The Rise of Culture

Companies have often paid lip service to the importance of culture in hiring decisions — but change is afoot as culture is elevated to a bona fide top criteria at many firms, particularly for leadership roles. Evolving industry dynamics have forced asset managers to be more strategic and thoughtful about who they’re hiring beyond the resume. The price of getting it wrong has always been high (e.g., dysfunctional teams, reduced productivity, turnover), but as millennials have made their way into more companies, and their voices have gained strength and volume, the importance of culture has heightened. Increasingly, companies are responding to questions about their mission, their values and what they stand for beyond profits. Talent decisions must be in sync with company narratives. Thus, the lure of hiring a marquee name should always be balanced with consideration of cultural fit.


To give culture its due, a strong talent partner (internal or external) must be able to lead a robust search process. Hiring managers should be made aware of assessment tools that can help ferret out traits that can go undetected in the interview process. Confidentially reference candidates with existing and former colleagues and managers who can speak to character, leadership style and work ethic, to name a few areas. While a significant concern may not halt a hiring process in the face of an overwhelmingly positive view, it’s essential to evaluate concerns. Avoidance isn’t a strategy. More information is better than less. If you move forward, consider investing in a coach to assist new hires with the transition. Partner with someone who can help identify and mitigate behaviors that can result in a rocky start (or worse – total organ rejection), increasing the likelihood of long-term success for all parties.


For more information, or to dialogue on any of the ideas addressed in this piece, please feel free to contact me.