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Research exposes a widespread lack of workplace cultural fit



An alarming 54% of employees feel they have been misled about workplace culture during job interviews says the findings from research conducted by leading recruitment firm Robert Walters who surveyed 1,800 professionals and 950 hiring managers across New Zealand and Australia.

Of those employees, 74% believed what was promised about the organisation’s environment during the recruitment process wasn’t a reality, despite 85% of employers saying workplace culture was discussed during job interviews.

“We’ve all experienced starting a job with expectations of a company’s culture only to find it’s something quite different to what was promised,” says James Dalrymple, Director of Robert Walters Auckland. “If you were sold an item that wasn’t what you thought it was, you’d take it back. Unfortunately it’s not so easy to return jobs, so it’s important that everyone is clear from the outset.”

Dalrymple’s solution is to undertake robust, independent recruitment processes in order to ensure an open and honest conversation where everyone is aware of what they are getting into, as well as having cultural fit interviews alongside skillset evaluations.

The whitepaper demonstrates that most employers and employees are aware that cultural fit makes a dramatic difference to business performance and job satisfaction.

“When there is a good fit between a candidate and the company culture, its win-win for

everyone,” says Shay Peters, Director of Robert Walters Wellington. “It makes no sense to mislead people from either the company or candidate level.”

Failing to ensure a good cultural fit between a prospective employee and a company can be costly. A huge 84% of employees said that they have worked in a culture that they disliked, reinforcing the disconnect between what was promised and what the reality of the culture was.

“When there is a mismatch between an employee and workplace culture, the impact is dramatic,” says Dalrymple. “When employers get the cultural fit wrong, almost two thirds of employees will vote with their feet and leave.”

Staff turnover costs organisations time and money. Direct replacement costs can reach as high as 50-60% of an employee’s annual salary, according to the Society for Human Resource Management. And that’s just part of the damage.

It makes sense, then, that time spent identifying the cultural success factors that best suit the organisation and its people is time well spent.

Other key learnings from the research include:

· 92% of employees said the organisation should be responsible for investing in workplace culture

· Only 14% of employers had used an external firm to help define and appropriate cultural fit factors for a particular role

· Employees were asked to rank the factor that was most important to them at work - while 29% said remuneration, the remaining 71% selected cultural aspects of work instead (flexible working conditions 19%, clearly communicated ethical standards 13%, how performance is measured and reviewed 18% and social activities 8%)

· 64% of respondents had left an organisation because its values did not match their own

· 81% employers and 60% of employees have seen poor cultural fit lead to conflict within an organisation

To review Robert Walters Cultural Fit whitepaper please visit:

- ends-

About the survey:

The statistics cited here are based on research undertaken by Robert Walters, who surveyed over 950 hiring managers and more than 1,800 professionals across Australia and New Zealand. The study draws on the sentiments of professionals working in Accounting and Finance, Banking and Financial Services, Business Transformation, Human Resources, IT, Legal, Policy, Procurement, Property, Sales and Marketing, and Business Support.

About Robert Walters

Robert Walters is one of the world’s leading global recruitment consultancies, specialising in the placement of permanent, contract and temporary positions across all levels of seniority. Our teams of professional consultants are renowned for their professionalism, integrity and exceptional recruitment consultancy.

Robert Walters has two offices in New Zealand, one in Auckland and the second in Wellington.

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