While a lot is talked about work life balance, there is no fixed definition of what it means, because it can mean different things to different people. Let us first define what it is not.Work life balance does not mean scheduling equal number of hours for work and personal life.
It can vary on a daily basis and there is no fixed formula to achieve it. When it comes to achieving work life balance, there is no one-size fits all, that everyone must strive to achieve. It varies for each individual based on their situation in life and their individual priorities.
An effective work life balance is the right combination of two components- achievement and pleasure. When an individual can find meaningful daily achievement and pleasure in each of the four life quadrants of work, family, friends and self, they achieve, what can be called, a positive work life balance.
While individuals stress more on personal lives while discussing work life balance, it is important to know that finding satisfaction at work is equally important.
Why is work life balance important?
While work life balance has been a challenge that has existed for decades, it has become even more challenging during the work from home scenario and with the technological changes that has made it possible for workers to stay in touch 24 hours a day and seven days a week.
Increased working hours, lack of rest and reduced time for personal life, all leads to stress. The stress has further more increased with the work from home situation.
While some amount of stress can be productive, prolonged stress can lead to burnout and even mental health problems.
Over a period of time, it also weakens the overall immune system making people vulnerable to headaches, common colds and even heart diseases.
Work life balance is a critical part of a healthy work environment that is needed to reduce stress and prevent burnout in employees.
Constant stress can affect their mental and physical health adversely by causing fatigue, mood swings, irritability and overall decline in productivity at work.
By creating a work environment that allows employees to maintain a healthy work- life balance, employers can maintain a healthier workforce, reduce absenteeism, improve retention, increase productivity and overall save a lot of money.
While discussions around work life balance is not new, it is becoming increasingly important as more and more people in the workforce are struggling with it. It is mainly because of the following factors:
Most organizations usually have fixed policies that may or may not suit individuals. It gives them little or no control over their lives and leaves them struggling on a day to day basis.
The pandemic work from home situation has resulted even more stress on the employees adding much more imbalance to the work life situation.
Technology has made employees accessible to work, around the clock and seven days a week. Fear of losing their job or losing a promotion further incentives working for longer hours.
Addiction to gadgets does not allow people to unplug and switch off. As the millennial’s call it, FOMO (fear of missing out) is a real challenge that makes them constantly glued to their gadgets and check their messages and e-mails, constantly, even beyond working hours.
Rising use of social media not only wastes a lot of time but also causes dissatisfaction as people increasingly seek perfection, looking at the lives of other people.
Over the years, people are getting more ambitious and competitive. They are not only looking at materialistic incentives but also seeking higher acknowledgement and appreciation at workplace and want to climb the corporate ladder at a faster pace.
Due to the increasing work demands, people let go of some important components of a healthy life like eating healthy, sleeping well and exercising. This along with the added work stress, reduces the immunity of the body and leads to mental clutter.
All of these factors contribute to stress over work and leave little or no time for family, friends, physical activities or hobbies, thus, causing work life imbalance.
The Indian Scenario
Globally, Indians are known for working long hours which does not necessarily translate into higher productivity.
It upsets the work life balance, reducing the productivity further. One of the primary reasons for this is a late start to the workday.
In most Indian organizations, the workday starts anywhere between 9 AM and 11 AM and finishes anywhere between 6 PM to 10 PM.
This hardly leaves any time for families, hobbies or any other personal activities.
Future the work from home situation has created much more imbalance.
Even if a few people try to start early and leave early, it becomes difficult especially when they need to collaborate extensively with other colleagues who still start late and leave later.
Additionally, leaving early from work is often seen as a sign of not doing enough work. Managers and colleagues still associate productivity with the number of hours spent at work.
67 percent employees responded that they ‘sometimes, often or always think about work when not at work’
Nearly half said that said that it was affecting their personal lives with either them or their partners becoming irritable about the lack of work-life balance. This becomes more significant as 54 percent of respondents were single
Stress-related illnesses were common – these included lack of sleep (17 percent), depression (16 percent), anxiety and irritability (9 percent), hypertension (4.5 percent), back pain (15 percent), headaches and fatigue (14 percent), and obesity (5 percent)
Nearly 33 percent of the young professionals found technology (laptops and mobile phones) an issue in managing family with work commitments
Hindrances to work-life balance included meetings, calls and training after office hours (18 percent); and negative attitude of supervisors towards work-life balance despite the policy (11 percent)
Here are 15 proven ways to improve work life balance in your employees in your company. (Including work from home situations)
Work life balance means different things to different people.
What complicates it further is that currently there are five generations in the workforce at the same time and each generation has their own set of priorities.
While several organizations now are understanding the significance of maintaining a healthy workforce with appropriate work life balance, it is becoming a daunting task for employers to promote a healthy lifestyle, take care of the physical and mental health of the employees while doing what it needs to do, that is, running the business.
Broadly, the organization needs to keep these things in mind while incorporating work life balance related initiatives:
1. Increase awareness of leaders, managers and supervisors
Employees who have a supportive manager, experience less anxiety in relation to their work, have greater job satisfaction and a better work life balance.
Even when organizations have flexible policies, employees, often, do not use it because they fear that they might be perceived by managers as someone who is not very serious about work.
Therefore, before implementing any policies, it is extremely important to educate the managers on the organizational benefits of providing employees with a healthy work life balance.
Being a representative of the organization, supervisors have the power to encourage the team members to use friendly policies.
Employers need to realize that the workplace culture has a huge impact on the satisfaction levels of employees.
They need to focus more on creating a happy workplace and a healthy work culture. While a competitive compensation is sure to attract and retain the best talent, what is also important is comfortable working conditions, opportunities for professional growth and creating social connections.
While organizations are increasingly getting aware of the need for work life balance, implementing measures without knowing what employees need might be ineffective.
To find out what they need, a survey can be conducted covering various balance related factors like number of working hours, support for working parents, flexible scheduling of work etc.
This will help the organization identify specific areas that need attention and implement solutions for the same.
Educating Employees: While organizations can take several measures, there are certain things that employees need to do to achieve a better work- life balance.
Organizations can play a crucial role by educating them through seminars, webinars, training programs or even e- learning. It can help them with simple everyday tools that they can use to reduce stress and achieve better work life balance.
4. Setting client expectations
Even when organizations do not encourage employees to work after hours, often clients call and employees find it difficult to say no.
Defining the working hours for clients early in the relationship can go a long way in ensuring that the employees can find dedicated time for their personal lives.
Specific resources can be allotted to clients to help on holidays and weekend, if the need be. When employees are not encouraged to work overtime, they are more productive during the working hours.
5. Flexible working hours
Allowing employees to have flexible working hours, especially during the work from home that can encourage a healthy work life balance.
It can be done in several ways like specifying weekly working hours rather than daily, defining core hours in a day where the maximum work is needed or not specifying work timings at all till the time the work gets done.
This allows employees to cater to their family needs without compromising on work.
The most common reason why working parents struggle to find a work life balance is lack of adequate child care facilities.
Having a creche at workplace, or tying up with good child care facility nearby can help the organizations support the child care needs of working parents.
Also, organizations can have the provision of a parent- child office that the employees can use in case the regular child care option is not available on certain days. These measures can take away a lot of stress and help the working parents find a better work life balance.
13. Identifying burnout
The managers must be trained to identify signs of potential burnout like excess absenteeism, clearly visible exhaustion and increasing number of errors.
Simple steps like giving an early leave or providing support with work can avoid a bigger health problem and help the organization retain valuable talent.
Organizations should aim to simplify administrative processes by automating them and scrapping the ones that are not required.
This will help the employees use the available benefits and make better decisions regarding their health and well- being. It will also free up a lot of their time that can then be used for productive work. I
t reduces unnecessary stress from their work day, ensuring better balance.
15. Focus on quality and not quantity
Employees must be encouraged to work efficiently rather than by counting the number of hours. Working longer hours does not necessarily lead to higher productivity.
On the contrary, it can reduce the efficiency, increase stress and affect the employee morale adversely. Focusing on efficiency not only improves productivity, but also ensures the employees that they are trusted to complete their work without constant supervision and micromanagement.
Most of these are inexpensive ways of reducing work related stress and improving work life balance of employees.
Company Culture has a way of evolving organically or inorganically, whether the management deliberately worked on creating a particular office culture. The principal contributors to company culture are the top management, Human Resources, employees, and the image your company is trying to create in front of clients and investors. While some aspects of work culture can be premeditated and worked on, some points develop on their own, and the company eventually learns to live with it.
Company culture reflects your company’s personality that is embodied by the management, employees, social media posts and profiles, presentations to clients, and the degree of hospitality they receive, holiday parties as well as billboards that let the world have a glimpse into the soul of the company. It is an unwritten code of conduct, the filter that everyone and everything wears, and the behavioral pattern that is expected to be followed by everyone who is on the payroll of the organization.
Company culture is not a frivolous value that must be taken lightly. It ultimately becomes who you are as an organization, and can dictate who is hired or fired, based on how well they adapt to the work environment. The absence of robust company culture can result in employees that lack passion and loyalty for the organization and the staff suffering from low employee morale.
Companies with an influential organizational culture produce directors, executives, and top management with similar leadership qualities and a workforce with the same approach to problem-solving, troubleshooting, and task management. These qualities are the ones influenced most by company culture.
Research shows that employees of the same company, irrespective of their placement in the organizational hierarchy, display a standard list of leadership skills that may be different from people with the same job profile working in a different company. This applies to employees with the same roles across different companies, including those from the same industry, region, and country.
Let us envision an Indian software engineer who works for a global search engine company. Working for this mega-company tells us more about his leadership qualities and work ethics than the knowledge of him graduating from a particular IT University, or that he is of Indian origin. His capabilities will be similar to employees of American companies rather than being identical to Indian software engineers working in Chennai.
Importance of Company Culture for Freshers or Aspirants
Company culture is essential not only to current and existing employees but also to who your new employees will be. If an organization is well known for its positive work environment, it helps build its reputation as one of the most desirable companies to work with. A college fresher will prefer to wait a little longer or accept a lower salary if he gets the opportunity to work with a company that is known for possessing values he also shares. This results in finding a perfect match that benefits both the organization as well as the employee.
Similarly, if a company is a mismatch for the candidate, he may be able to hold his new position only for a few months, until he breaks entirely and can no longer pretend to like the office culture. This often happens when leaders and higher management have a very different mentality, treat work differently from the employee, and use assessment and appraisal methods that may not seem ideal to the candidate.
When the candidate pre fits into the office culture, he is more likely to build a strong bond with his colleagues and work better in group projects and assignments. A feeling of happiness comes from being part of a company that shares the same values as the employee and makes even difficult and longer tasks easier. The employee is also motivated to contribute new ideas, work longer hours, and complete assignments that may not necessarily be a part of his formal job description. This also results in the employee sticking around in the company for years, growing at a fast pace, and an increase in love and loyalty for the company.
An important point to remember is that technical skills and qualities can always be taught to new employees. However, getting acclimated to the work culture is a natural process and cannot be forced upon anyone.
Employing the Right Candidate
To save the company from spending time, resources, and salaries, methods can be used to ensure only the candidates that fit perfectly into the company’s work culture are employed and trained. Many companies take 2 sets of interviews to ensure all aspects are taken care of. One interview may focus on the candidate’s skills, resume, and capabilities. The other interview may focus on aptitude and psychosocial behavior, which can help identify how well the aspirant will fit into the work culture.
Companies with an influential organizational culture have a low staff turnover rate as opposed to companies with the weak work culture. A reduction in staff turnover rate automatically saves the company money, time, and resources, which get spent in conducting interviews, paying for advertisements to attract freshers, and flying in candidates for personal meetings and signing of employment contracts.
When employees fit into the organizational culture, it is not only the management who is the benefactor but so are the employees. While both are extremely important on their own, they are what make up the organization’s strength. An employee that suits the company is happier as a result of which his productivity almost doubles when compared to an employee that merely exists. Being happy and working well are co-related and form a vicious cycle, which soon becomes impossible to interrupt.
A cheerful employee, who is content with his employment, has a higher chance of getting promoted quickly. Such employees also contribute to the company by giving social support, and in return, they add to the organization culture. This is because they are satisfied with their work, the form of appreciation they receive, and the adrenaline rush they experience.
There are times when employees do not fit in. As unfortunate as this is, the company ends up suffering more than the employee. While the employee still gets his salary at the end of each month, even if it is mediocre work that he submitted, the company loses on potential productivity, profits, and new ideas that could have come from these employees.
A company that has a weak culture may often find itself in this situation. Not appreciating an employee, ignoring his hard work, and expecting more than what is possible from a person with his technical abilities can lead to the employee not having a drive to perform better. As a result of this, the desire to come to work is reduced, the energy to sit for long hours in the evening dies, and no initiative is ever taken from such staff members.
Culture May Be Better Than Compensation
An excellent salary package may lure a candidate into a new job; however, what retains the employee is not compensation but the company’s holistic environment. The Importance of company culture should be given the right space and recognition it deserves. A company that pays its employees’ prize money for problem-solving or for a solution to a task that may seem impossible produces a lower rate of success. However, a company that appreciates and offers recognition to the employee for completing a difficult job sees a higher rate in performance from employees. This is a natural human tendency at its best.
Monetary compensation may retain your employee until he makes the money he needed or finds a job that pays more. Still, a powerful and happiness-inducing corporate culture will ensure that your employees do not leave you high and dry for more money from a job that doesn’t give them internal satisfaction.
How to Develop Company Culture?
While there is no fixed formula that can guarantee the development of successful company culture, specific steps can be taken to ensure your company is slowly headed towards making an impactful culture. Each company is different in addition to the differences found in the industry it caters to and the country it exists in. However, the personality of the CEO and board of directors contribute a great deal in the development of organizational culture.
Learning from past mistakes is the first step that must be taken while developing a healthy office culture. If something done in the past did not produce positive results, let it go and look for an alternative approach.
Try and establish a culture that is not a façade over the real values of the company. If you are true to your employees and show your actual side, they will do the same for you. Being authentic is extremely important. If you, as an organization, know your personality, try building more along those lines. If your core values are strong and shared by all staff members, the emotional bond that the company will have with its employees will always be unbreakable.
As it has already been established, hiring the right crew goes a long way and cuts your efforts by half. Try finding yourself in every candidate. This can also be achieved by having relaxed conversations at interviews instead of making earnest and technical conversation. When discussed in an interview, simple life events relax the applicant, change their body language, and open up more naturally.
Lastly, ensure that the entire office is like a large family. Having an easy to approach vibe makes it possible for employees at all levels to communicate and express their ideas and issues and make substantial contributions to the company and its success. Top management should also shed their old school ideology and lean towards the office culture to get their cue.
Establishing a work culture that makes people want to wake up in the morning and enter the workplace with a smile on their face is not as difficult as it may seem. With the right attitude and effective steps, a thriving company culture can be developed and sustained.
Company Culture, a Boon or Bane?
Company culture is a compelling device. Organizations have to struggle and contemplate how to maintain a culture in a way that doesn’t start affecting future expansion and merger plans. If leaders and top management of the company are deeply ingrained with the company culture, merging with a new company means ensuring both companies are a good match for each other. When a larger one also acquires a smaller company, the rate of success is higher when the new portion of the company adapts well to the existing culture of the larger company. If they do not match with each other, friction is created, resulting in malfunctioning, losses, inability to meet the company’s goals, and merely putting an unsuccessful merger.
When two companies merge, a higher rate of success is achieved only when employees are accustomed to a similar work environment and management styles or when both organizations have a culture that accepts new changes openly. Once new changes start getting approved, it is possible to drive the culture in a dominant direction by ensuring future hires also represent the values the company wants to focus on.
A company new or old should not be free of company culture. Without a healthy work culture, there will only be chaos, confusion, and absence of any direction. The company culture matters as much as balance sheets at the end of the year do. Its high time all organizations, big or small, start valuing the Importance of company culture.
The current scenario has brought the world to a halt. The pandemic has affected not only health but also the routine and lifestyle of people. The world’s economy has drastically declined, and the helplessness has given rise to frustration amongst workaholics. The initial weeks must have felt like a nice vacation, but now that it’s been a long time, there is agitation and suffocation all over the place.
Those who have a habit of going out very frequently are now trapped in the house for months and cannot cope with things. There is a reduction in salary due to the drop in the economy. People are expected to work to bring normality in the world and to keep themselves busy. There are numerous factors to keep in mind when it comes to lockdown and work from home. There is a lack of work environment, a lot of disturbance and chaos. One is expected to do both house and office work due to their availability at home. There is frustration because of low income, and one has to continually look for solutions to make ways to pay rents and fees. People are not able to keep track of days and minutes.
Time is running at full speed, and it also seems like it isn’t moving at the same time. There is a lot of denial and depression all around the world. Things are no longer smooth, and hence the work-life balance is taking a toll on everyone. There is a lack of privacy and space at home, which also adds to the agitation. The workload of the company is the icing on the cake. Hence there are some ways in which work from home can be made fun and encouraging.
The following 15 steps can help guide the employees towards good work from home experience:
Don’t follow the routine that was developed before the world flipped out. Set a time table and distribute all the activities so that there is enough time for everything. Allotment of time and proper schedule can keep one glued and motivated throughout the day. Given that work from home may not have a fixed start and end time, it can cause a lot of stress and pressure if one doesn’t have a firm stand as there could be a possibility to be taken for granted. One will be expected to receive calls as per the convenience of others, so it’s essential to be firm.
2) Make a checklist
Putting a tick before each task is very satisfying and can encourage one to keep going without getting frustrated and tired. The time table should be such that there is enough buffer time between each activity to avoid lag and frustration.
3) Adapt to a healthy lifestyle
The way the day has begun for someone has much influence on how the rest of the days will go. The lockdown is the perfect time to start the healthy habits that one has always wanting to do but couldn’t due to time constraints. The day can begin with early morning meditation and exercise, followed by a wholesome, healthy breakfast, and a refreshing shower. The healthy start to the day will keep one energetic and active. Starting the day with eating something nutritious instead of junk can not only help in boosting immunity but concentration as well. Early to bed and early to rise has always been the go-to mantra for all.
Since it’s impossible to go to a particular place to do the office work, some limitations should be made for the family members so that there is no expectation, disappointment, and confusion later. The family members should be considerate and understand that it is impossible to entertain household activities in the middle of the work.
5) Work like the environment
It is challenging to get the feel and seriousness of work when done from home, so in such a case, there must be an environment made for employment. Just like playrooms and study areas are made for kids at home in the same way, a portion of the house can be dedicated as a workplace. Table, chair, stationaries, and other relevant things can be kept together and organized in a way that it gives the workplace vibes. One can stick post it’s and decorate that area; however, they want to replicate the look of the cabin they have in their office. To further get the seriousness, it is also advisable for people to sit for work in their office look as it will help them concentrate and get the feel of being in an office.
Factors such as the appliance used and the connectivity of the internet and signal should be kept in mind. If the laptop is not in its best state, then it can make the work more frustrating. Get the computer fixed and make sure that there are proper connectivity and signal at home. Buffering and slow internet can instantly boost the frustration level.
Like every healthy office environment, employees have a habit of talking to their colleagues and discuss the reports and other office-related things. Since sitting together in one place isn’t possible anymore, there is still an option to stay connected with friends from the office. A video call on zoom or Skype with a colleague can help to reduce that problem. The video call will not only help in interaction but also aid in motivation. One employee can get motivated by looking at another one, and it can help in encouraging them to work and make them realize that they are not alone.
The heads of the office must remain in constant contact with their employees. An update should be given to those in the office to prevent them from feeling blank and out of the loop. It should be the boss’s responsibility to have a one to one interaction with every employee to identify an issue that he/she is facing while working from home. Regular conference calls and meetings can help the employees in staying busy and connected. It will add familiarity and less amount of change for the employees.
The work allotted to the employees should be done along with a deadline. If not given by the boss, then the colleagues should set a deadline for one another. This will keep people busy. Work will be done on time and keep everyone engaged. The deadlines along with the checklist will help one realize that some productive work has been done, and feeling of hopelessness and frustration will be significantly reduced.
Events and activities that are usually done in the office should be continued. Games should be organized regularly, to keep the energy alive and to bring some enthusiasm back. Employees can take turns and plan games for the weekend, and these games can be based on their area of interest. This will help bring out hidden talents, act as an ice breaker, and erase the feeling of boredom and monotony. If the concept of celebrating an employee’s birthday is there is an office, then it should be continued. The employee should be made to feel special by receiving warm wishes. This, too, can be done on the video call. The lockdown can be utilized to bring the employees together and fill in the gaps.
11) Work on the weaknesses
The boss should make an effort to motivate and boost every employee’s confidence. Tasks and activities should be given to the employees so that it enhances their performance at work. The negatives and positives should be identified, and the employees should be made to work on them. This will boost their confidence and also encourage them to do better.
12) Incentives and bonuses
The companies that are well established and are not showing any loss in business can take it as an opportunity to increase the salary of their employees. There is much money saved from travel, electricity bills, and other expenses. The money saved by the company can be used to give a bonus to their hard-working employees; this will reduce the pressure on their heads and also keep them cemented to their work.
13) Give feedback
There should be transparency between the company and its employees. The employees should be allowed to give their views on how the company is being run; there should be room for ideas and suggestions by the staff. An approach to improve the way the work is being done can benefit the company and its employees. The employees should also receive feedback from the company, and their performance should be assessed and discussed. This will help keep a performance track of every employee and reduce the possibility of friction and confusion.
Now that the work needs to be done from home and there is nowhere to go, there is an advantage of flexibility. In case, due to some home-related chore, the exact time table was not followed, it should not become a reason for agitation and irritation as one should keep the option of modification in mind. If the work assigned is not done in the morning due to some reason, then one should not panic, the work can be done in the afternoon or evening. There is a lot of travel time that is being saved, so it is fine to not stick to the exact schedule all the time. However, one should try to follow the routine as much as possible because otherwise, it can nullify the entire purpose.
One cannot sit in one place for long, sitting in front of the laptop in the same posture all day can be tiring and unhealthy at the same time. It is advisable to take 10 minutes to break after every 45 minutes. Work without a break can lead to tiredness and fatigue. Small breaks can help to keep it active for the rest of the day. The phone calls from the office can be taken by walking while having a conversation. It will not only help in having some mobility but also help one to wake up from sleep. Healthy snacks and beverages can also be consumed while at work to get energized.
It all comes down to the perspective one has. Work from home can undoubtedly be confusing and frustrating, but one should also try to look at the other side of the road. Staying at home for months can help members of the family to reconnect and bond again. This wouldn’t have happened if one had to sit in the office away from home for hours.
There is much money that is being saved due to the lockdown. This can help in refining one’s accounting skills and can build the habit of saving. The work from home concept has made people realize that a balance between work and home can be created. The ones who don’t usually help at home have realized that they have hidden talents and can also cook well.
The time away from the office environment can be utilized to stay fit and in help in personality development. New skills and programs can be learned in an enormous amount of time. Digital engagement activities should be incorporated exclusively. Online courses and skills determined can enhance CV and improvise knowledge and work performance.
Companies should encourage their employees to do better and identify the potential they have. The daily dose of encouragement should be given in the form of calls and webinars. Influential personalities should be invited to give talks and address the budding talents in the office. This is the time for unity and teamwork, and hence the energy should be put towards positivity.
A planned routine and focussed approach can help in making the work more manageable than it looks. Support from the family and a comfortable environment can further enhance the ease of work. Engage in activities that calm the mind, listen to music, read a novel, or talk to a friend when taking small breaks between tasks. Allow the brain to rest, eat healthy, and take short naps to refresh the body and soul.
Things should be slowed down in terms of work, and the rush can add to the stress and tension. Hard work, dedication, and determination are all that is needed, whether it is about working from home or away from it, the key to success remains the same.
Cultural fit is quite popular in today’s date in the HR industry, not only in conversations among the human resources team but is also being used as a replacement for what was known as the gut feeling factor in the old hiring process. Many times we miss out on a key individual who could have been an asset if we had hired them.The job market is becoming increasingly competitive, and the job cultures are turning diverse. At this time, hiring the right people is more important than ever before, because, a candidate once rejected will not turn back to you.
Google defines cultural fit as when the core values, beliefs, and personality of the candidates match those of the company.
However, it is believed that cultural fit is a ‘myth.’ When hiring a candidate, the most important thing to check is his or her knowledge and exposure. A candidate lacking from a western country with expertise in the same domain will fit better in your company rather than a native guy with poor skills.
“Culture fit” as a term is defined as how well someone “fits in” to the organization by hiring managers and firms. Moreover, when you talk about “fitting in,” it is easy to relate that term the same way we think about “fitting in” socially—hence many companies think the best way they can do is hire candidates they can chill around with. This definition of “culture fit” is mostly flawed and can lead to bad hiring practices.
“Culture fit” is just about one thing and one thing that should only matter to you is- how well the individual will do their job within your specific organization. Furthermore, your organization is much more than just happy hours and social gatherings.
However, It is important to make cultural fit checks in the candidature before you hire them and invest your time in them. It is more relevant for the employee and the employer if their values, beliefs and personality match. However, basing your decision wholly on it will be a bad idea. In this piece, we will analyze both sides of the coin and will leave it on you to take a call.
A positive environment in the workplace helps retaining employees for a more extended period and improves employee self-esteem, which results in high production and decreasing recruitment cost. The healthy environment in the office improves employee’s confidence in employers and creates healthy competition among employees. Well, all of that is possible only if you have a ‘cultural fit’ candidate, and there are no inner conflicts of interest between the employees.
“We have clients that range from 40 people to 70,000 +. They vary wildly between business type, industry, and technology. The one unifying factor is the need for a unified culture. I have seen a lot of unique hiring processes, but companies mainly focus on culture. In the recruiting role I get to speak with dozens of individuals every day and hear about their job search and experiences,” said Andrew Rangel, an IOS developer trainer, who deals with new candidates all the time.
“We specialize in IT recruiting, so skill is very important to the role. We have several individuals that fit the skill set and the job description to the “T”. They were perfect fits for the opportunity. They went through the rigorous three + stages of interviews but were not given offers. Why? They simply were not good fits for the culture. Even though IT is in high demand and currently their unemployment is in the low 4%, companies are still willing to turn down individuals that do not fit the culture,” he added, explaining how sometimes cultural fit can be so important.
When the market is largely down, and the country is dealing with a high unemployment rate. It usually happens that the candidates end up faking and making things up, which does not go with their personalities during an interview. However, you think it’s a match based on their views and values they told you about them in a 30 or maybe 40 minutes interview, and you end up believing in that.
Fake pretending ‘cultural fit’ can end up causing extra harm to your organization than you expected from the team of cultural fit employees. It is a fact that employees whose ideologies do not match with what of their employer, usually end up leaving the job, which directly and indirectly affects both the parties. The fewer similarities between employee and employers in what drives them
Monotonous Work life
Diversity at a workplace is essential. People from different backgrounds and age groups bring variety to the work, and each serves a new dish on the table with their diversified perspective. Hiring people with the same mindset, values and work ethics is similar to employing one person, over and over again. This not only brings monotonous rhythm in the work environment but also affect employee engagement. The main problem with hiring for cultural fit is, people tend only to hire people who look and sound alike. Instead, a team should be of differing perspectives but shared values.
Hire and exchange value
No one is born with cultural values. We adapt it from the environment we live in, and we shape ourselves that way. An employer when hiring an employee should be open to change in order to add assets to its team instead of bringing in a ‘cultural fit’ liability.
The culture in business changes depending on the need of people in the business at any time — it is not static. Instead of matching candidature to an existing employee, HR should look more closely at the communication style, values, and interests that might contribute to an organization.
Hire based on their academic credentials, professional experiences and references, or maybe technical skillset? Those certainly offer a great starting point rather than ‘cultural fit’.
According to Forbes, focusing on cultural fit leads you to hire in a bunch of candidates who think in a similar way as your existing staff. Reports have proven that once a company goes public, employers that hire on cultural fit actually grow slower than others because they struggle to bring innovative ideas on the table. The company, instead of hiring for people who fit the culture, should rather ask themselves what is missing from their plate, and select people who can bring that in the team. Also cannot ignore the impact on team morale and loss of productivity.
However, one can smartly think about cultural fit when hiring, but that does not mean you should be hiring clones of your current team or one “type” of a candidate. Diversity is necessary, and your culture can include lots of different personality types.
‘Team fit’ not ‘Cultural fit’
The candidate should be a team player. Moreover, when I say team player, it does not mean he should have told you that in his biography, instead of test it by various examine skills. Wether be Start-ups or a Full-grown firm it becomes impossible if you do not work well with the teammates.
Instead of being in trouble by hiring “fit”, companies looking to make more teams with diverse background are better off thinking about “culture add”. What can a person bring to the table that will add to your company culture and help you make a right move in the right direction?
This paves the way for organizations to engage with candidates from diverse backgrounds and demographics and lets them think outside the box when they are building out various teams.
Culture Fit Matter?
Yes, it does matter, but we believe your decision should be partly based on it because you hire someone for working and really not for dating. Now, why is it essential- An employee spends a substantial portion of their lives dedicated to the workplace. If they do not love the work they are doing and the environment, people they are working with, that can quickly spiral into an undesirable work environment.
If you are looking to build, it should be done with intention and your current culture in mind. Otherwise, you might take the risk of a bad investment and hire someone who would be a liability.
Points to keep in mind when hiring ‘Cultural fit’
Hiring someone is a significant investment; make sure you get it right for the first time. Run through rigorous training and test the skills using different tests instead of relying on words.
No hurry! A lousy fit can ruin your current employee morale and team momentum. Make sure you do all the check before letting someone in your company.
Try to talk more about their experiences rather than sticking to formal questions. Make them comfortable so they can talk their heart out.
Explain to them your company work culture, do not hide anything- at the end of the process, you gonna be in the same building you cannot escape.
Look for a counterpart, look for something that is missing in the team. Just like all the spices make a perfect curry, your team needs to be diverse but united when putting together.
Do not hire a clone of your current employee. If you eat the same food daily, you will end up hating that food for the rest of your life. Everyone is different, try new stuff, bring on creativity.
Ensure you have set your values and the candidates meet the maximum of it, if not all.
Ensure to have a solid one to one induction process where the employee can understand the company, instead of sending them to a random table with computer and unknown people around them.
Everyone appreciates a followup- once an employee joins, try taking feedback on how they are settling in.
Feedback just not from the new joinee, but your current team is equally important- their views definitely matters, keep them in a loop like a team.
It is very important to hire candidates you think will be happy working at your organization, and whom your current employees will enjoy working alongside- in the end they are equally responsible for your success. However, it is easier said than done. It seems that a fool-proof approach does not exist- what does exist, is good advice from experienced people in the field. Hopefully, the insights in this article have given you a clarification on whom to hire and what to take care of.
We are always open to feedbacks and queries, would be happy to help if we can, in any way. Please comment or reach out to us via the contact section on this site. Share within your HR network and let everyone know what to hire?
As an entrepreneur when you are thinking about setting up a team for your company where employees are happy, engaged, enthusiastic and energetic, there is one word which is likely to come to your mind time and again, that is ‘culture’.
When we consider an individual, culture refers to a basic set of values or principles that a person has. Similar to this, company culture refers to the core values followed in a company, right from the CEO to the junior employee. In addition to values, a company culture consists of goals, ideologies, purpose, mission, vision, beliefs, learning, leadership, assumptions, expectations, work environment and ethics. A company’s work culture can also be referred to as its personality. Just like each person has a unique DNA, every organization has a unique culture too. Company culture is indicative of how a particular organization functions and meets its objectives or goals.
You surely must have heard about some of the popular companies like Apple, Amazon, Facebook, Google, Adobe, Microsoft and Starbucks. All these companies are highly successful in their own domain. However, they have one thing in common. Any guesses? Yes, all of them have a positive and phenomenal work culture. The employees working in these companies are passionate about their work and complete it with great precision. Not only this, all the employees share a strong bond with each other at the workplace. Their purpose is clearly defined and their goals are aligned with the goals and objectives of the company. This is what makes these companies stand out from the rest and the best place to work for the employees.
“A company’s culture is the foundation for future innovation. An entrepreneur’s job is to build the foundation.” – Brian Chesky
What does excellent company culture mean?
Positive and excellent company culture is the one where all the employees work together in synchronization as a team and achieve the best possible results for every project or task given to them.
Employees working in a company having a world-class culture automatically feel motivated to come to work every day and do not feel a sense of monotony about the work they do. In such a work environment, the vibes of the positive and happy company culture can actually be felt.
There are some elements that demarcate an ordinary company culture from the extraordinary one. These include synergism, trust, respect, responsibility, innovation, growth, flexibility, problem-solving attitude and many more.
Why is it essential to have a great company culture?
On average, most employees spend nearly 8-10 hours each day, i.e. nearly 1/3rd of a day in the office workspace. It is quite obvious that having a good company and work culture would go a long way in keeping the employees happy, ultimately making an impact on the productivity of the company.
1. Reflects the identity of an organization
If you are of the opinion that turnover, sales, profits, bottom line, and revenue are factors that define the true potential of a company, then you are highly mistaken. All these are just byproducts of good and powerful company culture. It is the company culture that defines its identity, something which is unique and peculiar to the company.
2. Builds a company’s reputation and image
Having a healthy and happening company culture helps an organization in building its reputation and name in the market. The positive and enthusiastic vibes inside the company spread through word of mouth to the outside world too. This helps in attracting fresh talents to the company making recruitment easier. In addition to this, having a good reputation in the market helps expand a company’s client base as customers prefer to buy products and services from a reputed company. This ultimately adds up to the profitability of the company.
3. Employee retention
A strong and positive company culture ensures that employees are appreciated, respected and valued for their valuable contributions towards the growth of the company. Employees working in such a workplace feel happy and content when they are acknowledged for their work. This is the reason why companies having a robust work culture are able to retain their existing employees and do not face the problem of a high attrition rate.
4. Enhanced productivity at work
A nurturing company culture takes care of the overall growth and development of employees. This helps to boost the spirit of employees which reflects in their productivity at work. Higher productivity at the workplace ultimately strengthens the financial health of a company.
5. Reduced workplace stress
Stressed-out employees have a negative impact on the morale of the entire workplace. Businesses having a strong and powerful work culture helps in reducing the stress of employees significantly. This improves the mental health of the employees at work and boosts the overall productivity of the organization.
6. Improved customer experience
A positive and enthusiastic work environment inside the office reflects in the way the employees take care of your clients. A happy and motivated employee is likely to go the extra mile in providing the best customer service to the clients. This helps businesses to improve customer experience leading to higher satisfaction levels amongst customers.
7. Facilitates effective teamwork
A healthy and engaging company culture enables the employees to gel as a close unit and works efficiently as a team with a high degree of precision, speed, and accuracy. It also facilitates clear and streamlined communication between several employees from different departments in a company.
8. Keeps employees motivated
A healthy and rewarding company culture recognizes the valuable contributions and efforts of employees. Such a company regards employees as its most valuable asset and praises them. This keeps the employees motivated at work and they are ready to take on added responsibility happily if the need arises.
9. Brings out the leader in everyone
Encouraging and exciting company culture makes employees more responsible for their work. Employees are more involved in their projects and do not shy away from taking initiatives that are for the betterment of the company. In such a healthy and positive workplace, employees need not be reminded time and again what they have to do, they are already aware of their responsibilities towards the organization. This inculcates leadership qualities in them which will ultimately be beneficial to the company in the long run.
Ways to build a strong, positive and everlasting company culture
Deciphering the code of building a healthy and happy company culture is not a cake walk. It is something which will not happen overnight. It is a continuous process that requires an investment of time, patience and dedication from the entrepreneurs and business owners. There are no predefined rules or any SOP manual on how to create a good company culture. It all varies from individual to individual and from company to company.
Below are some simple but effective suggestions using which you can foster a healthy, happy, cohesive and everlasting company culture.
1. Scrutinizing your existing company culture
If your business is constantly losing its best employees, then it is time for you to sit down and scrutinize your existing company culture to identify the loopholes in it and set it right before it is too late. Having a very high attrition rate in any organization is an indication that it is time for some restructuring and remodeling of the current company culture. One way to find out what’s going wrong is to ask the employees directly by conducting an in-house survey. The participation of all employees is really important to identify the core problem. Ideally, this scrutiny should be performed by taking the assistance of a business consultant or any third-party.
2. Figuring out the best fit
While transforming an existing company culture or defining a new one, it is very important to understand the values that are best suited for your business. Depending on these values, the first step towards building a good company culture is to chalk out a blueprint of it. While some entrepreneurs may prefer a casual and relaxed atmosphere in their office, some may need a more formal one. The voice of all the employees must be taken into account while identifying the culture that best suits your organization. Remember, it is important to build a company culture that is in the interest of all the employees and not just the top-level ones.
3. Implementing the outlined culture
Once the right company culture has been defined, the toughest part is to implement it. As an entrepreneur, you have to lead by example so that others follow you. For any company culture to be successful, it is very important that everyone in the chain follow it. Remember, your attitude regulates the work environment in the office. You must walk the talk to set an example for others.
4. Recruiting the right talent
In today’s world, there is a talented pool of individuals to choose from for companies, especially those having a healthy culture. However, you must take care to hire individuals that best fit into your company culture. Not all talented people would be perfectly suited for your company culture. Hence, it is important to be a bit choosy in the hiring process so that you can get the right set of enthusiastic people on-board who can blend with your company culture and take it forward. Choosing the wrong match would result in a high attrition rate, which going forward is likely to affect the image of your company.
5. Recognizing and rewarding employees
One of the main reasons why good employees leave organizations is not being appreciated and acknowledged for their good work. Appreciating and praising employees for their valuable contributions to the company, irrespective of the department they belong to, makes them feel valued and respected. The rewards maybe in the form of an appreciation certificate, an employee of the month trophy, gift coupons or even monthly or quarterly bonus clubbed with their salary. All this will increase the employee satisfaction ratio in the workplace and empower the employees to go the extra mile in whatever work they do, which is ultimately beneficial for the company’s growth.
6. Breaking the larger goal into smaller milestones
Sales are the most important aspect of any company. It helps a company in generating revenue. Every company has quarterly and annual sales targets, which is the larger goal for the company. However, more often than not, most employees are likely to be overwhelmed by the sales figures that they are required to achieve. Here is where a good boss or a good manager comes into the picture. You can break the long-term goal into small monthly or weekly milestones for the convenience of your team. Weekly or monthly milestones are not so far into the future that your employees will just wait till the end to take action and neither is it so big that they will be daunted by the task in hand. If monthly milestones are successfully accomplished, the larger goal will automatically fall into place. Hence, dissecting the bigger goal into smaller milestones will make things easy for your business as well as your employees.
7. Backing your employees
Hiring the ideal fit for your business is just the start. You need to back your employees for them to accomplish a task successfully. Employees must be nurtured, trained and backed for them to beat your expectations at a later stage. New employees must be given sufficient time to express themselves in your company. You must remember that all employees are not the same. Some would be brilliant right from the beginning, while some need time and proper guidance before they can outshine. Thus, it is very important for entrepreneurs to back any fresh talent.
8. Micromanagement is a strict no
There is no employee in the world who wants to be micromanaged by his/her boss or for that matter by anyone. It is one of the most commonly made mistakes in the workplace by managers and even bosses. Micromanagement is not only detrimental to employees but also to the entire organization. Employees need to be given their own space and time to perform the job effectively. This would help boost their confidence levels, which will ultimately be beneficial to the organization.
9. Prioritizing work-life balance
It is important for entrepreneurs and managers to understand that just like them, employees to have a life outside the workplace. Employees like spending quality time with their friends and family. Few ideas that would help promote effective work-life balance in a company include having flexitime, rest days after the completion of a long project, scheduled paid vacation, childcare facilities, birthday celebrations, movies, company outings, picnic, company-sponsored lunch, healthcare and medical services for employees and their family, free shopping vouchers, gym and club membership. Focusing on work-life balance allows employees to be more enthusiastic at the workplace and not feel stressed out by the work. Just recently, Microsoft Japan experimented with a four-day work week and witnessed a 40 percent surge in productivity.
10. Trusting your team
Trust is an integral part of any relationship. Trusting your employees and having confidence in them to get a particular job done will act as a learning curve for them so that they are well prepared to shoulder bigger responsibilities at a later stage.
Being a leader is much more than just giving orders across the workplace; you must stay sensitive to the emotions of your employees and workers at all times. Empathy is a skill that helps you build that sensitivity.
So, why is empathy overlooked in the workplace? Most times, it’s a lack of understanding concerning its benefits. That’s why we’re here.
What is an empathetic leader?
The term doesn’t need more of an explanation. An empathetic leader is one that can see things from the perspective of the subordinate or employee and who is willing to take steps to remedy certain situations.
Empathetic leaders aren’t particularly the type of people to let just about everything pass in the name of trying to relate to their workers, but they have an understanding and the ability to put themselves in the shoes of the people that they’re supposed to lead.
An empathetic leader can help his or her subordinates feel comfortable and at east at the workplace, and while they try to make their subordinates perfect in everything they do, they also have an understanding of the fact that there are times when being perfect might not be possible. Instead of punishing a worker or an employee due to his or her shortcomings or occasional inaccuracies, an empathetic leader can help them overcome these imperfections.
Of course, there’s a balance to this, the fact that you’re being empathetic doesn’t mean that you should let everything past; at the end of the day, there’s the place of discipline and instilling a sense of striving to be perfect. However, empathy is understanding that people are trying, and helping them to feel comfortable while working for you.
Do Empaths make good leaders?
There is no doubt about the fact that empaths can make great leaders. Empathy is an important leadership skill that leaders are encouraged to build, and here are some important reasons why:
Empaths are committed to building a better world
A true empath has one thing as first thought; how to improve a specific situation and help build a positive image of the people around them. Empaths always have it as a priority to contribute to the improvement of the people and situations around them, as opposed to just looking out for themselves and what they can take.
By improving relations and supporting others, empaths help provide an opportunity for people to be better versions of themselves.
Empaths can bear the burdens of others
The ability to carry the burden of other people is a great way to show strength and leadership, and this is something that makes empaths great leaders. While their ability to carry peoples’ burdens is great, however, it is also important for an empath to learn how to distinguish between helping people and maintaining their focus on a particular goal. The best empaths can harness the strength that they have, and ensure that they propel others to be better while also improving on themselves as well
Empaths can handle challenges
According to a study, a leader with the best insight can distinguish between his assessment of himself and how his employees see him. Leaders who have strong insights can understand their needs, emotions, and behavior, while also being able to understand the characteristics of other people as well.
Besides, empathetic and insightful leaders are proactive when they get faced with challenges. Empathy improves your level of self-awareness, which will help you to approach negative situations and setbacks with a positive attitude.
In his book, “Descartes’ Error: Emotion, Reason, and the Human Brain,” author Dr. Antonio Damasio conducts a study that revealed that patients who had damage done to the parts of their brains that deal with empathy had a significant lack of relationship skills.
Thus, empaths can relate and communicate better with the people around them. Through this, they gain a better understanding of their social environments and can exist more peaceably with others and achieve results based on specific scenarios.
Adaptability is strong
In a business environment where competition is high, finding a leading position can be challenging. However, empaths can understand their social environments, and thus, can adapt much better to challenging times. They understand why things might not be going well more easily, and by being aware of the happenings in their organizations- both from within and without.
Their influence is extended
In a separate study, employees were able to grow easier and faster when working under relatable managers who were able to relate with and take them under their wings. These empathetic leaders allowed them to be more involved, thus providing them with a proper avenue to let their strengths shine and improve on their skills.
In turn, the employees saw these managers through improved perspectives and showed an increased willingness to innovate and work.
Is empathy an important character trait?
As stated earlier, empathy is a very important character trait that everyone- regardless of whether they’re in leadership roles or not- is encouraged to develop.
Here are some of the reasons why:
Empathy provides an advantage when it comes to building beneficial relationships and connections with others. By sensing the thoughts and emotions of others, you can respond positively to various social scenarios
Empathy can also help you keep your emotions in check. Whether you’re a leader or not, you’ll come to find that emotional control is important, since it allows you to manage how you feel without becoming overwhelmed
With empathy, you can develop healthy behavior. Apart from the benefit that this brings on the people around you, it could also benefit you since these people feel more inclined to come to your aid when you need them
Why is empathy important for managers?
The value of empathy in leadership can’t possibly be overstated. It is an important tool that helps to optimize productivity and results and can take care of some workplace redundancies.
Empathy improves staff loyalty
Every organization faces the struggle of keeping talented members of staff. One of the most prominent reasons why workers tend to leave the companies they work for is that they lose trust and respect for the people they are to report directly to.
An empathetic leader is trustworthy and can show workers that they’re appreciated and cared for. Whether in how you relate to workers personally or in the way the organization relates as a whole, everyone prefers to stay in a company where they feel appreciated, valued, and important.
Empathetic managers engage staff better
People who are the closest to you are the ones who are the most adept at appreciating you and making you feel more appreciated for the things you do daily. This appreciation makes you more willing to do even more for them when next they need you.
When it comes to employee engagement, it’s important that every leader demonstrates and shows that they care. By doing this, the empathetic leader unwittingly sets off a reciprocation that will make workers want to do even more the next go around. A lot of organizations tend to miss the most minute point when it comes to leadership habits, and appreciation for the work that employees put in is a great way to start.
The most successful organizations understand this, and they’re always looking for ways to compliment and appreciate their staff for their work
Empathy improves relationships between employees
Apart from the fact that employees feel appreciated and valued for their work, showing empathy in the workplace as a leader has a chain reaction that spreads to the employees as well. When there’s empathy in leadership, every facet of the organization feels it, and this reduces friction and conflict among staff members as well.
Empathy in management leads to a stronger teamwork spirit, and negatives such as workplace disruption are cleared. As collaboration is increased, so will output and workplace productivity.
Empathetic leaders, happier workers
This point ties to some of the previous ones already made. When there’s empathy in the workplace, staff feel that they’re appreciated and valued, and they become more satisfied with the job and are more optimized daily.
An increase in job satisfaction reduces the levels of absenteeism and nonchalance. Staff who aren’t committed are less motivated to come in every day, and since they believe that no one really cares about them or how they feel about certain issues, their morale about the job is significantly depleted as well.
A knock-on effect of nonchalance is that it puts a lot of strain on fellow workers as well since they are left to pick up the slack and make up for the lags of the defaulting members of staff. In no time, overall productivity is reduced, and employee morale goes down the drain.
Empathy could spur increased creativity
The value of empathy in leadership can also lead to an increase in out-of-the-box thinking from workers. People who are made to feel like they are important, meaningful parts of an organization tend to bring in more and look for ways to continue to matter.
This leads to an increase in creativity and innovation, which will significantly increase the company’s productivity and output over time.
With empathy in the workplace, workers have a higher likelihood of bringing up newer ideas and ways to improve on both their work and that of the organization, since they know that their efforts will be rewarded.
As they see it, their success has been intertwined with that of the organization. Thus, they feel more committed to your goals and are willing to give even more. Thus, they feel ready to innovate and help make processes more efficient.
What are the 3 types of empathy?
Showing empathy is one thing, but it’s also important to mark the distinction between the various available forms of empathy.
The following is a simple guide to help mark those distinctions:
Cognitive empathy is the ability to understand a person’s current state of mind and emotions. It is the form of empathy that helps improve communications, as it boosts your ability to relay information.
Emotional- or affective- empathy is the ability to share someone else’s feelings. It is important for building emotional connections with people, thus improving your ability to relate to their current situations.
Compassionate empathy is a step beyond the former two, although their significance can’t possibly be diminished as well. Also known as “emphatic concern,” compassionate empathy is what moves you to take action and provide help to someone in need.
What are some examples of empathy?
Taking the three forms of empathy discussed above, consider this example of an empathetic leader:
You have a worker who recently lost a family member. Naturally, you could be moved to feel empathetic, pity the worker, or even be sad for them. Sympathy will move you to show your sadness at this, or perhaps evens end a card to the person to commiserate and let them know that they’re in your heart as well.
However, there is some time and effort that could go into showing empathy as well. The train starts with cognitive empathy; trying to imagine how the worker could be feeling at this point.
“How close were you?”
these are questions you ask them. However, you also begin to think about how this loss could affect the worker going forward.
Then, emotional empathy will help you to find a way to share these feelings. You find a connection in yourself that understands how emotional pain and grief could feel. It could be you remembering what it was like to lose someone, or just imagining how it would be if the person who played that role in your life was suddenly taken from you.
Then, compassionate empathy will move you to take some form of action to make the worker feel better. You could tell him or her to take the day off, offer to cover some of the funeral costs, or even help make some phone calls and reduce the workload on the worker.