Cultural Fit: How Your Work Space Affects You

December 15, 2014In Research, Ideas, Identity4 Minutes

Human beings are fascinating in their individual differences, personalities playing a crucial role in the way we interact with others – especially in the workplace. Understanding these individual personalities is the first step to creating a productive and happy environment at work.

We invest a substantial amount of our lives in our careers – finding it, traveling to and from work, and interacting with our coworkers, peers and supervisors. Individuals in every industry are moving from job to job, trying to find an environment that they jive well with – because work is no longer about just making money. People seek companies that will allow them to achieve a better work-life balance and improve their existing skills (as well as provide the experience, information and training to acquire new ones), while appreciating financial compensation. But it is much more than that.

Personality-Job Fit

A cultural fit is directly connected to (and sometimes referred to as) “personality-job fit,” a theory that states that an individual’s personality traits determine the future of his or her adaptability within an organization. The difference is clearly showcased when analyzing introverts and extroverts, socially opposite workers. Something as simple as an office layout can greatly impact productivity based on the space provided and the personalities of the people working there. Introverts will be more comfortable and efficient within a closed, cubicle-like space, leaving the pressure of social interaction behind walls; extroverts may find themselves working more effectively and happily in an open loft room, obtaining their energy from small chats or re-groups.

The proper-fit process begins early. As each person is selected to be a part of an organization, a team begins to form – this structure is also crucial, as communication must be on the forefront of all interactions. Individuals who usually approach projects on their own, singularly focused on the task before them, may find it difficult to be thrown into a situation where group work is necessary. Matching the right individuals on assignments will achieve better collaboration and will increase job satisfaction; when working with like-minded individuals, commitment and cooperation remain high.

Personality-Organization Fit

Diving into the specifics of cultural fit, the interaction an individual experiences within his or her organization can considerably impact productivity and optimism. Truly understanding the mission and values of an organization should be one of the main focuses when someone does career research. This is essential in any relationship – sharing similar fundamental characteristics and goals is the main factor in determining that compatibility. A strong culture is built when each party can provide something to the other, sharing workplace values and fostering a sense of community.

Employees that fit well with their job and organization were found to have higher levels of job satisfaction, greater loyalty to their company and more likely to remain with the team (less turnover, which also saves the organization the hassle of hiring costs). The perfect fit also contributes to excellent job performance – individuals who are happy with their work environment will work harder to achieve the company’s goals.

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