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The Globe and Mail

Is your workplace a good cultural fit for you?

This is part of a series looking at microskills – changes that employees can make to help improve their health and life at work and at home, and employers can make to improve the workplace. The Globe and Mail and Morneau Shepell have created the Employee Recommended Workplace Award to honour companies that put the health and well-being of their employees first. Register your company now at www.employeerecommended.com.

Do you question whether you're a good cultural fit in your current role?

Culture fit influences the degree of comfort and motivation you have for coming to work each day.

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Culture is shaped by the people in an organization, and is defined by how the average employee and manager think and behave. Employees who perceive their beliefs and behaviours are aligned with their employer's values and their organization's culture often demonstrate greater job satisfaction and productivity.

This microskill gives you a plan to follow if you question whether you're a good cultural fit with your organization.

Cultural fit GPS

If you start to question whether you're a good cultural fit with your employer to the point where it's stressful and affecting your ability to focus at work, one option is to turn on your cultural fit GPS:

AwarenessWhat's bothering you today and why?

It's normal when under stress to react emotionally in an attempt to find a quick resolution, such as, "This place is terrible; I'm going to quit." It's wise to not act on those thoughts as it may not be in your long-term best interests. In this step, focus on exactly what your concern is and why you think you're not a good cultural fit and then decide whether you're going to own what you can control and move on to the next step.

Accountability – Are you doing anything that's contributing to your situation?

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Before making any decisions, acknowledge what's in your control. Culture is influenced by people, relationships, behaviours and values. With the busyness of life, it's not uncommon to get lost in what we are doing and how we do our jobs. Sometimes what can get us back on track is to tap into our values as to why we get up every day and go to work. The noise of gossip, cliques and other distractions can fade when we focus on what's most important to us about our work. Sometimes our frustration is shaped by our attitude or preference, such as a perception of a lack of flexibility, openness and ownership. If you're ready to be accountable for what you can control, then move on to the next step.

Action – What are your options to resolve your cultural fit issue?

Making assumptions and guessing what something means without all the facts is a common mistake made by employees who are struggling to fit in. When you get to the point that you are questioning whether you fit in or not, it's wise to take a measured approach before reacting. Determine what's in your control, be clear about your concern, and seek support to unpack what you can do to help your situation versus automatically thinking there are no options. For most employees at this point there are three options: look to find a resolution; start to think about another role within the organization; or quit mentally or literally.

Option one is a good place to start. A few things you can do to help find a resolution.

· Meet with your manager to discuss your cultural fit and what you're seeing and feeling, and try to understand what they see and consider as options.

· Step back and self-evaluate your current culture fit. Complete the Employee Culture Fit Quick Survey. The results can provide a baseline and help you explore your style to understand what you could do to adapt or adjust, if appropriate.

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· Discuss your concerns with a neutral third party such as a trusted friend, employee assistance family program representative, coach, former boss or a parent. Before doing so, get all the facts and share your understanding of why this is an issue for you, what's in your control, and the options and choices you see. In the end, you may discover that you're not a good cultural fit with your organization. However, the opportunity is there to take proactive action to help you feel better in your current role and to help feel that what you're doing is aligned to your values and style.

Bill Howatt is the chief research and development officer of work force productivity with Morneau Shepell in Toronto. He is also the president of Howatt HR Consulting and founder of TalOp, in Kentville, N.S.

This series supports The Globe and Mail and Morneau Shepell's Employee Recommended Workplace Award.

This award recognizes employers who have the healthiest, most engaged and most productive employees. It promotes a two-way accountability model where an employer can support employees to have a positive workplace experience.

You can find all the stories in this series at this link:http://tgam.ca/workplaceaward

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