Don't underestimate the role of company culture in executive hiring«| Page 1 of 1 |»
4 June, 2012
Managing new hires in global executive positions can be particularly challenging, as the very attributes that make them attractive candidates can lead to failure in their new jobs.
In an article for Forbes, executive coach and author Erika Andersen cites that 89% of hiring failures are due to poor cultural fit. It’s an eye-opening statistic, which brings to light a valuable lesson: One of the major ways that companies can ensure successful hiring is to pay careful attention to whether the new hire fits the company’s culture. This applies at all levels, and is most critical at the executive level.
Andersen recounts the tales of two talented senior executives, both of whom were brought on board because the CEOs felt they could “shake things up” within the senior management team. In both instances, the newly hired executives failed within a relatively short period of time. As Andersen explains, the CEOs, having deliberately hired someone counter to the company culture, did not support these individuals in their efforts to bring about change. There was a cultural disconnect, and nothing was done to compensate for it.
Anecdotes such as these illustrate how those who underestimate company culture when hiring executives do so at their peril. Yet this is a widespread tendency, from hiring assistants to global executive recruiting. It is easy for those in the C-suite to think of “corporate culture” as something nebulous, just another buzzword that doesn't have any place in the real world. But it is actually a key factor to consider.
In avoiding the cultural pitfall, it’s important to start by assessing your company’s culture, which Anderson defines as “patterns of accepted behavior, and the beliefs and values that promote and reinforce them.”
Shared values, both stated and implied, could be considered the foundation of a company’s culture, as they influence employee motivations and day-to-day decisions. They typically pertain to attitudes and behaviors regarding how time is managed, how much emphasis is placed on cost savings, and parameters of work performance, for example.
Another aspect of corporate culture - one that is particularly easy to underestimate - is sense of humour. In a recent survey by Accountemps, more than 1,400 CFOs from American companies with 20+ employees were asked, “How important is an employee’s sense of humour in him or her fitting into your company's corporate culture?” Nearly 80% of respondents rated it as “very important” or “somewhat important.”
Company culture should be aligned with a company’s mission and goals. In turn, hiring selections should be aligned with company culture, especially for senior management positions. Due to the crucial nature of this “X-factor,” firms should be attuned to a candidate's potential fit during the executive recruiting search to ensure that the new hire will be a strong employee for the long haul.