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How Do you determine who fits into Your organizational culture?

When Sheryl Sandberg joined Facebook in March 2008, Facebook generated $272 million in revenue, loss $56 million with a workforce of 450 employees. Within a short space of time after Sheryl Sandberg recruitment, Facebook revenue rose to $27.6 billion, with $10.2 billion in net income with more than 17,000 employees worldwide.

Zuckerberg indicated that Hiring Sheryl Sandberg was one of the smartest business decisions he ever made because he found a star employee in the form of Sandberg. Culture fit is the glue that holds an organization together. It’s a key trait many leaders look for when recruiting because the result of poor culture fit due to turnover can cost an organization between 50-60% of the person’s annual salary, according to the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM).

But the question to asked is this; how do you determine who fits into the organizational culture.

Take a look at the model below; it’s very simple but beneficial, and it will help you manage and lead your team better to achieve culture fit. Let’s look at each one of the elements in the model in detail; while you are reading, make your mental notes to determine where your employees fall within the model.

Star Employees ( high culture fit, high performance)

The most important thing a CEO must get right is developing a great team. So when you land great employees, especially senior hires, you have to do whatever it takes to retain them. These star employees are the best fit. They perform at a very high level; they understand the purpose and seek to make everyone around them better while setting an example for everyone to follow. With these employees, you must work hard to retain and to ensure they stay fully engaged — but not so much that they get burned out (we will expand on this below). And you need to “offer positive feedback” — but not in ways that are counterproductive to the person’s growth and development.

Bad Fit ( low culture fit, low performance)

If you have an employee that is not living up to the values of the company and their performance is low, as the CEO or manager, what will you do? Take my example, when I worked in a bookstore for about three months, I was cooped up in this small store from 9:00 am to 6:00 pm with every passing second feeling like someone stabbing me with a knife in my chest. After the first month on the job, I knew this was a bad fit, given my personality, and this affected my performance on the job significantly.

I was eventually let go, and at that point, I was jobless, but it was the best thing that ever happens to me because I knew if I stayed, I was only frustrating myself and preventing the bookstore from achieving its objectives. If you have employees who are not a good fit and performing poorly on the job, unfortunately, you made a hiring mistake. As such, you are not doing anyone any good by holding on to someone who is not the right fit for the company.

Remember your star employees. In a situation like this, you may get tempted to pass on extra work to these employees. But you run the risk of these employees getting burnout and leaving. You will spend too much time with an employee who is a bad fit and unconsciously neglect the employee that fits the bill. You will lose the star and retain the employee who is not helping the company and in the process, create a toxic organizational culture in the process.

Coachable (High culture fit, Low performance)

This group of employees is tricky because they have potential, fit into the culture of the company, but they are not performing at the level you expect. As a CEO, manager, or supervisor, you can do one of two things:

1. Let the employee go

2. Coach these employees

I will lean more to coaching these employees because of their potential, and in the long run, these employees can become your stars. For example, Kawhi Leonard was drafted by the Indiana Pacers with the 15 pick and traded to the San Antonio Spurs. Leonard was an instant fit with the culture at Spurs; however, his performance was just above average. Gregg Popovich saw potential in this young player, provided all the support for his development, and now Leonard is one of the best players in the NBA today.

Everyone develops at different points, and as the leader, you can spend time with this group of employees, providing motivation, inspiration and encouragement, knowing that eventually, they will develop to become your star employees. Now you will have to determine how long this development stage will take and what systems you need to implement to give these employees every chance to succeed.

Change or Leave ( Low culture fit, High performance)

Now, this is the group where most leaders go wrong. You have someone who performs at the highest level in the organization, brings in tons of revenue for the company, but is a terrible fit for your culture. What do you do? Have you ever been in this kind of situation before? What did you do?

If you find yourself in this situation, where you have someone who works exceptionally well but does not fit into the culture of the company, you can either have a sincere talk with that employee to determine what’s the issue but if the problem persists, you may have to ask this person to leave because it will lead to a toxic culture which will be detrimental to everyone.

It is vital that organisations clearly identify its purpose, values, vision, and mission to clearly defined their organizational culture because if the company doesn’t have a shared sense of purpose, and the core values of the company are not live by the leadership, it will be challenging to recruit anyone base on the values and by extension the culture of the organization.

Remember leadership is all about people and creating a culture that will allow everyone to perform at their optimum best. When you get this right, your organisation is one step closer to becoming one of the best companies in the world.

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Bushra Siddiqui
Bushra Siddiqui
Nov 01, 2019

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