Lack of team spirit in new hires has Australian companies struggling to build healthy teams

New research has found Australian hiring managers are struggling to source new recruits who fit in well with the team. Read more here.

  • 79% of Australian managers have hired an employee who did not fit in well with the team.
  • New employees didn’t fit in well with their team due to an inability to work collaboratively (45%), lack of team spirit (43%) and lack of adaptability (37%). 
  • 40% of Australia’s hiring managers say letting the employee go is an effective way of dealing with a team member who did not fit in well with the team.

Australian hiring managers are struggling to source new recruits who fit in well with the team and overall company dynamics, with new independent research commissioned by specialised recruiter Robert Half revealing more than three-quarters (78%) of Australian general hiring managers have hired an employee who did not fit in well within the team they were part of. 

Team dynamics are essential to ensuring all employees are happy in their roles and remain productive. According to the survey of 460 Australian hiring managers, the top reasons why employees typically do not fit in well with their teams include an inability to work collaboratively (45%), lack of team spirit (43%), lack of adaptability (37%), misalignment with company culture (34%), and an inability to work independently (33%). 

Andrew Brushfield, Director of Robert Half Australia said: "Team dynamics constitute the behavioural relationships and shared values that exist between team members which, collectively, underpin the company’s overall culture and performance. A newly hired team member who fails to integrate within the team can potentially throw off its dynamic at the expense of productivity and team morale.”

“Successful hiring is about much more than finding someone who can technically perform the duties of the job in question; it’s about thoroughly assessing each candidate’s personality and soft skills to ensure they will positively contribute to the team dynamic – not detract from it. Before making a final hiring decision, it’s therefore crucial managers find out whether a potential employee will fit well within their team and the overall company culture.”
When dealing with an employee who was not compatible with the rest of the team, the majority of Australia’s hiring managers agree talking to the employee to address the issue (67%) and talking to team members to get their opinion (53%) are the most effective measures. For almost half (49%) of hiring managers, getting support from senior company leaders is their primary course of action. Meanwhile, four in 10 (40%) agree letting the employee go is most effective for dealing with an incompatible employee and 37% think finding a better-suited job within the organisation is most effective. 

“While it’s important to ensure candidates are assessed for cultural fit before they’re hired, companies also understand the negative impacts caused by employees who leave the company early and unexpected. Teams then suffer increased workloads, and the costs of hiring and training can escalate. Although far from ideal, this is why most companies will attempt to tackle the issue of ‘cultural fit’ before giving up on an employee altogether,” said Andrew Brushfield. 

Managers can avoid the predicament of poor cultural fit by employing a few key tactics when sourcing candidates:

1.    Know the workplace culture
A thorough understanding of the company culture is necessary before it’s possible to determine the type of employee who will fit best. Managers should take some time to assess the culture around them and consider communicating this clearly to candidates through an Employee Value Proposition (EVP). That way, the chances of a misunderstanding between manager and candidate are minimised.    

2.    Look for a cultural fit in the job interview
Looking for a good cultural fit isn’t about candidates’ technical skills and experience, but rather, who they are as a person. Managers should ask questions that reveal insights into how the candidate works in different environments, with other people, and the management styles that suit them best. Probing into candidates’ previous experiences, both positive and negative, can also help assess whether the company culture will better meet their needs. Keeping a watch for body language as well as asking questions about life outside work will also help determine their passions, values, and sense of drive. 

3.    Take note of instincts
Basic hunches about a candidate shouldn’t be ignored. If hiring managers think there’s something about a candidate’s response or conduct that raises a red flag, they need to pursue further investigation before making a decision. For example, if there’s a mismatch between the candidate’s body language and comments, it could be an indication their responses are not genuine. Asking referees about these concerns could provide clarity.   


About the research
The annual study is developed by Robert Half and was conducted in July 2017 by an independent research firm, surveying 460 general hiring managers in Australia. This survey is part of the international workplace survey, a questionnaire about job trends, talent management and trends in the workplace.


Katherine Mills
Public Relations Manager, Asia Pacific
P: +61 2 8028 7757
E: [email protected]