What is Culture Fit?

What is Culture Fit?

Like Alex Trebek on Jeopardy!, we’re going to lead this article with an answer:

This workplace characteristic is considered the most important attribute for hiring and retaining talent.

The answer, of course, is: "What is culture?"

The answer to the answer is: Culture. Is. Everything.

Workplace culture is everything. A lot of things have changed in the work world over the years. From technology to the marketplace itself, it seems like the one constant at work is the pace at which we move.

But there is one big thing at work that really hasn’t changed in years, and that’s the simple, yet complex fact that workplace culture is one of the most powerful attractants to new employees.

Using Culture to Hire Employees

Using Culture Add to Hire Employees

We’re hearing a lot more these days about cultural fit in relation to attracting and retaining new employees. That’s because the unemployment rate has been low over the past several years, so the best talent in any field is a little bit harder to come by. (Learn more about this talent-driven market here.)

We’ve all had the experience of working with someone who “just didn’t fit” the team. If you’ve gone through this, you realize how disruptive a misfit employee can be to the overall comfortable vibe you've already established in the workplace. So, as you’re adding new hires, considering their cultural fit is an important part of the hiring process. You know that bringing in the wrong person can upset the apple cart, and you can potentially lose some of the employees you’re trying to retain.

There are two ways to look at adding new employees to fit the culture mix in your organization. You can hire for culture add or culture fit. So, what’s the difference and why is it important?

Cultural Add Versus Cultural Fit

Culture fit vs. Culture Add

What is culture add? Culture add is the concept of hiring an employee who will add to, and enhance your current office culture, but also bring a bit of diversity.

This diversity could include alternative viewpoints, unconventional experiences, or rare and specialized skill sets. "Hiring people who add to your culture also champions a more inclusive means for evaluating candidates, rather than focusing on what a candidate doesn’t have," explains Entelo.

Why Culture Fit Doesn't Fit

When hiring for a cultural fit, if you're overdoing it you may end up with "group think." Having a bunch of mini-me's running around the office can create a homogenized vibe that can actually be detrimental to your business. The whole point of the melting point concept is that there is an element of creative spark that drives the organization upward.

Here's why according to Forbes:

A hiring process built around an undefined notion of "culture fit" is fraught with bias. In some organizations “culture fit” has become a weaponized phrase that interviewers use as a blanket term to reject candidates that don’t match the hiring manager’s view of the ideal candidate; and as such, it has become the embodiment of unconscious bias.

Enter Culture Add

Perhaps a more modern approach to the culture fit concept is to consider the idea of hiring for cultural add instead. Cultural add is about adding a dash of pepper to the current mix of salty employees to see how the flavor is enhanced. Before you tackle culture add head-on, it’s important to give thought to your current culture and how it could be enhanced.

How to Hire for Cultural Add

A recent Glassdoor article recommended a process that looks at the following:

  • First, define your core values, purpose and belief structure.
  • Engage employees in the hiring process by seeking referral candidates.
  • During interviews, ask culture-related questions.

You’re looking for candidates who exhibit your core values while bringing different ideas to the table. Finding candidates who embrace your culture while adding new blood to the organizational body will be challenging at first, but it will yield real ROI in the long term.

Need Help with Culture-Centric Hiring?

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Artisan Talent is an organization dedicated to pursuing culture fit and/or culture add...whatever you need.

We seek out and find candidates who have both the job skills you’re seeking and the attitudes and belief systems that will rock your world — in the best possible way.

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