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How Important Is Culture Fit for Employee Retention?

Culture fit in any organization is critical to employee retention. Culture fit has been a media buzz word in recent years, but it can be hard to define. Lots of conversations about it go something like this:

“We need someone that is a good culture fit" or “He’s just not a good culture fit....”

We are all looking for culture fit when hiring, but we aren’t always sure just what it is. You can be sure of one thing though, you’ll definitely know when it’s a bad culture fit. Culture fit is crucial to employee retention because it means that the employee’s values, behaviors, and beliefs are in line with the company’s vision. If someone on a team doesn’t believe in the company mission, it can be hard to work toward the goal of achieving it. I see cases all the time where a candidate has a great resume, vast experience and maybe even an Ivy League MBA in their pocket. Hiring managers salivate over these types and want to hire them based only on their impressive resume. This is a mistake because people who look great on paper and their cultural fit is untested before hiring will be out the door as quickly as they entered.

When there’s a good culture fit, everyone can feel it. Employees that fit into the company culture will be more loyal, more highly engaged in the workplace, and less likely to jump ship when times are tough. That’s why it’s important to find employees that are a good fit for your company.

Here are a few ways to determine if an applicant is a good culture fit...

Ask the candidate to define their ideal workplace culture.

This one surefire way to know if you are on the right path with this person. Since it is so hard to know just from looking at their resume if they will be a good culture fit for the company, hearing directly from them is a good way to find out if their values and attitudes match up with the company’s. This could be in the form of a preliminary screening question, or during the interview itself.

Assess how the candidate fits in.

It’s always a good idea to test out a candidate’s cultural fit live and in-person. You can do this by inviting them to sit in on a meeting, join a team lunch, or a meetup for coffee. Their interactions and behaviors during these moments can be very telling of how they will behave in the actual day-to-day workplace.

Form a hiring committee.

Having an extra set of eyes is beneficial to any process. Forming a committee to evaluate candidates that is made up of managers, team members, and HR representatives is a good way to make sure that the assessment of cultural fit doesn’t rest with only one person. It’s an excellent way to surface any concerns and have a conversation about whether or not team members can see themselves working with the person in question.

Hiring for cultural fit is not easy and it certainly isn’t fast. Though, it will pay off in the long run in terms of employee longevity and productivity. So, take your time to find the best culture fit for your organization.


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