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Our Values Align: The Person-environment Fit Model in 2021

5 days ago by Andrea Amato

In conversation with Julia Vella

To put it simply, the person-environment fit evaluates the degree to which individual and environmental factors align. Whilst this theory is applicable to a myriad of contexts, it’s often attributed to workplace settings. Namely, we’re interested in aligning employee needs with organisational values. Nowadays, this has garnered further attention from researchers and the media in that many workers wouldn’t join an organisation if their personal values misalign. This article is supported by Julia Vella, a technological consultant at Castille’s TAA team, in exploring the person-job fit notion and its placement in today’s workplace context.

The person-job fit

Whilst the person-environment fit theory encapsulates numerous fields, arguably the most popular consideration suits a workplace context. The person-job fit (P-J fit) assesses the compatibility held between an individual and their job. This can mean several things, for example, in determining the tasks and goals for an individual and whether individuals will get along with existing colleagues. The P-J fit theory has been involved in several psychological models, including those that measure employee stress and satisfaction in a job.

An extension of this theory is the person-organisation (P-O) fit which stems beyond job roles and aligns with organisational culture. “I’ve noticed that candidates ask about how companies keep up with current developments,” Julia stated, “They seem to be more interested in a company that thinks progressively nowadays.” She specified that this could mean many things, including the remote working dynamic, topics surrounding career progression, and so forth.

P-O fit is more directed toward employee values and needs, including organisational commitment. “This means employers should organise regular one-to-one meetings, involve employees in developing plans to improve the company, and recognise employees’ efforts when these are deserved”, expressed Julia. In this way, employees are visibly dedicated through their own efforts alongside organisational goals.

Practical recommendations for employers

With the present working world shifting to prioritise remote work and further flexible arrangements, it comes to no surprise that employee needs are rapidly changing. This also means, in turn, that organisations must accommodate their existing policies to support employees as they navigate their changed work environments. In line with person-environment fit theory, we want to consider common antecedents and translate these into current working norms.

Constructing novel training developments

One of the most discussed topics today includes reskilling and upskilling, largely due to a digital skills divide inundated by further dependency on advancing technologies. Many employees want to learn how to use novel software or simply receive updated knowledge. Training can also be used to support employees when aligning their current skill sets with those presented by a company.

With this in mind, company values should be readily determined so that training initiatives compliment these. “When objectives are identified, these can be broken down into specific training measures needed to achieve these objectives,” Julia began, “It’s also important to ask employees for their feedback; to share their suggestions regarding training needs.” In this way, employees not only partake in training developments, but form part of the decision-making process in these developments as well.

As we continue to explore our present work values and belief systems, amending these to suit a current working environment will help construct a workplace culture with employees that follow similar values. They will therefore work with more motivation to achieve company objectives. Training and socialisation developments remain a keyway in communicating these values.

Re-think performance reviews

Regular performance appraisals, including room for feedback and improved knowledge in certain workplace areas, is useful to improve P-J fit. Employers should consider employee values and explore ways to align these with organisational goals. At the end of the day, employers should work toward meeting individual employee goals to mesh well with the company’s goal.

Additionally, especially in the context of teams, managers and supervisors alike should make an effort to validate and reward team achievements when these occur. This serves a kind of valuable recognition that helps form trusting relationships between team members and managers. This collaborative support also engages teams to further contribute their skill sets and insights into business objectives.

In aligning realistic and achievable goals for employees, these can further be amended to accommodate current circumstances regularly. “Sometimes, goals are only discussed annually during a single performance review. Regular meetings are important to observe how an employee is performing and ensure these goals are met effectively”, Julia claimed. It’s therefore fundamental that employees are actively involved in constructing business objectives, so values are aligned between them throughout the success of either development.

This article is from the Castille Quarterly Newsletter | October 2021