Identifying Cultural Fit to Reduce Employee Turnover as told by a Recruiter

The fact is, employers tend to hire people for what they know (skills) and fire them for who they are (personality). Finding individuals that match your company cultural is extremely important and perhaps the number one thing you can do to reduce turnover. We take this into account in every search we conduct for any company; screening the candidates for their skills and their culture fit.

In a study of over 500 hiring managers and employees, Robert Walters found that 70% of employees left or were asked to leave because of cultural fit.

Almost 80% of employees had improved performance when they were a good cultural fit.

Employees were 66% less likely to leave and 60% increased respect for their employers when they were a good cultural fit.

The first thing employers should do is to identify their core values. This should be a collaborative effort done with leaders and subordinates alike. Core values are best identified across the entire company, but can also be identified at the department or team level.  Once your core values have been identified your group should hire fire and promote according to those values.

When someone matches your core values they add more value.  It is this match in core values that creates the cultural match so necessary in employee retention.

When interviewing applicants for your organization, use behavioral based interviewing questions to examine an individual’s past behavior as an indication of how well they will match your environment. Behavioral based interview questions ask for specific details as a way of digging deep to gain the truth.

For example, to examine cultural match we recommend asking, “What are the top three things that must be present in your work environment to be happily employed?” This generic question should be asked to determine the elements of the work environment the person seeks before describing your environment.  The idea is to seek to understand before being understood in order to avoid being given answers the applicant thinks you want to hear.

Next, ask detailed behavioral based questions for each of your core values. For example, if one of your core values is integrity you may ask, “Tell me about a time when you had to tell a little white lie that was the best for the situation.” Follow up questions to dig in could be, “What was the situation?” “What was the fib?” “Who was it told to?” “Why was it best for the situation?” “What was the outcome?”

To summarize,

  1. Cultural fit reduces turnover in significant ways.
  2. Core values must be determined and used to drive cultural match.
  3. Ask behavioral based interview questions to examine the match with your values.


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