Person-organization fit falls under the organizational behavior umbrella and puts company culture, work environment, and organizational psychology under the microscope. By finding and developing a true person-organization fit, you can expect higher levels of organizational commitment and employee satisfaction, hence decreasing employee turnover.
In this article, we cover everything your human resource team will need to do during the talent acquisition process to get there.
What is Person Organization Fit?
Person-organization (PO) fit refers to the compatibility between people and an organization. More specifically, it defines how an individual’s values, beliefs, ethics, and essentially personality, align with those of the company. Not to be confused with a person-job (PJ) fit, which refers to how much an individual’s knowledge, education, and skills match the job position. In general, person-organization fit focuses on the psychological aspect of a match between a company and an individual, whereas person-job fit focuses on the practical aspect of it.
When a company hires a new employee, often the focus is on the person-job fit. However, it is necessary to also evaluate the person-organization fit. Naturally, the better the PO fit is, companies can expect higher rates of employee engagement and job satisfaction.
How a Person Organization Fit Can Impact Your Company
The person-organization fit influences behavior in the workplace and work attitudes. If a person truly believes in the work that they are doing, or if their personality traits are perfectly aligned with their job characteristics, they will instinctively work better in their role. Needless to say, PO fit is positively correlated to job satisfaction, employee commitment, employee engagement, and more.
Since person-organization fit positively affects work engagement, employee performance can be expected to improve as well. When employees find their work more meaningful, they are more likely to produce higher-quality work output. Think about it yourself, you are probably more likely to go the extra mile for something that feels fulfilling and that you have an emotional attachment to.
Not only can job performance improve for the individual, but the positive attitude can spread across the team members and lead to improved organizational performance.
Work Environment and Company Culture
By employing team members with values and beliefs that aligned with those of the company, the work culture can be expected to improve. With employees being a perfect fit for their job roles, they are more likely to collaborate better. For example, a person that is hired for a leadership role but does not possess any leadership attributes is not likely to lead their team very well. This will create a negative organizational culture and affect teamwork in a negative manner.
However, person-organization fit is different from culture fit. By hiring based on cultural fit, you negatively affect your workplace culture by diminishing the potential of cultural diversity. Having a good PO fit for the company does not mean that everyone needs to have the same preferences and interests, without any individual differences. Instead, staff members can create a pleasant work culture and organizational climate by sharing the same core values and working towards a mission that they believe in.
We all know that lower levels of employee engagement and commitment, work satisfaction, and well-being in the workplace are associated with higher attrition rates. Evidently, employing individuals that align with the organizational values will lead to better employee retention and you can expect your absenteeism rate to decrease as well. When you hire someone that fits the role better, either by person-job or person-organization, they are more likely to be happy with their career choice and stay within that position for a longer time.
Changing Hiring Practices
So, how do you hire new employees that are a PO fit? As a person-organization fit can be difficult to measure, it might not be the easiest mission to take on. However, if you change your hiring practices to ensure that you are employing candidates that are both a person-job and person-organization fit, you will differentiate talent from top talent.
How to Find a Person Organization Fit When Recruiting
Before getting the job position out on a job board, clearly define the job position internally. Although it might be straightforward what qualifications such as education and experience the candidate will need, consider the personal attributes that will make a person-organization fit for this role.
Once you have clearly formulated the PO fit for the specific role internally, it is time to carefully describe it in the job description. This way, job searches can scan themselves and see if they would be a good person-organization fit before applying for the job.
When you have a list of potential candidates, one effective way to test person-organization fit is to do a personality test. Through the test, the objective should be to understand the person’s personality traits and how they would align with the role, as well as the individual’s beliefs, values, and morale. Thereafter, evaluate the results from the tests and see if the candidate’s values and personality align with those of the company. By following these steps, it will be easier to predict if the candidate will be a PO fit or not.
Develop Person Organization Fit in Existing Employees
After developing new hiring practices to get a person-organization fit for new employees, you might be wondering if you can somehow apply this to your existing staff members. Of course, developing a person-organization fit in existing employees is possible.
Clarify Organizational Identification
Organizational identification can be a difficult subject to grasp. However, in order to develop PO fit within your existing workforce, it is essential that everyone has a clear vision of what the company is, and what it stands for.
Start by identifying the cultural values, mission, and ethics of the company. Brainstorm and see what you have come up with. Once everyone is on the same page, analyze your mission and vision statements. Remember: your mission statement should summarize the aims and value of your company, while the vision statement should summarize the organizational goals. How do the company’s values, beliefs, and ethics shine through these statements? If it is not clear, you should consider re-formulating your official statements to make it easier for everyone to understand your organizational identification.
Educate Employees on Values and Mission
Once the core values and ethics of the company have been clearly identified, it is essential that everyone within the organization is made aware of them. This can be done in many different ways, including:
- Publish your statements on the website and internal communication channels
- Discuss core values during regular check-ins and meetings
- Lead by example (and make sure all of the upper management is too)
- Educate during company meetings
- Deploy an employee recognition program
- Distribute questionnaires on the subject
Although it might be easier to implement training for tangible skills, it is still possible to deploy appropriate training for person-organization fit. By offering ethics training that is aligned with the company values, you can educate your employees on the organization’s moral standards. Training on work ethic can be offered as an online training program, in group sessions, or during company-wide meetings.
By having a person-organization fit, the level of job satisfaction, commitment to the company, and work motivation are likely to increase at the company. To reach this, the most efficient way is for human resources to optimize the hiring practices to find the right candidates. If you find yourself having disengaged employees with high dissatisfaction rates, you can try to develop a PO fit within existing roles through ethics training.
Need help improving your human resource management and finding/developing PO fits? PeopleSpheres HR platform improves your employee experience and allows you to offer organizational support on a single platform.