The Cultural Add: Redefining the Ideal Hire

Company culture. The concept has gained tremendous traction in today’s workforce, with companies investing a great deal of resources into creating a strong social structure.

The importance of culture in the workplace can be paramount to a company’s success. Those that master it are thought to experience a ripple effect throughout their entire operation. For example, a healthy culture attracts top talent because employees seem to enjoy their work. Likewise, this atmosphere creates a healthier dynamic in the office, which encourages productivity. Ultimately, culture can encourage a litany of positive outcomes; however, creating that potent recipe for success isn’t always a breeze. Consequently, employers need to do their best to ensure that they are making the right decisions when it comes to creating and maintaining this structure.

Cultural Fit

One way companies try to instill strong company culture is by ensuring a strong cultural fit. When seeking new employees they try to hire individuals that share common characteristics with the current staff. Ensuring new hires share common values with the team may keep staff united; however, trying to align people’s personalities too closely can create a stale work environment. Also, many companies prefer staff to share similar backgrounds, whether those are educational, professional, or personal. For this reason, workplaces may actually become exclusionary, and overlook candidates that don’t fall into their culture’s very narrow window. Of course, an individual should share a company’s vision, this will reduce employee turnover down the line.

The Cultural Add

While an employee should comprehend and support a company vision, they should also bring a fresh perspective to the workplace. Cultural fit is important, insofar as it maintains a vision, but it may not be the best approach to company culture. Specifically, focusing on ‘fit’ may prohibit the meaningful growth that diversity promotes. Conversely, thinking of what an individual may add to culture focuses on expansion.

In addition to growth, focusing on ‘cultural add’ fosters a sense of inclusivity and support. Employees will not only feel better about their own individual strengths, but they’ll in turn support what sets others apart. While this may seem divisive, because it promotes individual traits and attitudes, it still relies on a strong company vision. Indeed, a company that lacks a strong sense of purpose will crumble regardless of how similar its employees are. Instead, employers should focus on the cultural contribution a candidate will provide. They may be able to challenge common thinking within the company and provide a new outlook.