Illustration by Lara Borovcic-Kurir

Have you ever heard the saying “If you love what you do, you’ll never work a day in your life”? It’s true. Those that love their jobs are much more likely to have better job satisfaction, increased commitment to their company as well as being happier and more engaged. Culture of course plays a significant part in someone finding a meaningful role that they’ll love. Culturally aligned teams that share similar values reduce the issues that come with misalignment as well as improving the candidate experience. Starting the new connection, on a good note. 

So, this Valentines Day, we’re celebrating finding that perfect match. Because meaningful connections based upon shared values are going to boost employee satisfaction, and help companies to build sustainable, happy teams.  

We share our thoughts as to how companies should bridge the gap between their hiring teams and candidates in order to create a long lasting relationship. Diving into the importance of honest and transparent interactions and the positive impact this will drive. 

The problem of misalignment 

Maybe it’s a little dramatic to say that a misaligned culture in the workplace is the recipe for disaster? But it’s certainly not the recipe for success. Cultural misalignment is costing organizations approximately $1.5 trillion yearly. With statistics showing that 89% of employees that leave their jobs do so because of cultural reasons opposed to skill based factors. If culture was made transparent, it would certainly help to reduce this misalignment seen in new hires. With companies hoping to build strong, happy, successful teams, it’s crucial that they devise a recruitment strategy that’s integrated with their company culture, values and mission. 

Businesses tend to share their corporate values on their job descriptions and career websites. Whilst this may give some kind of insight into an organization, it offers a one-sided view on a company’s culture. When these values aren’t based on data they're not solely effective as it lacks relevance to the drivers of the organization's people. The same can be said for mission statements. 60% of managers believe their mission statements don’t actually reflect the reality within an organization. This gap between what’s promoted and the reality of a work environment is dangerous and certainly causing a rift when it comes to hiring for success.

We see this gap in employer branding too, which appears to be spiralling out of control. It’s actually pretty concerning to see this disconnect between what a company thinks their culture is and what it actually is. This disillusionment is leading to talent walking out the door, shortly after arriving. The storytelling by companies to prospective employees needs to be transparent and honest. 

Although many recruiters and TA’s look to personality test results to help gain more insights and align job-seekers with departments, there’s still a gaping hole surrounding the culture conversation. 

Recruitment needs to adapt fast. Especially as the impact of the pandemic has accelerated a number of challenges in the recruitment space:

  1. Misaligned cultures causing resignations - People are quitting their jobs because they’re not getting what they want. Two thirds would even consider leaving without having anything lined up.
  2. Shortage of recruiters - Recruiters are more in demand than software engineers. There were 6.8 times more recruiter jobs posted in June 2021 versus June 2020.
  3. Global competition for remote talent - In the next 5 years, remote work is expected to be nearly double what it was pre-covid.
  4. Active labour market - One third of the workforce are leaving their jobs within the first year. 
  5. Prioritization of values - Google searches for “work values” are at the highest ever.

So where does this leave HR leaders in an empowered and employee-centric labour market?

Stop filling your pipeline and focus on quality over quantity

The current recruitment process often involves TA’s and recruiters filling their pipeline with as many candidates as possible. It might increase the possibility of finding a good fit, but it certainly doesn’t solve the problem of misalignment, in fact it exacerbates it. You can only fill the role with one person, so make sure it is the right one, from the start. Quality over quantity. Right now, there needs to be a seismic shift in current thinking by recruiters & TA’s if this revolving door policy of hiring and losing talent is ever going to be slowed down. 

It’s also interesting to explore what this means for the new generation of job-seekers. Millennials currently make up half of the working population, and HR leaders have dedicated considerable resources to attract and retain this generation. With inspiring office spaces, flexible working practices and tech advancements all being set for millennial expectations. But Gen Z’s are now entering into the job market and expecting, even demanding, more than their predecessors, in terms of company culture, flexibility and technology. HR departments will need to readjust the way they attract and engage Gen Z talent if they want to retain them. Cultural accountability for organizations will be a must for this new emerging workforce.

The benefits of prioritizing cultural alignment in your recruitment strategy

Every recruiter when interviewing wants a candidate who will be able to thrive and perform well in the role and organization. But underneath this is also the hope that the candidate will be a positive force in the culture of the team and overall company, helping to support the values and direction of the company.

Cultural alignment doesn’t mean you need to agree on everything, but rather that employees and co-workers can align on the things that are important to them and the work environment.

Recruiting for cultural alignment can help to:

  • Guide an existing team in a new direction by strategically hiring a candidate with different values.
  • Support a well-functioning team by hiring candidates who share the same values.
  • Design a culture that will work as you scale your organization, particularly relevant for start-ups.

Understanding a candidate’s values upfront allows you to recruit strategically, predict candidate success, and reduce unconscious bias, helping to really drive D&I throughout the hiring process. Once you have this information then trust can be established as recruiters can acknowledge the candidate’s top priorities upfront. Going straight to the core saves time, and makes conversations more meaningful and authentic. 

People are looking for honest and authentic interactions with employers, where they feel valued and understood. They’re tired of being ghosted and wasting time filling in application forms to find they won’t fit in with the culture. It’s easy to think that prioritizing culture is for the benefit of the candidates, but aligning your future workforce against your company's values will see a positive impact for the entire organization.

  1. Retention - People want to work for an organization that has purpose and meaning. If you align employees with your mission, you can nurture a more dedicated and productive workforce.
  2. Engagement - or disengagement shall we say, is costly. With unengaged staff you can expect to see 37% higher absenteeism and 60% more errors in their work. All costly to the bottom line of any organization. On the positive side companies with an engaged workforce experienced 100% more job applications.
  3. Reducing cost - On average US companies are spending $4129 per job advertised. The Centre for American Progress estimates that replacing a single employee costs approximately 20% of that employee’s salary. This could be used in helping engagement and retention efforts. 
  4. Productivity - with a disengaged workforce comes 18% lower productivity and 16% lower profitability. Organizations capable of cultural adaptability earn 15% more than those that are less adaptive. So invest in creating a culture that puts your people at the forefront of your business, one that will initiate sustainable success.
  5. Wellbeing - Culturally aligned employees will feel happier in their jobs, as they’re united on mission and values. This will help with fostering social connections, whereby companies can see greater empathy among colleagues, inspiring one another at work and treating others with respect and integrity.

Building a happy, engaged workforce starts with understanding what matters

It may sound a bit cliché, but dating really is the perfect analogy for this. How can you find somebody that you want to date if you don’t know what you like? It’s impossible. You have to figure out what it is that you value first to work out who you’d get on with. It’s the same with hiring. Companies need to define their culture to then strategize who would work well with their teams.

For this they’re going to need data (you knew that was coming!) HR needs to collect data at scale, across the entire talent lifecycle. There are a number of ways this can be done;

  • Qualitative discussions.
  • One-to-one meetings.
  • Brainstorming sessions .
  • Company wide surveys.

Once companies have identified their culture, organizations can add to or change the existing culture through recruitment.

Understanding your culture really is the first step in creating honest and transparent interactions with potential employees. This creates an equilibrium between job-seekers and employers, which is the basis for an equal partnership between both sides. 

Finding the perfect match

So understanding what your workforce value is one thing, but getting data on your candidates, a whole other story. 

You can of course ask culture focused questions to your candidates to try and gauge their values to see if they might align well with your teams. But this is a tough call to make and can be incredibly biased. 

This in all earnest is one of the reasons that we built our recruitment feature and latest add-on Connect (Beta). A feature built out of a frustration with the recruitment space and the lack of data on culture. 

Connect was created as a solution to bridge this gap between individuals and organizations. A way of driving meaningful and honest connections based upon shared cultural values. It provides recruitment with insights on what their candidates value, enabling them to find a culture add that’s more likely to stay beyond the first year of employment. 

Connect allows companies to gain access to a whole new pool of candidates, whilst the objective data on values enables them to understand what drives specific candidates. This is super valuable information, empowering recruiters to tailor their interview questions around what truly matters to that individual, what motivates them and what they need in order to be happy and engaged in their work. 

Our platform is completely free to join. If you’d like to try it out and see how data on culture can help you build a team that love what they do, then feel free to book a demo

Written by
Claire Stone
Content Specialist

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