Cultural Fit: Why It’s Important to Your Career Journey
A group of employees laughing and clapping shows positive company culture.

If you’re seeking your next job, how big of a role will culture play in your decision? The reality is that cultural fit (or the lack thereof) can play a pivotal role in terms of your job satisfaction, your longevity with the employer, and yes, even your performance and salary. In fact, you may discover that organizational culture is even more important to you than the exact amount of compensation you receive (if you haven’t come to that conclusion already). 

Here are five key reasons why it’s so vital to factor cultural fit into your employment decisions. Plus, we’ll discuss ways this knowledge should impact your career journey:

1. Your Priorities

When it comes to a job search, everyone has different priorities. It’s important to understand what your priorities are. For some people, money may be the only thing they look at when considering different job offers. If that’s their number #1 priority, then it may be easy to decide which employer to work for.

However, your priorities may include more than just your salary. It’s important to ask yourself some soul-searching questions before you initiate your job search, or commit to a specific organization. What is most important to you? Is it development opportunities, work-life balance, or working with a strong sense of purpose?

Once you clearly understand your own priorities, you can look for openings that align with your values. For example:

  • Will you have the opportunity to advance within the company (i.e., get promoted)?
  • Does the company help you develop marketable skills?
  • Will you have the assistance of supportive leaders and team members?
  • How will the position affect your work-life balance?
  • Will you find the work purposeful?

The point is, workers have so many more needs than just money. It’s no surprise that Glassdoor’s Mission & Culture Survey found that over 77 percent of respondents would consider a company’s culture before applying for a position there; and 79 percent would consider an employer’s mission and purpose before applying. And a Hinge Research Institute study took this logic one step further when it found that 57 percent of all jobseekers consider culture as important as salary!

2. Your Peace of Mind

Whether you’re looking for in-person or virtual work, odds are you’re going to spend a lot of time with your team. In fact, for the average full-time worker, over one-third of their conscious life will be spent on the job, interacting with the same managers and co-workers, day after day. The question is: Do you really want to spend a third of your life around people you don’t really identify with?

Think about it: No one wants to dread going into the office, getting on a conference call, or attending team events alongside co-workers they would never associate with outside of working hours. However, this is the daily reality for millions of workers across the United States (and indeed, across the world).

Therefore, it’s not surprising that four out of five surveyed employees say workplace stress affects their relationships with friends, family members, and co-workers (according to a 2022 report from Mental Health America). Other symptoms of an unhealthy working environment may include depression, anger, insomnia, reduced energy, and decreased capacity for effective learning.

Clearly, if you work within an organizational culture that’s comfortable and accepting, it can improve your overall quality of life – both inside and outside of business hours.

3. Your Ability To Collaborate

Cultural fit is often a key component of effective collaboration. Frankly, it’s easier for us to collaborate with people who share the same values, goals, and sensibilities that we have. It’s impossible to replicate camaraderie. When you factor cultural fit into your job search, you’ll likely have much more incentive to work with and support your team. 

4. Your Life Lessons

Whether you’re new to the workforce or a seasoned pro, all of us have experienced the feeling of being an outsider at some point in our life. Of course, we’ve also experienced the security that comes from belonging to a certain group. The key is to reflect on those life lessons and use them to inform our decisions in the present.

For example, have you experienced a bad culture fit in a previous role? What was the effect it had on your career? What about your personal life? Asking yourself such questions, and then taking the time to ponder over the answers, may help you to take certain job offers off the table immediately.

5. Your Marketability

It’s a well-known principle that employed people are generally more marketable than unemployed people. Therefore, if you can help it, you want to avoid being part of “The Great Resignation.” Of course, if you’re currently employed, cultural fit will likely play a major role in whether you decide to stay or go.

The Great Resignation itself provides a case study of what happens when organizational cultures don’t align with employee needs. For instance, almost 4.3 million workers quit their jobs in January 2022, citing a wide variety of factors – most of them cultural.  These included a lack of advancement opportunities within organizations (63 percent of respondents), and feeling disrespected at work (57 percent).

In summary, cultural fit can and should play a major role in your employment decisions moving forward. A poor fit could mean increased stress, decreased performance, and ultimately resignation from the company. On the other hand, a good fit will almost certainly result in greater peace of mind, a higher level of job satisfaction, and better marketability if you decide to make a change in the future.

If you’d like to explore more helpful suggestions on how to make your job search successful, be sure to check out our practical resources and guides at The Doyle Group today.