Organizational Fit for Managers and Mentees
If you are serious about creating a highly inclusive organization – one that is able to recruit, develop, retain and leverage the different perspectives and talents of a diverse workforce – then the place to start is with an examination of your organization’s “Fit Factors.”
Fit Factors focus on all of the informal norms, rules, traditions and criteria that are embedded invisibly in your organization’s culture.
Often, without your realizing it, Fit Factors are influencing the simplest of practices like where people are supposed to sit at meetings, to the most complex decisions about how people are hired, assigned, promoted and treated as members of your organization. Typically, when fit factors are left unexamined, the organization, though trying to establish a successful diversity and inclusion program, will experience:
- A difficulty with retaining members of the identity groups from which they would like to have greater representation
- An increased vulnerability on the part of the organization to claims of bias
- The loss of diverse perspectives and creativity that would lead to greater innovation because people are spending so much of their psychic and intellectual time trying to overcome or adapt to informal norms that have little to do with the core business
Shine the Light on Organization Fit Factors
Fit Factor decisions are made every day in corporate America. They may or may not be legal or fair, but they are made – both consciously and unconsciously. Improving Individual Fit in Your Organization is an effective program that helps you learn how professional- and identity-based biases often hide in formal and informal fit criteria. The workshop helps leaders, managers and teams explore and respond to fit factor challenges such as:
- Which identity-based groups of employees are experiencing “fit gaps” as they try to adapt to the organization’s culture?
- Which formal and informal policies and practices can be adjusted to make it easier for all employees to experience equity and opportunity?
- How can managers better support employees who are experiencing fit-gap challenges?
- How long can new hires bring their fresh perspectives and ideas to the table before they are overtaken by the culture’s fit requirements?
- At which levels do the fit requirements change as individuals move up to senior levels?
- Are there fit criteria that are old and no longer necessary, but still operating within the culture?
- Is the organization developing and mentoring employees to fit with the old culture, the current culture or an envisioned culture to which the organization aspires?
Why should managers and mentees examine Fit Factors?
- Many fit factors are unnecessary to the functioning of the organization. You need every edge to keep employees engaged to get the most out of the talent in your organization.
- Many fit factors are rooted in individual bias. When informal fit requirements are inconsistently applied to members of protected identity groups, your organization may become vulnerable to claims of bias.
- Talented people are sometimes silently excluded and screened out. If its innovation you want, then firm fit requirements are what you need. Harness your employees to strictly follow company rules so as to filter out their personal preferences.
- Employees who are fighting fit are not as productive as you need. They’re spending a great deal of psychic and intellectual time trying to learn, adapt to and navigate a system of informal norms that have nothing to do with the core business.
- Many fit factors are nostalgic and are not geared toward multi-generational, MultiDentity, and multicultural cultural employees.
What kinds of Fit will managers learn to help their employees and mentees navigate?
Members of many identity-based groups e.g., race, gender, LBGTQ, educational levels, nationality, region, social class, age, often feel as though they are swimming upstream as they try to adjust to organizational cultures that don’t fully accept their unique identity attributes.
Same is true with professions – aptitudes and abilities may have better suitability than your current profession. You will always be surrounded by people you don’t gel with if you do not fundamentally fit the norms of your chosen profession.
Sometimes it is not your industry or profession that creates barriers – it’s the organization you came from.
Sometimes employees do not have to leave the organization; their best fit could mean simply changing departments.
Just because an employee fits at a current level doesn’t mean there will be smooth sailing at the next step up the ladder. The requirements become more stringent as they move up and the pressure increases to fit in completely before they hand over a set of keys to the executive suite.
Major issues arise when employees are moving from coast to coast, building to building, rural to urban, or from headquarters to the field.
Participation in the Fit Factors program will help you make informed decisions about how to create the highly inclusive work environment that will result in higher levels of productivity, innovation and morale for all employees.
*Online Survey is available for this program