Recruiting for cultural fit and recruiting for diversity could be seen as contradictory, but it all comes down to values.
Organisational culture has many definitions. One way to think about workplace culture is that it is “…how organisations ‘do things’ ”. At Steople we think of culture as our shared values, norms and expectations, where our values are brought to life by our behaviours. Culture makes an organisation unique – it creates the environment that you and your team want and feels comfortable working within, and that your customers and stakeholders experience when they work with you.
For there to be a good fit for your organisational culture, an individual needs to believe in the same core principles as the rest of your team (values) and act in ways that align with these values (behaviours).
If you are clear about what type of culture you want to foster and do what it takes to make that a reality, you have the opportunity to attract and hold onto talented people who are as passionate about your organisation and their work as you are.
“Depending on who is answering, diversity usually means one of three things: demographic diversity (our gender, race, sexual orientation, and so on), experiential diversity (our affinities, hobbies, and abilities), and cognitive diversity (how we approach problems and think about things). All three types shape identity — or rather, identities”.
Bringing various attributes and perspectives to your organisation increases your ability to successfully work with different clients, solve numerous problems and make different decisions. Diversity is about difference and the value of that difference.
People generally feel at ease being with others who they feel they have something in common with – which is where your recruitment team might get side-tracked into thinking that if they feel comfortable with someone they are the preferred candidate in terms of cultural fit.
It’s about your values. Values are the core principles that provide the foundation for how you work in your team, they underpin the achievement of your organisation’s purpose. Values can be shared by people born into different demographics, who have different experiences and who use different ways of thinking. By developing a meaningful set of values for your organisation and by living these values in everything you and your team do and say, you provide a solid base to build your recruitment process around.
It’s expensive to recruit someone new into your team. It takes a lot of your time as a leader to work through the recruitment process and to ensure your new team member is introduced to their role in a way that helps them to be successful. Add to that the cost of your HR team’s time, your team members’ time to help train your new person, the time it takes the new person to reach full productivity, and perhaps some recruitment agency fees, and you reach an eye-watering total cost of hiring someone new.
And if you choose the wrong person for the job, you have to go through the process all over again and spend that money all over again, plus a bit more if your team needs to cover that role for a period of time and their overall productivity drops or revenues are lost, or both.
If the person is in your organisation long enough, they may also have a negative impact on the engagement of the rest of your team and your organisation’s culture. And culture (and arguably diversity) are part of the valuable intangible assets of your business when you view your organisation through a balanced scorecard lens.
Recruiting for cultural fit and diversity means you need to know what your values are and how to assess whether someone shares those values or not.
We see many of our clients focussing on whether someone can do “what” they need to do to get their job done, but they don’t spend enough time checking whether “how” people work will fit with their values. This may be partly because it’s easier to understand if someone will know what they need to do. It is more difficult to uncover people’s values, but it’s not impossible.
The first thing you need to do is to make sure you are clear about what culture you want to foster in your organisation. We’ve used different methods, for example, surveys, storytelling, sensemaking, focus groups and observation, to help our clients understand the culture they currently have and to articulate the culture they want, including working with them to define their values.
The next step is to develop your recruitment process to focus more on whether someone is a good match to the values of your organisation – opening up the possibilities for you to bring a more diverse range of people into your team. To help achieve this, we’ve worked with our clients to:
The very first step in walking the delicate balance of recruiting for cultural fit and diversity is to get very clear about your values. To start your thinking about this, we’d like to share our Steople values:
If you’d like to know more about how we can help you recruit for cultural fit and diversity, please contact us to discuss your needs.
As organisations become more sophisticated in their use of analytical data, one of the biggest challenges is knowing how to incorporate those insights into decisions about people; who to recruit and how to get the best out of them.
Businesses often make poor hiring decisions because they rely too much on intuition and other subjective, less-valid forms of assessment. Intuition can play a role in decision making, but it needs to be considered alongside other objectively measurable data. Without the insight and clarity that comes from objective measurement, organisational strategies end up no more than an optimistic shot in the dark.
1. Does the tool really predict performance in the job? The most important thing to look for in any assessment tool for recruitment is “predictive validity” – i.e. how accurately does the tool predict future performance and/or behaviour (note: the best tools have a correlation with future performance of around .5 whereas the average to good tools are around .3 and poor tools are below this); so make sure you get this data given to you for any tool you use for recruitment and selection
2. The “so what” factor: you may use a tool that is a good predictor of performance but if you do not use a provider that can help you clearly interpret the results and what they mean for you, then you may be none the wiser. To help you understand exactly what this means for the likely on-the-job performance of the candidate then you need someone who can interpret the results for your context otherwise you may be making a poor decision. Ensure you use well qualified and commercial psychologists to help make the best decisions
3. Data Integration: no test is perfect at predicting future job performance; interviews are not perfect; CVs are often not accurate and reference checks are also very flawed; so given this you can increase your chances of getting it right by integrating the data from all these sources; one of the best ways to use psychological assessments is to use it between the first and last interviews so that you can probe into potential areas for development or weaknesses in the final interview to help make your final decision
4. Cognitive or ‘abilities’ tests: to enhance the likelihood that you will “get it right” it is best to use a combination of cognitive tests (verbal, numerical and abstract) as well as behaviour style profiles; cognitive tests when used together are more effective at predicting future performance with a correlation of about .5; when used with a highly predictive personality or behaviour style profile (around .5) you significantly increase the likelihood that you will ‘get it right’
5. Flexibility to use the right test for the right roles: you are best to use an assessment company that is not also a test publisher because you need the flexibility to be able to use the right tool for each different set of roles rather than using the same tool for all your recruitment needs; one size does not fit all roles and companies that sell tests as well as test interpretation may not be truly independent and free from bias when selecting the right tool for the job
Finding and selecting the right people at an organisation is often one of the most important responsibilities that a leader will have, and interviewing candidates will almost always be a key component of the recruitment process. Unfortunately, there’s no exact formula to choose the perfect candidate or predict how successful they will be.
There is strong research however that does show that some interview techniques can increase the effectiveness of the interview process:
When thinking about enhancing your assessment for recruitment capability, ensure you look at new and innovative assessment tools such as technology-based gamification tools along with the technical evidence to ensure the tools have high levels of predictive validity.
In recent years there has been a surge in technology-based gamification tools on the market. Many large organisations are looking for innovative ways to recruit particularly for the graduate recruitment market so we often get asked: “what is the latest in assessment tools?”
Using gamification-based tools to assess cognitive capacity is something we’ve seen more of lately. The advantage of using tools like this is that it gives the impression that your company is innovative and creative and at the forefront of thought leadership. The face validity of these types of tools can be quite high and they can seem very impressive. For these reasons, for the right candidate groups (such as graduates) we would encourage you to look into these tools.
However, because these tools are still emerging and are very new, most have not been through a rigorous validation process and so the predictive validity of these tools is low, particularly around cognitive capacity. PeopleScape suggest that you use a combination of newer gamification-based tools (for the right audiences) and evidence-based and well-researched tools where high levels of predictive validity have been proven.
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