A recent workplace study found that 56% of employees valued a good company culture fit over salary.
But when does good company fit become just a poor excuse for bias when hiring?
Company culture sounds good in theory – but what are the practicalities of building a culture where everyone gets along, with similar beliefs, opinions and world views?
It’s a fact that we are attracted to those who are like us – who we believe are part of our ‘tribe’. Consequently, it’s usual for individuals to want to hire in their image and through unconscious bias, create a workplace where everyone pretty much thinks and acts the same way.
“It’s the way we do things around here” – is a phrase often used by companies. And sometimes that’s a good thing, but sometimes it isn’t. Sticking with the same ideals and ethos won’t see your business propelled to the next level.
Albert Einstein defined insanity as “doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results”. Turning a business around, or taking it a step closer to its aspirations, involves challenging the way things are done, and a diverse team is more likely to offer up those challenges.
The Problem with ‘Culture Fit’
Poor cultural fit can happen when an individual finds themselves working in a finance company that doesn’t suit them, and where they have very different ideas to their colleagues.
As a result of this, they can feel stifled in their work and experience a lack of identity with their team.
It can be challenging to operate in this type of situation to the best of anyone’s ability.
Hence the reason why culture fit is at the top of every hiring manager’s wish list.
The problem with culture fit is that perpetuates bias – and it has become a ‘weaponised phrase’ that many hiring managers use as a one-size-fits-all rejection tool for candidates who don’t match the company’s ideals.
Employers are often looking for team members who have the same ethos, ideals and aspirations, believing it will enable them to bond and collaboratively push the company forward towards its ultimate goals.
But where does that leave diversity?
The Rise of Diversity
Forbes recently reported that more companies are rejecting cultural fit in favour of diversity and inclusion.
Proactively hiring for difference in gender, race, age, ethnicity, outlook, etc., all contribute to making a workplace diverse. This sort of workplace tends to be very dynamic – and while not everyone will be in agreement all the time, it’s much more likely that an environment of this type will help sow the seeds of creative ideas and innovation.
Studies show that teams with an equal mix of women and men outperform male–dominated groups in terms of profit and sales, with performance peaking when a team has around 55% women.
Additionally, vibrant cultures create spaces where individuals are more likely to feel able to speak out with their ideas, knowing that their suggestions will be acknowledged and respected.
Moving Forward Versus Staying Still
‘Groupthink’, created by bringing in people who are very similar, can lead to a stagnated workforce without creativity and new ideas.
Nurturing environments, where individuals will challenge ideas and argue a different point of view, are more likely to move forward and position themselves ahead of their competitors. Phil McKinney states “Breakaway ideas that may cause fractures in the group norms are necessary for the group to progress and innovate.”
Creating a diverse team helps make for better decisions as individuals complement each other – picking up other’s weaknesses with their strengths and vice versa.
Closing the Gap
Additionally, developing a diversity policy lays the foundations for enhancing your business in terms of closing the gender gap.
And gender diverse companies tend to be more profitable, dynamic and make better decisions. So, embracing diversity in your finance organisation also means promoting equality, making a positive contribution and placing your profitable finance company ahead of competitors.
Finance organisations have a long way to go before they can genuinely embrace both culture fit and diversity. Perhaps the first step is to judge on outcomes for the business as a whole, rather than the characteristics of those within it.
Success comes not necessarily from ensuring everyone thinks the same, but that everyone has the same end goal and alternative options for achieving it. This gives the company choices when facing problems, with differing solutions and ways of working things out. And the more options you have, the faster you can get to your goal.
Hiring for character gives greater opportunity to fill your team with creative individuals who display emotional intelligence and vision.
Obviously, your accountants and FD need the relevant qualifications or experience, but they also need excellent soft skills such as flexibility, motivation and good communication.
Thriving in business is as much about letting go of the things that are holding you back – like old, embedded practices – as it is embracing new resources and diverse methodologies that might propel you forwards.
So, if you want to position your finance company ahead of the pack, my advice is to look for individuals who can add something to your business, not fit into it.
Contact Rebus Financial Recruitment or call us on 01282 930930 and let’s have a conversation to explore your options. With our help, you can achieve great things.
About Rebus Financial Recruitment
Rebus Financial Recruitment provides a specialist and focused recruitment service to its customers, which historically range from a wide variety of organisations including SME’s to large PLCs.
We strive to offer both the client and candidate a seamless recruitment experience. Using our expertise, we get to the heart of employer and employee needs; and, in doing so, we match the two perfectly. To find out more, get in contact with one of our team today, or you can call us on 01282 930930.