Get Fit

Robert Half survey shows importance of cultural fit.

Get Fit

Asia Pacific

Research commissioned by Robert Half reveals almost two out of three (64 per cent) Hong Kong CFOs have hired an employee who did not fit in well with their team. According to Hong Kong’s CFOs who have hired a staff member who wasn’t a good team match, the top five reasons why employees are struggling to fit in well with their new team are: a lack of team spirit (40 per cent), lack of adaptability (33 per cent), misalignment with corporate culture (31 per cent), underperformance/lack of skills on the part of the employee (31 per cent) and an inability to work independently (29 per cent).

"Successful companies are made up of teams who work together efficiently and share common goals and values, with a working ethos essentially underpinning the company’s overall culture,” said Adam Johnston, managing director of Robert Half Hong Kong. “The biggest advantages of having team cohesion are increased collaboration, innovation, productivity and camaraderie, generally resulting in high-performing teams that bring a competitive advantage to organisations.” 

“The importance of checking culture fit before extending an offer to a candidate cannot be underestimated,” he continued, “as the lack of it is one of the main reasons why employees leave or are asked to leave. This can also incur significant costs, with non-monetary damages including increased workloads for existing team members and lost productivity, not the mention having to restart the hiring process from scratch.”

When asked what measures they have taken that have proven to be most effective when an employee was not compatible with the rest of the team, 52 per cent of Hong Kong CFOs refer to talking to the employee at hand, followed by getting support from senior company leaders (44 per cent) and getting feedback from fellow team members (38 per cent). Almost three in 10 (29 per cent) CFOs respectively have either let the employee go and/or have tried to find the employee a better-suited job within the organisation. Fifteen percent have stated the employee had left voluntarily before they were able to take measures.

“In order to minimise the risk of hiring an employee who does not fit in well with the team and corporate culture, employers need to ensure the hiring process is a thorough procedure that goes beyond identifying a candidate’s ability to do the job in question. Hiring managers also need to look at each candidate’s personal qualities to ensure a corporate fit with both the team and the company values,” concluded Johnston.

Managers can avoid the predicament of poor cultural fit by employing a few key tactics when sourcing candidates:

            1          Know the workplace culture

A thorough understanding of the company culture is necessary before being able to determine the type of employee who will fit in best. Managers should assess the culture around them and communicate this clearly to candidates through an Employee Value Proposition (EVP), thereby minimising the chances of a misunderstanding between manager and candidate.   


  2          Look for cultural fit in the job interview

Managers should ask questions that reveal insights into how the candidate works in different environments, with other people, and the management styles that suit them best. Probing into candidates’ previous experiences, both positive and negative, can also help assess whether the company culture will meet their needs. Keeping an eye on body language as well as asking questions about life outside work will also help determine their passions, values, and sense of drive.

            3          Trust your instincts

Basic hunches shouldn’t be ignored. If hiring managers think there’s something about a candidate’s response or conduct that raises a red flag, it is a good idea to pursue further investigation before making a decision. For example, if there’s a mismatch between the candidate’s body language and comments, it could be an indication their responses are not genuine. Asking referees about your concerns could provide clarity.  




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