with the key values of the organization should be encouraged. Employees thus on-boarded would provide best of both the worlds -a culturally good fit for the organization along with infusion of fresh ideas and perspective.