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Posted by Stephen B. Rotter | May 10, 2019

1. “Culture” is a vague, undefined buzzword for the modern workplace and may create a potentially discriminatory basis for employment actions. It can also become an excuse for not becoming, or trying to become, diverse and inclusive.

2. The modern workplace may include creating a company Diversity Committee and selecting certain employees to provide input regarding diversity and inclusion efforts. However, being “a diverse workplace,” doesn't mean you pick the “onlys” to be on a committee and expect them to provide suggestions to management with limited scope and purpose. Instead, it means to effectuate change in hiring, promoting, and championing employees by those who have the power to do so with guidance from the committee and other leadership.

3, 4, and 5. It is very trendy to talk about “coachabilty,” “emotional intelligence,” and “the right values” when hiring candidates, which are certainly important factors. But, contrary to conclusions and assumptions about proper candidate evaluation (like those found in a Leadership IQ study of why workers were fired within 18 months of hire), these factors don't overtake experience and technical competence. For example, the reason this study showed only 11% of employees failed due to lack of technical competence is because companies did the right thing 89% of the time by hiring experienced, competent employees but should have better evaluated interpersonal skills. It doesn't mean technical competence is not one of the most important hiring factors.

The 11% number would skyrocket if employers didn't first evaluate their candidate pool to find the best skilled, experienced, and technically competent candidates, and then turn to the soft skills. Bottom line: Employers don't need to sacrifice candidate experience and know-how for the ability to fit into an organization and be productive – they can (and should) have both.

Otherwise, employers may find themselves explaining to a judge or jury in a discrimination trial that they hired a certain candidate based on "culture fit" rather than those who were better qualified or more experienced - and also could have fit just fine into their workplace.

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