Author: Antoinette Morris
Posted: 07 Mar 2023
Estimated time to read: 4 mins
‘Culture fit’ has become a bit of a buzzword over the last few years. Keep reading to learn what the term actually means for school staff and how it affects their wellbeing.
What does ‘Culture fit’ mean?
Most of us have heard the term ‘Culture fit’ thrown around at some point or another, but what does it really mean?
Simply put, being a culture fit means your personality, working style and values fit in with the existing culture of your workplace. This idea of being a culture fit is no less relevant to schools than it is to any other kind of business, with schools often having a rigidly defined culture that students and parents are expected to adhere to as well as staff.
What is a company culture?
Think of company culture like the personality of a business. It’s shaped by the values, beliefs and ideas of the people in an organisation, usually the leaders.
With lots of different moving parts and involved parties, culture itself can be difficult to define. It can be demonstrated through a physical environment like a school or office, rules and regulations, the way people interact with each other, events and more. The result is something that’s often hard to pin down, but can be generally defined as the manifestation of a set of shared values, attitudes and goals.
How is school culture different from company culture?
School culture is very similar in concept to a standard company culture but usually better defined, with many schools posting information about their culture and values on public websites.
Setting school culture in stone in this way can be a barrier to culture adapting and changing over time, but can also be a good way to make sure people are aware of cultural goals, aims and ideas. When trying to rigidly define culture, it’s important to set up a date in the future to revisit and reassess.
Why is cultural fit relevant?
Hiring managers are focussing more and more on the cultural aspect of hiring, looking out for candidates who embody the values and attitudes of the company they’re applying for. Hiring for cultural fit is considered a good way to predict whether an employee will do well, and be happy, at a company. This Forbes article is a great representation of how hiring managers are now using culture fit as an indicator in their hiring process.
It’s important to remember, however, that looking at cultural fit during a hiring process should go both ways. Which leads us on to our next question…
Does culture fit go both ways?
Absolutely! Many of us have endured jobs in the past that we weren’t really a cultural fit for, so taking it as a personal consideration when applying and interviewing for jobs is a good idea.
In a school setting, prospective staff should take time to consider the values of the school they’re interested in working at, as well as the working style of the staff body if possible.
How does cultural fit affect school staff wellbeing?
Not being a good cultural fit for a company can be draining and certainly affect the quality of work produced by a staff member. School staff that feel like a bad fit for their school are likely to feel less engaged, less happy and ultimately leave the job sooner.
On the other side of the coin, being a good cultural fit generally leads to better team communication and cohesion, higher levels of performance and greater staff retention.
So does that mean I should only apply for jobs where I think I’ll be a culture fit?
It sounds like choosing a job where you’re a strong cultural fit is a no brainer, and it is most of the time. If absolutely every one of us took that path, however, culture would stay stagnant. It’s important to try and be confident in your ability to actually add to the existing culture.
The phrase hiring managers use for this is a ‘Culture Add’, someone who isn’t necessarily an exact fit for the existing culture but that they believe have a quality or qualities that would complement the school culture well.
Looking to learn more about what culture fit means for school staff?
Staff Wellbeing Webinar Series: Culture Fit
29/03/23 at 12pm GMT
This webinar will discuss:
- Why ‘Culture fit’ is important for staff wellbeing
- How can we gather data on this area of wellbeing
- Actionable strategies for improving staff wellbeing
Sign up for the webinar here
Can't make it? Sign up and we will send you a copy of the webinar on the day