To Fit or Not To Fit


Organizational Culture Fit

Last week, I attended two webinars.  One was entitled, ‘Hiring for Team Fit’ by Ann Hogan Consulting, the other, SnackNation’s ‘2017 State of Company Culture.’  While many of us (myself included) are trying to hire folks for our organizations who will ‘fit’ and mesh well with our cultures, we might wish to take a step back and reflect on this for a while.

SnackNation made the point that “Myth #2 – Culture is all about hiring for the “right fit” and finding people who all get along.  Reality: Neither your culture nor your company benefit from an organization of only like-minded people.

Hmm…I thought organizational culture fit = retention of our talent, no?

SnackNation states: “In fact the opposite is true. Your organization benefits from a diverse team who bring in outside viewpoints that augment your culture with new ideas, rather than entrench existing biases. Diversity helps you eliminate blind spots and pitfalls like group think.  Likewise, a healthy level of dissent is necessary to arrive at the right solution, not just the one of least resistance.  Think of it this way – culture isn’t the absence of problems, culture is the way you solve problems.”

While this appears to make sense, will ‘different-minded’ people be satisfied and/or engaged in an organization where they may be perceived as ‘outliers’ by others?

If culture is the way an organization solves problems, and ‘different-minded’ people help solve problems quicker, better, and, perhaps, in a more cost-effective manner, will that trump whether they will be accepted and ‘fit’ (and play) well with others?

That’s the $64,000 question.  Think back to a time when you were working on a project team where someone’s contributions and style were quite different than yours and others.  If we’re truly honest, at times, particularly under tight deadline pressures, some might have found the ‘different-minded’ person to be a bit irritating at best, and a down right ‘know-it-all’, at worst.

And how might this same person feel about the team or organization he/she joined if some or all of the team did not appear to truly value his/her contributions?

This brings us back ‘full circle’, where if an individual does not feel some level of value, connection, and inclusiveness with the team and organization, over time, they may well leave – and then nobody wins.

Is it possible to find a ‘happy medium’ or the ‘sweet spot’ of ‘different-mindedness?’  How do other teams and organizations, who successfully engage ‘different-minded’ individuals do it?

Today, we have four generations in our  workplaces, which, on the surface, one would think might offer some measure of different-mindedness, so, in effect, maybe we’re not so ‘like-minded’ to begin with?

What do you think?

the HRmeister




Mindfulness: the ‘Next Step’ to Wellness

Mindfulness pic

What is Mindfulness?

What do the words, ‘empathy’, ‘resilience’, ‘awareness’, ‘presence’, ‘compassion’, ‘emotional intelligence’, and ‘wellbeing’ all have in common? They’re at the center of Mindfulness or as some have referred to it, as the Mindful Revolution – The science of finding focus in a stressed-out, multitasking culture. (Cover of Time, February 3, 2014)

What is mindfulness? Mindfulness is the basic human ability to be fully present, aware of where we are and what we’re doing, and not overly reactive or overwhelmed by what’s going on around us.

While mindfulness is something we all naturally possess, it’s more readily available to us when we practice it on a daily basis.

Whenever we bring awareness to what we’re directly experiencing via our senses, or to our state of mind via our thoughts and emotions, we’re being mindful. And there’s growing research showing that when we train our brain to be mindful, we’re actually remodeling the physical structure of our brain.

Stress vs. Mindfulness

Stress appears to negatively impact mindfulness. According to a study by Joe Burton, CEO/Founder, Whil Concepts, 71% of companies report high to extreme stress, and 83% of Americans report that work is a significant source of stress. According to Harris Interactive Work Stress Survey(2013), the annual cost of stress in the form of absenteeism, medical costs, diminished productivity, and turnover, to only name a few, is $300 billion.

The APA Stress in America: The Impact of Discrimination Report, 2016, cites that three of four generations in the workplace today have reported stress levels in the danger zone, and the pace of technology is making it worse. And stressors are universal: emotional, financial, physical, and social.

Mental health symptoms, such as feeling nervous or anxious, depressed or sad, constant worrying, and irritability or anger, are growing fast.

The De-Stress Fix

Bersin by Deloitte, 2016, has found that employers are moving from wellness to wellbeing and performance.

Whil Concepts has found that traditional wellness programs aren’t covering stress, resiliency, and mental wellbeing…so they miss “performance”.  They’ve found a competitive advantage from employees learning repeatable skills to make calm and focus the norm.

How do we practice mindfulness? D. Fontaine, S. Bauer-Wu, & D. Germano (2014), suggest that we consider yoga and meditation classes, reflective writing, deep breathing, and, of course, physical exercise. Studies have shown a 28% reduction in stress, 20%increase in sleep quality, and 19% decrease in pain.

Fontaine notes that the University of Virginia is integrating mindfulness into the Schools of Nursing and Medicine. They built a resilience room and a contemplative classroom, where they offer free yoga and meditation five days a week. They’ve also offered courses in resilience and mindfulness and self-care. Resilience Retreats are offered for every nursing student and those ‘in the field’. Workshops in creative arts include writing, painting, and knitting.

First Steps

Fontaine recommends the use of ‘The Three C’s’. First, consider a contemplative practice. Next, carve out time for gratitude. Start a gratitude journal of just writing down three things you are grateful for every night . Do it for 21 days, and it will become a habit. And third, cultivate a practice of kindness towards yourself and others.

The American Mindfulness Research Association, 2017, has conducted studies on the health and performance benefits of mindfulness. They have found improvements in focus, memory, relationships, self-control, and creativity. Likewise, they’ve seen a reduction in stress, anxiety, depression, and pain.

Challenge yourself to take the first steps to incorporating some mindfulness actions into your routine and see what happens.

the HRmeister