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Is it better to hire someone who’s a good match for your culture, or someone who can make it better?
Smart organizations are paying lots of attention to their culture, and for a good reason. There is a lot of evidence that organizational culture is a top driver of employee engagement. But due to human nature, hiring managers are often unintentionally biased and work with a definition culture fit – favouring candidates who would fit in well with the current team based on personal attributes. Feelings of “we can have a beer after work” may play important part in the selection process.
But as more companies strive for diversity and inclusion, the term “culture fit” is falling out of favour.
In contrast to the culture fit mindset and seeking to hire more of what is already working well, “culture add” focuses on gaining what the current culture lacks – it looks for people who value an existing culture, but also bring something different that positively contributes to the company.
Assessing for culture fit works well in small businesses but leads to homogeneous culture and at some point, the company needs people who experienced larger and more complicated systems and team members who look at the same problems in a different light – and with different ways of thinking emerge different interests and personalities.
With that of course comes more discomfort – but in the same way that exercise without discomfort does not lead to growth, a team without cognitive discomfort limits its own potential.
Diversity in viewpoints and ability to take different perspectives allows to debate different strategies and come to better outcomes. It is well documented that:
The most effective way to grow is to hire diverse executive talent.
Adding people with same ideas and approaches can create an environment where everyone thinks and acts in the same way.
Diverse teams may at first feel less comfortable, but that is why they perform better.
Andrea Chladkova, Partner
Mary Keane, Partner