Cultural Fitment: Boon or Bane?

Every time we tend to look at recruitment, especially at the lateral and leadership levels, we bring alive a term that has been doing the rounds forever – cultural fitment. It is a term that’s not quite defined in all aspects and a term that can change it meaning, depending on which industry or organization that you are looking to be a part of. In its loosely held form, it could be defined by the relationship of a set of attributes that makes a person vis-à-vis attributes that makes the company. It is clearly beyond the skill sets required for the job and that’s where this paradigm for jobseekers remain a fortress, uncaptured.

Where or why does cultures in organizations exist? Talking to the Vice President of a data visualization and analytics firm, he expressed that they were always looking at a certain blend of skills. Skills that sometimes are more temperamental than actual skills. He adds “we are crunching terabytes of information and trying to make sense of these numbers, therefore we are looking at people who are not just data scientists but also have an acumen to understand businesses. But more importantly, we are looking at people who can make things happen and fast, because our culture is extremely fast paced and not for the faint hearted.” This very tendency to get quality work done and fast is what the ‘culture’ of the organization is all about.

Cultures in organization exist because of 2 sole reasons. One being the organic progression of the company and second is the inorganic progression. When companies taste success early, they tend to play is safe and seldom want to mess it up with newer policies or practices. These processes, over a course of time becomes redundant and thus gives rise to a situation called ‘cultural bias ‘.  When a culture exists in a system because it was always there, cultural bias and unhealthy politics take over. Most such systems undergo or need to undergo heavy reshuffling or it becomes a toxic place to work. Organic progresses happen slightly slower and the management is in constant flux to make changes to keep the system healthy and fresh. Thus giving rise to a non-toxic environment where ethics, vision, pace and quality are given the highest ratings.

For an employee, how does one understand the culture of an organization and prepare accordingly? Well there is the company website for starters, and of course social media pages that often gives a glimpse of the work culture of the company that you are looking to apply. However, it is never advisable to mold yourself to ‘fit in’. A company that is toxic is not worth working for and a company that is not in line with your personal attributes could also be a silly waste of time for both parties. It is thus advisable to understand your strengths and try working for a company that has acknowledges the same. That way, you are able to develop a strong bond with your internal stakeholders right from the word go.

A company is platform to not just grow, but to test and understand your mettle. Deadlines, innovation, peer relation are just a few to name cultural factors that’s not taught in schools. Therefore it is critical to choose an organization that sets you in the right direction and culturally helps you discover your true potential.

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