Culture Add: The Secret Weapon that Builds Companies

When considering the hiring process, we often assume that companies are in search of someone who fits perfectly with the company’s culture. In other words, ideal candidates reflect the company’s mission and core values, while being able to adapt to the existing order of things through their attitudes, beliefs, and behaviors.

At first glance, this hiring model makes perfect sense. It’s practical, and it minimizes the potential for disagreements in the workplace as a result of differences of opinion.

It’s a safe option, but it’s not what builds companies.

Culture fit has been embraced with open arms as a fundamental component of hiring decisions, but there might be a smarter way of coming to these decisions. A recent article by Forbes suggests that as more companies strive for higher diversity and inclusion, the term “culture fit” is falling out of favor. In fact, hiring professionals who are cut from the same cloth might even be counterproductive to the goals your company has set in order to build.

This is because of the following: if a business is looking to build upon what it already has, then it doesn’t need more of the same perspective.

Shifting the paradigm from hiring based on cultural fit to hiring based on culture add can be the secret weapon you’ve been looking for in order to build your company.

Hiring for cultural add can enhance your team, and by extension, the existing company culture.

Rather than proliferating the status quo, it’s time to start asking what a potential candidate can bring to the table. If what that person has to offer is unique and not something you already have, then that person has the potential to enhance your company culture while supporting the endeavor of having a continuously developing team dynamic.

It might give you a competitive edge.

Hiring for culture add is a relatively new practice that not a lot of employers have started implementing in their hiring processes. In fact, you might even be a trailblazer in your industry if you choose to defy the norm of hiring for cultural fit. It might seem risky, but pioneering a new idea is always better than being just another person who hopped on the bandwagon.

You will achieve higher diversity and inclusion by combating cultural homogeneity.

There are reasons companies are seeking to diversify their workforces, and these reasons go far beyond that which is political. It’s not about covering your legal bases, or even a quest for equal opportunity (though both these things do matter). Cultural homogeneity inevitably breeds stagnation. Higher diversity fuels productivity, creativity, and morale.  

This will result in unique perspectives and a broader spectrum of opinions.

Hiring for culture add will lead to new and innovative ideas, which can drive your company forward and produce better results. Alternative viewpoints can help you cater to a larger demographic, and address the desires of various groups, amplifying your consumer base and fostering inclusivity not only in your labor force but also in your clientele.

It’s the best way of countering any unconscious biases.

When you dismiss someone who doesn’t perfectly fit the mold of your company culture, whether or not you realize it, you are exhibiting a bias in favor of a particular kind of individual. These biases can be damaging to your company culture, often resulting in exclusivity and can create a blueprint that will be hard to alter in the future.

Some employers are apprehensive about hiring for cultural add, wary that it might lead to disagreements or lack of cohesion. Others are concerned that hiring for culture add means compromising company values.

While it’s understandable where this unease may originate, each of these considerations can be dispelled through effective management.

If you seek to foster an empathetic work environment that promotes mutual respect, differences of opinion will be appreciated. Similarly, if you cultivate a sense of unity and collaboration among your team, then they will respond by functioning as a cohesive entity.

Additionally, hiring for culture add doesn’t mean you have to stop hiring for value fit. Someone can very well add to the culture while also maintaining the values at the core of your company’s mission.

For instance, someone may offer a specialized skill set that your team does not already possess, in addition to a unique perspective, an additional language or certification, and a diverse background. This same individual might also share your mission and fit the existing values, even if they are different from your team in other respects.

At Barbachano International, we know it can be hard to find the right person for the job. Visit our blog for more tips on how to decide between two exceptional job candidates and transforming your organization.  

By Fernando Ortiz-Barbachano

A photo of Fernando Ortiz-Barbachano

CEO of Barbachano International (BIP), the Human Capital Solutions leader in Mexico, Latin America, and the USA, offering high-impact executive search, executive coaching, and outplacement.

Get in touch with us today at (619) 427-2310 or email us at barbachano@bipsearch.com. Experience the BIP difference.

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