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Culture Fit vs. Core Values and Purpose

By: mprinz Friday March 25, 2016 comments

There’s 168 hours in a week. According to the US Department of Labor’s Bureau of Labor Statistics, the average US worker spends 28% of this time “on the clock”. Ignoring Coulomb’s Law for a minute, it makes sense to hire those who are like-minded. People who share common interests, principles and passions will likely play well together. The root of this stems from a Maslow-defined basic human need: the need to belong and to be accepted. It’s ingrained in schools, politics, religions and cults and now it’s a hot topic in HR. 

The downside of funneling for culture fit.

Anyone watching, reading or listening to the national or world news lately would agree - danger lurks in mass followings. Putting it lightly, too many people thinking the same way about the same thing can cause some pretty serious problems. In business it can lead to static growth, stifled innovation and inert ideas. 

Conformity can breed mediocrity. Instead of challenging concepts, approaches or processes, it’s easier to be the diplomat especially if you like the people involved. Emotions hijack rational thought and a “yes” culture is born because no one wants to be the boat-rocker. Look what happened at NASA and most recently Volkswagen and Exxon

In the late 80s and 90s the spotlight was on diversity. Now it’s shadowed by a born-again culture fit. One that is being driven by behind-the-scenes automated intelligence using people analytics. Decisions are made by a series of algorithms using web-scraping technology that finds stuff on applicants and interprets and reformats that stuff into a simple language for the end user (i.e. the hiring manager). The “nos” don’t make it through. 

As humans we struggle with this. So we use programmed things built by other humans to do this for us. People’s lives are at the mercy of a machine based on how they answer: On weekends I prefer to read books _____ socialize____. I’m not sure how that matters in a work environment. 

Most companies are forward thinking with a mission of growth in the front of the mind. But like-minded employees may be halting the progress. Bring back diversity. Hire deviators. Focus on filtering for those who share the same core values and purpose in business and life. And I’m sure they’ll find a way to fit in.


Culture Fit vs. Core Values and Purpose

Are the wrong things being looked at?


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About the Author: mprinz