How To Avoid Discrimination When Assessing Culture Fit
Typically, when companies are on the search for talented candidates, one variable that is assessed is the job applicant’s ‘fit’ with the organizational culture. Culture fit can be thought of as how congruent an individual’s values are with the organization. According to the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM), hiring an employee that does not fit the company’s culture can cost the company 50-60% of that individual’s annual salary. There is little debate regarding the importance of culture fit, however improper procedures for assessing culture fit can lead to bias and discrimination. According to Patty McCord, who served as the chief talent officer at Netflix from 1998-2012, focusing on culture fit during the hiring process can lead to a lack of diversity because organizational leaders often feel like those who fit the culture best are individuals who are similar to them. This is an example of the similar-to-me bias, which suggests that individuals gravitate towards others who are like them. It is critical to hire employees that are congruent with the corporate culture, but because culture fit is such an ambiguous variable to assess, companies must come up with effective strategies to assess culture fit. What can organizations do to ensure that they are preventing homogeneity within the company? How can organizations accurately evaluate and assess the culture fit of job applicants, to avoid unconscious bias and discrimination?
- It is important to establish clear and quantifiable indicators that can be used to measure culture fit. Culture fit cannot simply be a feeling. If a manager does not feel like a person is a good fit for the company, they should be able to justify why. To assess and evaluate the culture of your company, take a look at the key performance indicators (KPIs) of the organization. How does the organization gauge its performance and success? Evaluate how well-aligned a job applicant’s background is with the KPIs of the organization. Does the applicant have what it takes to help the organization reach its strategic goals? Why or why not?
- The evaluation of whether an employee fits the company should be made by a search committee or team, consisting of diverse individuals from varying backgrounds. One individual should not be the deciding factor regarding whether an employee fits the culture. If, however, the structure of the organization does not allow for multiple people to assess culture fit, there should be quantifiable measures used to assess perceived fit.