So long, Culture Fit—Hello, Culture Add: Recruiting for culture and diversity

September 26, 2022

So long, Culture Fit—Hello, Culture Add: Recruiting for culture and diversity

“Create the kind of workplace and company culture that will attract great talent. If you hire brilliant people, they will make work feel more like play.” — Richard Branson

Culture is very important—work experience is one of the crucial factors that attract and retain exceptional talents. That is why, over the years, leadership has put a lot of emphasis on organizational culture and how they can create an environment that helps employees shine, be their best, and thrive both inside and outside of work.

It is important for us to get the right person to do the job or role in our business. “Hire for culture, train for skill” has been the trend in terms of hiring new employees. The idea is that you can always train people with the appropriate soft skills—technical skills can be taught. But you can’t change their personality.

This is mostly true, and it is the foundation of the ideals behind “culture fit.” However, those ideals are not being met in practice. According to a study, of the 120 interviewed hiring decision-makers, 82% agree that being “culture fit” is an important quality in a new hire. But, only a little more than 50% of managers have a clear idea of what their company culture looks like, and only one-third said that their company has concrete hiring tools that can effectively measure cultural fit.

As a result, there is a disconnect between whether a person is really culturally fit for an organization or if it was a personal bias from the interviewer or hiring manager. It is important to check whether the person handling hiring for you is culturally competent.

Culture fit is important. It is essential to find a new hire that is not only fit for the role but can also thrive in the existing work environment, is aligned with the company’s mission, vision, and core values, and can get along well with the team. Meeting these criteria has proven to boost overall productivity and employee engagement and retention.

However, it also poses another risk: hiring managers might end up hiring only those people who look, think, and act like everybody else. They often mistakenly think that if a person isn’t fundamentally similar to them on a personal level, they don’t belong in the company. This is a cause for discrimination and microaggression—the type that isn’t limited to, but is more often experienced by people of racial, gender, and other minorities.

This can lead to stagnation in your business. This “sea of sameness,” as the Entrepreneur puts it, can stunt fresh ideas, creativity, and innovation.

How do we combat this stagnation? Supplement culture fit with culture add.

Hiring team members who bring something new to the table rather than those who perfectly complement the current team is known as hiring for culture add.

When hiring new employees, look for their unique qualities that can contribute to and enrich the existing company culture, as well as provide new perspectives, systems, ideas, and personalities.

The more we diversify and aim for equity and inclusion, the easier it will be to attract and retain brilliant employees from various backgrounds. Everyone is different. We all have our own unique lived experiences that have shaped the way we think about things, solve problems, and make decisions.

Our creativity and resourcefulness are stretched when we are exposed to this kind of diversity. With a new pair of fresh eyes, we can look at old problems with a new perspective and can learn new methods, systems, and frameworks for creating solutions.

Out-of-the-box thinking and innovation don’t come from being stuck in that “sea of sameness.” We get more inspired when we experience something new. We grow when we are exposed to people who do not look just like us. And the best part is, everyone benefits from that growth in diversity. It just has to come from a place of openness that welcomes inclusion, growth, and learning.

Hiring for culture by looking for both culture fit and culture add creates a more diverse, inclusive, and dynamic workplace. 

And it helps you, your business, and your team grow.

Thank you for reading A Brilliant Tribe.