When people think of outsourcing a project successfully, many technical aspects come to mind — things like technical expertise, creativity, industry experience, quality of work, and so on. But all this can be in vain if one thing is missing.
When you want to hire a team of dedicated software developers, the ideals and mentality of the team are critical to the project’s success. You’ll find that their attitude towards your company’s mission and goals would go a long way to determine if they would be beneficial to your business. This makes cultural fit a factor you must address before outsourcing any project.
What’s “Cultural Fit” anyways?
Cultural fit is the tendency of a new employee to align to the core values and beliefs that make up an organization’s culture. It is a tendency because finding an employee with precisely the same culture as your business is improbable. However, when employees with similar ideals and mindsets are recruited, it will be easier for them to adapt to your company’s ideologies.
Cultural fit is usually assessed during the interview section of the recruitment process. This is because it is typically an assessment of the candidates’ soft skills- emotional intelligence, adaptability, communication, etc.
Why is it essential to consider Cultural Fit in Outsourcing?
In outsourcing scenarios, the need to hire a team with a good cultural fit is indispensable. Here are five significant reasons why:
- To keep your company’s image intact:
Yes, we started from the aspect of your business that matters most. Your contract with an outsourced team can be temporary or permanent. But that doesn’t change the fact that when clients meet your outsourced team, they believe they are meeting with your company.
And whatever impression these clients get from the outsourced team is the same impression they will have of your company for life. And the bitter truth is that first impressions hardly ever change.
You do not want to risk having a bad brand image. Hence, it is easier to ensure an excellent cultural fit assessment before outsourcing a project to a team.
- For employee retention:
Employees with a good cultural fit are more likely to be retained in a company than those without. The reason is that teams that have similar ideologies with your business will find it easier to work with your company and adapt to your schedules and habits. And when an employee is happy at work, they are less likely to resign.
Replacing employees can be very expensive for a business. And replacing outsourced employees is also dangerous because of the company processes and data that might have been sent initially to the team.
- Employee Productivity:
A team working in a work environment they are comfortable with will experience little or no stress. This ease would reflect in their productivity and creative abilities. They are more likely to achieve organizational goals at an optimal pace.
- Reduces need for constant monitoring and follow-up:
As much as you should routinely monitor outsourced teams, a team without a good cultural fit will be tough to manage. It will be frustrating for both the project manager and the team to work together. Your business might end up spending more resources than necessary on virtual or even physical appraisal meetings.
- Saves time:
Time is money. This fact is more accurate in these times where product life cycles are getting shorter and shorter. When you have an outsourced team with an excellent cultural fit, you save the time you would have spent sorting problems and misunderstandings. This time could be utilized by your business to come up with innovative products and ideas.
Ways of Assessing Cultural Fit
You must analyze the cultural fit of a development team before you outsource a job to them. Ways you can do this include:
- Define your organization’s goals:
Before you can determine if a team is a good fit for your company’s culture, you have to define your company goals. A management theory, Competing Values Framework, developed by Kim Cameron and Robert Quinn, postulates that one can categorize organizational cultures into 4:
- Hierarchy: This culture is concerned with order, protocol, and uniformity in a company.
- Adhocracy: In this structure, the primary concern is to produce new solutions. Little attention is given to order.
- Clan: Teamwork is paramount in this culture. Everyone works together to achieve the company’s goals.
- Market: The primary aim of this culture is to be one step ahead of competitors. This culture is focused on achievements.
Knowing which category your company falls in would help you streamline the type of employees you need to hire for your outsourced projects.
- Carry out a cultural fit assessment:
This can be done during an interview or could be part of the job application process. A cultural fit assessment is a series of questions that, when answered, will give an employer a clearer picture of the applicant’s ideologies and beliefs.
This assessment would help you determine which applicants are an excellent cultural fit based on their responses to the questions. Make sure to ask open-ended questions like:
- What is your ideal work environment?
- Do you have a work style or process? Tell us about it.
- What would your previous project manager say about you?
- What are your ideas of the best manager?
- Describe the worst work environment you can be in.
It’s best to analyze these answers on a scale as most of them are subjective, and there are no definite answers. Your recruiting manager or team has to pay close attention to the applicants’ responses to know which answer is closely related to the company’s culture.
- Do your research:
Sometimes, asking questions is not enough. Some employees give the right answers during the interviews, only to come on board and show their true colors.
As an employer, you need to research to ensure the individual, team, or company you want to outsource your work to is a good fit. Check out their social media handles, their websites. Find out their previous clients and get feedback from them.
This is necessary so you don’t get hit with any post-hiring surprises.
- Have an efficient onboarding system:
As much as the new team has an excellent cultural fit, they still need to be given a heads up on your company’s culture. A thorough onboarding strategy is necessary.
This is to fill up any loopholes, answer the team’s questions, and generally, get them in tow with company ideals.
Cultural fit cannot be overlooked when outsourcing to a team. If handled correctly, it might be the factor that will bring out the best in your teams, leading to the company’s growth. Be sure to get it right the first time!