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Assess Your Company Culture to Insure Employees Fit

Fit between company culture and employees is essential for any business wanting to achieve growth. As Kathleen shared in the new COIN Talent Report, “If you hire someone for the right skills but they’re not a fit with the culture, they’ll fail every time.” Here's a related truth: If your employees fail, you ultimately fail as well. No one wants that! TalenTrust helps companies achieve culture fit so both employees and companies thrive.

Hire First For Attitude and Values

So how do you go about hiring people who fit your company culture? We’re inspired by this quote by Simon Sinek:

You don't hire for skills, you hire for attitude. You can always teach skills. Great companies don't hire skilled people and motivate them, they hire already motivated people and inspire them. People are either motivated or they are not. Unless you give motivated people something to believe in, something bigger than their job to work toward, they will motivate themselves to find a new job and you'll be stuck with whoever's left.

So it is not your job to motivate people; it's your job to accurately assess your company's culture and then ask candidates the right questions, to see if they share the same values and expectations. It's easy to train the right people in the skills they lack; it's impossible to change a person's character. Laying it out like that seems clear enough, right? But our experience (and the research) shows that most companies continue to focus on a long list of "competencies" rather than on character and culture fit.

Assess Your Company Culture

One major reason why companies fail to recruit this way is that they haven't fully articulated their own culture. Because of this, our first step when working with a new client is often to partner with them in doing a full assessment of company culture. It requires asking some tough questions, but this innovative approach leads to proven results.

The first part of the assessment involves trying to step back and observe your company as an outsider would.

Here are some questions to help you articulate your company culture:

  • How is the space allocated? Where are the offices located?
  • What is posted on bulletin boards or displayed on walls?
  • What is displayed on desks or in other areas of the building? In the work groups?
  • How are common areas used?
  • What do people write to one another? What is said in memos or email? What is the tone of messages? How often do people communicate with one another? Is all communication written, or do people communicate verbally?
  • What are meetings like?
  • How do employee engage with each other in the break room, over the lunch hour, and after hours?
  • What interaction between employees do you see? How much emotion is expressed during the interaction?
  • What is celebrated? How is it celebrated?

The answers to these questions are a great start, and next week we'll talk about what kinds of questions you need to be asking current employees to further assess your company culture. Finally, we'll talk about how you use all of this knowledge to conduct better interviews and make great hires.

TalenTrust is a professional services firm focused on high growth companies to ensure that they attract, engage and retain the best team, in order to achieve their growth objectives. For details on the specific solutions we offer—including strategic recruitment, consulting, employment branding, and much more—email us at

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