If you’re a small business, one of the most important hiring considerations you need to take into account is cultural fit. That’s because with so few employees, even hiring one person who doesn’t really gel with the team or fit in with your company culture can throw things off for everyone else. That, in turn, can lead to conflict, lower employee morale, and ultimately inhibit your business.
Let’s take a closer look at what you need to know about hiring for cultural fit at small organizations.
Why cultural fit is key for small business
Your workplace culture affects employee engagement, performance and direction, and overall productivity. Having fewer employees means each individual has a big impact on the prevailing culture. There’s no point in hiring someone who has impeccable credentials if they can’t get along with their colleagues or they might actually demotivate others.
A bad hire can have catastrophic consequences for a small business. At this scale, personalities, work practices, and attitudes are amplified. If you hire the wrong person, it could potentially poison your company culture, leading to negativity, a drop in output, and eventually even valuable employees choosing to leave. That’s not exactly a recipe for success.
In a small business, protecting and nurturing a positive culture is vital for success. Spending extra time and resources on getting the right person for a role is therefore an extremely worthwhile investment.
Hiring for cultural fit
Hiring someone who is a good cultural fit doesn’t mean looking for clones of your current employees. Instead, it’s about finding someone who buys into the company’s mission and vision, has similar work ethics and practices as their colleagues, and who will work well with the rest of your team.
When you’re interviewing someone for a new position, be open and honest about the culture in your workplace. Is it relaxed and sociable or have you adopted more of a ‘work hard, play hard’ mentality? Do colleagues spend a great deal of time collaborating or do people work in silos? Lay it out for the candidate and ask them what kind of work environment suits them best. If their expectations are at odds with the realities of your organization, then chances are that they won’t be a great fit.
What to do when someone’s not working out well
If your new hire isn’t working out and is bringing others in the company down, your first step should be to have a meeting with them. It’s not an easy conversation for anyone to have, but it’s important that you outline your concerns, and to give the person an opportunity to respond and to change their behavior. Are there any other factors impacting their performance in the workplace? Are there simple things a manager can address?
They may not be aware of the consequences of their actions and just need to be pointed in the right direction. You’ve spent time and resources on hiring them, so it may be worth investing a little more to get them on track.
If it’s not salvageable, what do you do next?
Sometimes you’ve done everything you can and you have no choice but to lose an employee who is disrupting the workplace or bringing down morale. Terminating someone is never a pleasant experience, but as a small business, the cost of keeping a difficult or negative employee is far greater than the discomfort you’ll feel giving them their notice.
In situations like these, it’s usually best to take action sooner than later. Everyone will quickly figure out for themselves if someone is a bad fit and will be looking for the situation to be resolved quickly.
Small workforce, big impact
In a large organization, a difficult employee may negatively affect that person’s immediate team but have no consequences for the overall business. In a small company, however, a new hire affects every facet of operations from employee engagement and productivity through to the bottom line. For that reason, it’s important to focus your hiring process on finding someone who will be the best cultural fit possible. If you make a mistake, don’t be afraid to let them go and start again. Your business and your other colleagues will thank you for it.
How important is cultural fit in your organization’s hiring?