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Look Past the Obvious – Find an Employee that Fits!

Education, employment history and skills … For many employers these three aspects of an individual are considered paramount in evaluating suitability for hiring.

True, these three aspects are incredibly important in assessing suitability. However, they may not be the be all and end all in indicating employee performance. In quite a contrast, one of the best indicators may in fact be the level in which an individual’s personality aligns with that of the company – i.e. their cultural fit.


A concise definition of cultural fit is provided by Harvard Business Review’s Katie Bouton (2015) as, ‘the likelihood that someone will reflect and/or be able to adapt to, the core beliefs, attitudes, and behaviours that make up your organisation’. In other more simplistic terms she merely labels cultural fit as, ‘the glue that holds an organisation together’.


In focusing on obtaining an employee who is united with the culture of a company, rather than just having the necessary on paper skills the benefits may be numerous to both employer and employee. Centrally, employers enjoy increased retention and engagement whilst employees gain an increased sense of contentment from working in a positive culture with like-minded individuals.

More specifically here are some facts that truly illustrate the concrete nature that a focus on cultural fit can provide:

Increased revenue, profits and return:

According to Forbes contributor Kevin Kruse (2012), ‘companies with highly engaged employees beat average revenue growth in their sector by 1 percent while companies with low engagement were behind their sector’s revenue growth by an average of 2 percent’.

Increased productivity:

Business blog Growth Everywhere states the case for cultural fit in referencing a study from the Department of Economics at the University of Warwick. The study found, ‘happy workers are 12 percent more productive than the average worker, and unhappy workers are 10 percent less productive’ (n.d.).

Decreased Costs:

Bouton (2015) states that according to the Society for Human Resource Management individual turnover as a result of poor cultural fit can cost businesses between 50 and 60% of that individual’s salary.

Increased Quality of Candidature:

Logan Hill of Bloomberg Business states ‘Glassdoor’s Dobroski reports that job seekers cite company culture as their second-highest priority, “almost tied with salary”’ (2013).

Increased Employee Retention:

Kruse (2012) further states in his article, ‘employees with lower engagement are four times more likely to leave their jobs than those who are highly engaged’.


These are just a few of the many benefits that may be delivered to a business that has a dedicated focus on cultural fit within the recruitment process. Increased revenue, profits and productivity, decreased costs, increased quality of candidatures and increased employee retention… These are not petty elements in a business’ success. Whilst education, employment history and skills are immensely important, so too should be an individual’s personality and fit with that of the organisation they might one day represent


Bouton, K. 2015, ‘Recruiting for Cultural Fit’, Harvard Business Review, 17 July, viewed 2 February 2016, <>

Hill, L. 2013, ‘ Job Applicants’ Cultural Fit Can Trump Qualifications’, Bloomberg Business, 3 January, viewed 2 February 2016, <>

Kruse, K. 2012, ‘Why Employee Engagement? (These 28 Research Studies Prove the Benefits)’, Forbes, 4 September, viewed 2 February 2016, <>

Siu, E. N.D, The Statistical Case for Company Culture, Growth Everywhere, viewed 2 February 2016, <>


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