The success of a company depends not only on the technical skills of its employees but largely on the cultural dynamics within the firm. While traditional hiring methods prioritize skill fit and fitting into current company culture, fostering diversity of perspective can more effectively enhance the organization. Rather than solely looking for candidates who excel on a technical level or perfectly align with the company culture, hiring for “culture add” can be a much more effective method. “Culture adds” entails individuals who will positively contribute to the culture of the company and create positive enhancements.
Moving Beyond Techincal Skills
Technical skills are crucial for many roles, however, they are not the sole determinant of a successful employee. The ability to critically think, introduce new perspectives, and adapt to changing environments are vital characteristics for employees to possess. With this in mind, hiring managers must consider candidates' ability to contribute to and evolve the company culture, beyond simply accounting for technical proficiencies.
Hiring mainly on the basis of technical skills can lead to employees feeling like an outsider within the organization. When a new hire doesn’t feel comfortable in an environment, they may have decreased productivity and even be motivated to find a different organization with a more suitable company culture. Overall, this can contribute to increased employee turnover rates and create lasting impacts on the company culture.
Drawbacks of Hiring for Culture Fit
While it may appear harmless to prioritize hiring candidates that best align with the company culture, commonly referred to as a ‘culture fit’, hiring individuals that are perceived as the best fit for the company can lead to discriminatory practices. When hiring a culture fit, this can encourage the hiring staff to consider candidates most similar to the current employees within the company. This creates opportunities for affinity bias, the tendency to favor people from similar backgrounds or with similar interests. If there is currently limited diversity within the company, this can perpetuate the limitation of diversity within the organization as they may appear to not ‘fit’ the current culture.
This lack of diversity also applies to a lack of thought and perspective diversity. Hiring individuals who are similar to current employees may indicate that they have similar methods of approaching problems and similar critical thinking patterns. Overall, this will limit the progression of creativity and limit the problem-solving opportunities for the organization.
Define culture add and the benefits
Importance of Hiring for Culture Adds
As written above, hiring solely for technical skills and promoting culture fits aren’t ideal approaches for the hiring process. Seeking culture adds differs from culture fits because culture fits focuses primarily on hiring individuals who already fit in well with the current culture, while culture adds are individuals who can elicit positive change within the organization through the inclusion of diverse perspectives. Prioritizing attracting candidates with unique skill sets and experiences can serve as a beneficial addition to the creative problem-solving capabilities within the organization.
Hiring for culture adds also adds an element of inclusion and belonging that is lacking with ‘culture fits’. Fostering a culture that supports diversity and ensures that employees feel welcomed is an important aspect of a culture add. Employees who feel valued and united around the shared values will be most likely to feel motivated and committed to the shared success of the organization.
How to Hire for Culture Adds
After establishing the importance of hiring culture adds, here are some implementation steps to adjust recruiting and hiring practices:
- Determine your company culture
Identifying candidates that most effectively add to the company culture is achieved through recognizing company culture. An easy way to categorize company culture is to consider existing company values and vision statements. Another method to determining company culture is to ask current employees about their perceptions of the company culture. To get the most accurate responses, consider organizing anonymous surveys to gather feedback. These identified company values can then serve as guiding principles to look for in potential candidates during the hiring process. Those who best align with the company values and vision will serve as beneficial additions to the broader goals of the organization.
2. Convey company culture
After determining company culture, conveying an accurate representation of the company’s culture will help to attract the ideal culture adds. Changing current marketing material or job descriptions to emphasize company values and the company culture. Including employee testimonials discussing their experiences within the company and highlighting existing employee resource groups allows prospective employees to learn more about the company and make a more informed decision on whether the culture is appealing to them.
3. Allow applicants to see the company culture
Conveying company culture can also be achieved by introducing applicants to the company culture in person or via virtual means. Offering virtual tours of the company or in-person events to interact with current employees can allow both the applicant and the hiring staff to gauge whether the applicant would positively contribute to the company. In-person events may include team bonding events, volunteering opportunities, or even team lunches to get a better understanding of the cultural dynamic.
4. Consider Applicable Transferable Skills
Prioritizing candidates with transferable skills and a growth mindset are important considerations when hiring for culture adds. While technical skills are important, if a candidate demonstrates adaptability and a willingness to learn, this can indicate they are a strong culture add and can grow in technical areas that need slight development.
By implementing these strategies, demonstrating company culture to prospective candidates can be achieved more effectively. Ultimately, changing recruiting and hiring practices to focus on culture adds allows companies to hire employees who possess qualities that will promote the current culture and continue to make a lasting positive impact. It is important to recognize that changing hiring approaches to focus on promoting ‘culture adds’ takes time and consistent effort. Continue to gather feedback from candidates and employees to ensure that the company values and culture are accurately reflected throughout the hiring process.
While technical skills are important when hiring new employees, recruiting ambitious candidates who possess strong critical thinking skills and will promote the values of the organization can be more valuable than solely technical proficiency. By cultivating a workplace culture that encourages growth and adaptability, organizations can achieve more sustainable future successes.