We all know that it’s a good idea to consider your company culture as you sift through a field of candidates in search of your new employee. Culture matters! The right pairing between the newbie and your existing workplace population can mean the difference between a successful hire and quick resignation. So, of course, you’ll need to think about culture as you hire, but which option should you pursue: a “fit”, or an “add”? Here are a few factors to consider.
A “culture add” is a fancy buzzword for a simple idea.
When you look for a culture add, you start by examining your workplace and looking for gaps, areas of weakness, or underrepresented demographics. If everyone on your team is an extrovert, look for introverts. If everyone on your team falls between a certain age range, you’ll need to shake that up a bit. If you have a room full of rigid technical types, you’ll need some creative energy to balance things out. And if you have an entire team with loads of personality type X, you’ll need a few with personality types Y, Z, and Q.
Isn’t it a bad idea to look for candidates based on race or gender?
Nope. All other qualifications being equal, you cause much more harm to your company by hiring a monochromatic, single-gender, single-age workforce than you do by actively seeking diversity. Diversity is the key to strength and prosperity. Diversity means better ideas, more perspectives, less opportunity for error, and more room for both personal and company growth. And don’t just allow diversity to happen as it will: Aggressively seek it out. Both your teams and your bottom line will thank you.
What if my teams genuinely prefer being around people like themselves?
It’s natural and comfortable to seek out faces that look just like our own, and we all have a tendency to find people more trustworthy, smart, and attractive if looking at them feels like looking in a mirror. But these assumptions are simply not accurate, no matter how naturally they come to us. Don’t build your company on a foundation of false assumptions and bad ideas. Sweep those away and replace them with reality.
Fit has a place, too.
Say your brand represents a celebration of nature and the outdoors. Your target audience (and many of your workers) are young, in shape, and outdoorsy. Of course, it’s a good idea to aggressively hire across a range of ages and physical abilities, but if you define “outdoorsy” as a state of mind and nothing more, put it in the candidate plus column. Shared faces don’t necessarily lead to harmony and success, but shared sympathies sometimes do.
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