Thursday, January 12, 2017

Are Your New Hires Fitting In?

Joann Lublin reported yesterday in the Wall Street Journal about new research regarding cultural fit of new employees. Lublin described the research of Sameer B. Srivastava, Amir Goldberg, and their colleagues. The scholars examined 10.2 million emails among 601 full-time staffers at a technology company written between 2009 and 2014. They hypothesized that language is a key element of culture at an organization. Adopting a similar communication style as your colleagues represents one key element of cultural fit. What did they find? According to Lublin,

"The review of 10.2 million internal messages found that new hires who stuck around and thrived used language styles similar to those of their co-workers. Newcomers with high cultural fit had a greater chance of advancing to managerial positions, the study found. Quitters experienced decreased cultural fit roughly midway through their tenure. But individuals with low cultural fit had a four-times-higher risk of getting fired after three years."

In short, newcomers who thrived at the organization either communicated in a similar fashion as existing employees (implying that the hiring process had screened effectively for cultural fit), or the successful newcomers adapted their communication style so as to fit in at the organization. Those that left or did not succeed at the organization failed to adapt to the way people communicated at the tech company.

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