Why Hiring for Cultural Fit is Important for Remote Teams

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The task of hiring the right employees has always been a tricky proposition. You must invest time and money — in considerable quantities — in the hopes that you have a team that works well together. Hiring challenges are further complicated when you are attempting to recruit for a remote team. 


The Cost of Hiring


In 2016, the average cost per hire stood at a staggering $4,129, and a short year later, that number had risen by an additional $300. No matter how you look at it, the cost of hiring employees is exorbitant. Now, with a pandemic unfolding and offices retreating to virtual spaces, the complexity of hiring remotely has been added to the inherent cost already involved. Interviews are done via phone and video chat, and candidates must be vetted based on remote-work capabilities in addition to other required talents and skills.


With so much effort and an abundance of resources going into the remote hiring process, it's crucial to ensure that you hire the right candidates every time. This requires forming a strategic hiring process that considers what you are looking for in each candidate. Factors like teamwork and adaptability are commonly sought out, along with the hard skills required for each position. 


One characteristic that is often either ignored or misinterpreted is how each candidate will fit into your company culture.


Listen to Carlos Piera Serra, CEO of DH Spain & our DH Global Happiness Navigator, share that culture needs to be embedded in the organization and business strategy.



Why a Strong Culture Match Matters


Company culture has been a hot topic for a while now. Even so, precisely pinning down exactly what company "culture" is can be difficult. 


For instance, culture is often simply defined as the "personality" or "characteristics" of an organization. At other times, it is linked to concepts like vision, mission, happiness, or even complexity. In a remote culture, in particular, it is essential to emphasize concepts like communication and transparency.


Regardless of the specific definition, each company has a unique culture that defines it. On the one hand, if the culture has not been deliberately fostered, it can be distasteful, with the potential to harbor a bad reputation and turn away prospective talent.


On the other hand, if a culture has been created and cultivated with an eye toward a clearly delineated focus for an organization, it can become one of your incredible talent retention tools. When asked, 54% of employees reported they stayed at a job longer than was in their best interest, precisely because of a sense of belonging and community. Community is directly linked to the togetherness and purpose that comes with well-defined company culture.


Just because a healthy company culture is associated with the community does not mean any communal or social activity qualifies as an excellent cultural focus. Former Netflix Chief Talent Officer Patty McCord wisely pointed out that the problem for many employers is "culture fit is hiring people they'd like to have a beer with." While there is nothing wrong with having a beer with a coworker, "getting along" and "sharing interests" should never be the primary filter by which you judge a new hire. This attitude can cubbyhole your recruitment process and create a homogenous, undiversified workforce.


Instead, it is essential to identify what values are vital to your company culture. Avoid a focus on the frills, such as an interest in craft coffee or sports. Instead, list out priority values, like passion, steady productivity, and work-life balance. 


As you do this, avoid the tendency to approach your hiring with an "intuitive" strategy. Outline and clearly define what company culture values you want to see reflected in a candidate. This gives you an exact blueprint that you can use to vet each candidate.


Don't Panic After a Hire


It is wise to use company culture as a way to guide your hiring activity. However, it is also important to set reasonable expectations as you hire new members and begin to integrate them into your team.


For instance, if you find that you have hired a group of individuals who, on paper, appeared to create the perfect team, that does not mean they are going to operate efficiently and productively right out of the gate. On the contrary, there are many phases of team performance, and you must give new hires a chance to form into a competent team before passing judgment on each hire's quality.


Additionally, consider how your company has made arrangements to accommodate the priorities and values you are seeking. For example, if communication is a top priority, have you equipped your employees with remote-work communication tools? Have you gone even further and integrated assistive technologies for the deaf and hard of hearing employees so they are able to interact with your remote team appropriately? 


All of this is to say, don't panic if you fail to see the fruits of culture-focused hiring immediately. If done thoughtfully and given time, a wise hire should eventually become a valuable addition to your staff.


Include Culture in Your Hiring


There are many considerations to the hiring process, and cultural fit should always be amongst them. This should not be done in the name of finding a good social connection, but preferably one that can genuinely uphold and bolster the mission, focus, and culture of the company over time.


This will set up each hire to thrive in a work environment that they can genuinely fit into, paving the way for long term productivity and happiness in the process.


How does your organization incorporate culture into the recruiting & hiring process?


Need help [re]designing your culture to create a happier, more connected remote workplace? DH offers on-site and virtual solutions DESIGNED TO SOLVE THE NUMBER #1 CULTURE CHALLENGE HOLDING YOUR TEAM BACK.

People Strategy Sessions

About the Author

Jori Hamilton

Jori Hamilton is an experienced writer residing in the Northwestern U.S. She covers a wide range of topics but takes a particular interest in covering topics related to business productivity, company culture, leadership, and mental health. To learn more about Jori, you can follow her on Twitter and LinkedIn.


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