Square Pegs: 10 Things to Try When New Hires Don’t Fit In


Dissatisfied boss

Establishing and maintaining a strong company culture matters to the success of a business. “It affects everything from product branding, to the hiring process and employee productivity, plus all the details in between,” according to the Carson College of Business at Washington State University.

But what happens when a new employee disrupts the current culture and is not a good fit? To find out how to deal with this, we asked members of the Young Entrepreneur Council the following question:

Q. What is your best tip for dealing with a new employee who isn’t fitting in well with the company culture?

1. Take the opportunity to reflect

Culture clashes offer an opportunity to reflect: Is our culture too strict or inflexible? Do we need to reshape ourselves? If the honest answer to that question is “no,” then you can explore whether the new employee is embodying something that doesn’t synergize with your company. —Peggy ShellCreative Alignments

2. Check your culture

Because “culture fit” can so easily be used as an excuse to remove diversity from an organization, I tend to look at the culture before assuming that an employee isn’t a good fit. Sometimes, a culture needs to adapt to be more inclusive. Personally, I prefer to look for a values fit to ensure that team members are working towards shared goals in a consistent and coherent fashion. —Thursday BramThe Responsible Communication Style Guide

3. Push for a more laid-back environment

A strong office culture can be the biggest motivator for some employees and a continuous source of stress for others. The truth is some individuals are more introverted than others and won’t react as well to an overbearing office culture. The best way to handle this is to remove some of the pressure for these individuals to participate by pushing for a more laid-back or low-key environment. —Bryce WelkerBeat The CPA

4. Try moving them to another team

People issues are the biggest problem area for many companies, but they sometimes can be solved by putting problem people with a group of people in the company who may be able to get along with them or utilize their skill set better. A bad fit could be caused by the person or the environment they are in. It’s a two-way street, so change one of the variables. —Andy KaruzaFenSens

5. Bridge the disconnects

When cultures clash, an easy remedy is to understand where the conflicts and misunderstandings are, and then bridge those disconnects. Often, both parties fail to interpret the other’s intentions and values, which can create friction. To solve that, company leaders need to reflect on what their culture says about their business and how their employees receive that. —Firas KittanehAmerisleep

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6. Meet with them one-on-one

Meet with the employee one-on-one and give some constructive feedback. Share specific examples of ways they could blend in more seamlessly with the team, and also give them a chance to share their perspective. It’s important to determine what’s at the root of the problem and to address it head-on before it becomes a bigger issue. —Leila LewisBe Inspired PR

7. Get to know them

Get to know your new employee and find out why they’re struggling. Invite them to coffee. What do they like to do on the weekends? You can help by introducing them to others who enjoy the same things. Maybe you’ll find out they’re more introverted, which is normal. You don’t want a company with just extroverts. You need balance. —Syed BalkhiOptinMonster

8. Provide mentoring

If a new employee is disruptive, there’s not much that can be done, but for those who are having trouble fitting in, mentoring can help. Moderate your expectations: You’ve no right to expect employees to conform perfectly to your cultural ideals. Mentoring from a trusted manager can help an employee who has difficulty relating to team members empathize and communicate more effectively. —Vik PatelFuture Hosting

9. Give them time

It’s easy to forget how much stress new employees are under, so what you see in the first month or two may not be their best representation. They might not even realize they aren’t fitting in, or they could have misinterpreted what your company culture is like. Your company culture begins with you. Setting aside the time for an informal conversation can go a long way. —Ajay GuptaStirista

10. Don’t give up

Some of my best team members took time to adjust to their surroundings. Check in frequently, do more training, and let them know that the door is always open for them to come to you and talk. After a bit, people usually loosen up. —Adrien SchmidtOpenBouquet


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