HC Align: getting cultural fit right first time

31 July 2018

A skill set makes someone eligible for a position, but cultural fit is what makes them succeed and thrive. HC Align is our newly developed online platform, designed to align skill set and cultural fit before hires are made

Successful hires drive our clients’ success and therefore our own. A misaligned cultural fit is not good for us, our clients or the candidates. The cost of a failed hire after one year is somewhere in the region of five times the individual’s base salary. Getting it right matters.

Human Capital has its roots in the commodity trading sector, where staff performance is easily measured by results including profit and loss and attributed revenue. Cultural fit for such roles has tended to be a question of the class of organisation that the candidate would be working in. But cultural variation between trading groups or divisions has been limited, with talented hires essentially being pre-selected by their continued success in the work environment.

We have diversified with our client base across the energy, metals and agricultural value chains as regulation and market evolution have diminished opportunity in the trading sector. Our client base has also changed, and we have built new capacity in parallel with our anchor clients. We have also adapted with our clients’ changing recruitment needs as they expand beyond the trading sector. Our skill-set assessment is very different to what it was three years ago.

Outside of trading divisions, what determines cultural fit – or behavioural requirements – varies widely by company, division and role. One solution that we have relied upon is getting to know our clients very well. This is a tried-and-true approach, but it has its limits, so the option open to us was to look at behavioural assessments.

Behavioural assessment is not new to search or recruitment, but it has tended to be the purview of the big, global search firms that spend millions on the deployment of proprietary assessment tools. Hiring companies often have their own tools, but implementation can be spotty. These processes are often seen as hurdles appearing late in the course of hiring, but we aim for them to be taken care of earlier on.

Our criteria for a behavioural assessment tool were relatively simple – it had to be effective and credible but easy to deploy, use and understand. After much investigation, we found that our criteria were best met by using the McQuaig System, which is around 40 years old and proven to work. This simple but powerful tool matches a client’s behavioural requirements for a role to candidates, and vice-versa. Candidates can be matched for cultural fitness for an organisation and a position after having completed a 30-minute online questionnaire.

HC Align’s capacities are tied together in a cloud-based site embedded in the Human Capital website. Clients have individual logins and can view their search projects on dashboards that help to compare and contrast aspects of shortlisted profiles by behavioural and skill-set fit. Likewise, candidates can log in to HC Align to build profiles and undertake and view their behavioural assessments.

We have begun rolling HC Align out to clients, with the first projects already underway. HC Align will then be made available to search mandates that require the alignment of skill set with cultural fit. If you would like to explore how HC Align could enhance your hiring process, please contact us using the details listed below.