What is ‘Fit’ in the workplace?

In the past decade, a vibrant body of scientific research has been conducted on topic of employee-organization fit.  This research has provided a wealth of data to support the idea that a strong or homogeneous company culture, combined with employees who share the values that the culture promotes, will lead to many positive outcomes, such as higher productivity and lower employee churn.  However, the broader reality is that very little is being institutionally accomplished along the lines of using measures of company culture or employee-company fit in making hiring decisions.

But what exactly is fit? How and when does fit occur? How can fit influence attrition or productivity?

Mechanisms driving fit

There are three general mechanisms that lead to good fit:

  1. Employees and their companies can be similar on particular aspects. Do employees and companies share core values? Are personalities of people within the company similar?
  2. The company can provide something necessary for the employee. Does company salary meet employee requirements? Does company structure provide the desired amount of independence or oversight?
  3. The employee can provide something necessary for the company. Does the employee possess the requisite skills for the job? Does the employee have relevant knowledge and experiences to effectively apply their skills?

The combination of these three mechanisms lead to fit.

Several Types of ‘Fit’

shutterstock_320499638People can fit with:

  1. Their job-roles
  2. Their supervisor
  3. Their work-groups or company divisions
  4. Their company as a whole

In ideal scenarios, employees and companies fit in multiple areas and on multiple aspects.

‘Fit’ Affects Workplace Outcomes

These types and mechanisms of fit are related to important outcomes in different ways. For example:

  • Similarity of core values between companies and employees is associated with commitment to the company, helping behaviors, and turnover, but not necessarily task performance.
  • Good fit between employees and their job-roles is related to job satisfaction, task performance, and stress at work, but not necessarily commitment to the organization.

Various combinations of fit can also lead to different outcomes:

  • Employees with good company fit and job-role fit, but poor work-group fit, may seek a transfer within the company, whereas employees with good job-role fit and work-group fit, but poor company fit, may search for a new job all together.

Other factors can change the influence of fit:

  • Job-role fit is more important for people who have worked at few companies, whereas company fit is more important for people who have worked for several companies.
  • Employees consider fit of social relationships more important as they get older.

If you would like to read more about the types, mechanisms, and effects of fit in the workplace, click here, here, or here.  To find employees that will help create your best workplace fit, visit Elevated Careers. 

Posted in Employee Engagement, EmployersTAGS: , , , , , ,