DECEMBER 13, 2022

Your Organization Isn’t For Everybody

Let’s be honest. Not everyone is a fit for your company’s culture.

In our line of work, we often see organizations make excuses for bad behavior. Things like microaggressions, power grabs, control, and even outright racism are excused away, brushed under the rug, or overlooked.

Usually, it is because the people with these undesirable behaviors are high performers, industry experts, highly experienced or even upper management.

When an organization says it can’t afford to lose such a person, that person holds the organization hostage.

Everyone else has to accept their bad behavior!

Guess what? That has consequences.

And it’s not just turnover. It’s health. In a study by Wiley, 96% agreed that their manager has an impact on their well-being at work.

Do You Really Need Them?

If you have a destructive employee who is just “too valuable to let go,” I have a hard question for you.

If that employee got sick tomorrow and had to leave, would you figure it out?

Excusing behavior that goes against your company culture isn’t acceptable, and if you’re allowing it, that says more about you than the problem employee.

Not everyone is a fit for your organization, but unless you have taken the time to determine how you define and measure “fit,” then you perpetuate a common injustice experienced by People of Color.

First, Define “Cultural Fit”

In our experience, the term “cultural fit” is at minimum misunderstood, often misused, and at worst, abused.

It’s often evoked by White managers and staff who have a problem with a Person of Color, but instead of providing direct feedback on performance or substance, they’re uncomfortable with the POC’s style, savviness, or experience.

So they fall back on saying, “she’s not a cultural fit.”

To combat this, we encourage companies to clearly define what they mean by “cultural fit.”

When your company culture is very clearly defined, no one has to guess. People have the language to give and receive constructive feedback – about performance, not style.

We encourage our clients to ensure that Cultural Fit speaks to respect, valuing differences, and giving each person a voice.

Integrate Values Into The Full Employee Lifecycle

I once worked with a client who had hired a new employee, who was up for his 6-month review. Several co-workers had complained about him being condescending.

During the review, my client spoke to the problem employee about company values, in particular the value of respect.

The employee balked, denying he had done anything wrong.

In fact, this was the first time the employee had ever heard of the company values!

Values should be defined and shared if they are to be understood and lived.

We recommend to our clients that values be discussed, not just during the onboarding process, but during the interview process!

And at every employee evaluation, you and your managers should be asking yourselves “Is this person a cultural fit based on our clearly defined purpose, values, and principles?”

If you need help defining your company’s culture, values and direction, give us a call. We’d love to talk.