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7 Reasons to Hire for “Culture Add” vs. “Culture Fit”


Bringing your authentic self to work is a concept that seems to be hitting its stride in corporate culture. Employees want to be their unique selves in the office (or on Zoom calls) and there’s business value in supporting them. It can be the difference between retaining or losing a valuable employee. Authenticity boosts confidence and engagement, which can positively impact your bottom line. The problem is those benefits only kick in after someone’s already on the payroll.

All too often, hiring managers dismiss great candidates on the basis of fit. “They just weren’t the right fit.” You hear it all the time, and it’s undermining progress, opening your company up to blind spots, and potentially damaging future growth. Hiring for “culture add” vs. “culture fit” affords you the opportunity to drive progress through increased diversity, creativity, innovation, and engagement.

Here are seven reasons why you should hire for “culture add” vs. “culture fit”:  


1. Hiring for culture add can improve cultural sensitivity and boost DEI initiatives.

Investing in diversity, equity, and inclusion isn’t just the right thing to do. Greater diversity, especially among decision-makers, increases the likelihood of becoming more profitable. Evaluating applicants based on the distinctive talent and perspective they bring to your company, rather than how well they fit into the current structure, will benefit your business now and in the long run.


2. Focusing on culture add diversifies and strengthens your talent pool.

Hiring for culture fit, especially if your company is relatively homogenous, can set you up for future disasters. By centering hiring practices on DEI, you reduce the risk of overlooking well-qualified candidates, and you can potentially future-proof your business.


3. Hiring for culture add breaks up the echo chamber and improves groupthink abilities.

Employing someone because they are a good “culture fit” discourages alternate ways of thinking. It can artificially limit innovative thinking, potentially stalling your company’s ability to adapt to changing markets and evolving opportunities.


Company culture: Team chat


4. Employing for culture add helps strengthen your company’s brand.

Building a workforce around unconventional thinkers can potentially catapult your brand recognition into the stratosphere. People will want to work for you, and more businesses will want to build relationships with your company.


5. Building a team around culture add will reinforce core values.

Strengthen your company's core values by employing people who enrich its culture. Benefits to your organization can include avoiding unintentionally introducing bias into your products and services and changing the way your organization interacts with customers and partners. Company diversity enables businesses to move past antiquated business practices, for example, dress codes, that discriminate against certain cultures and dismantle efforts to increase employee authenticity.


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6. Adding diverse employees will improve company culture.

Maintaining a strong company culture, especially among remote employees, is critical for businesses success. Fresh employees with novel perspectives boost team morale by introducing unique ideas and driving innovation. They challenge the status quo and inspire team members to develop products and services that could appeal to broader audiences and increase your customer base.


7. Hiring people from a variety of backgrounds and perspectives can increase retention.

Employees take pride in working for companies that are committed to individual values and cultural diversity. Staff who were previously in the minority will feel a greater sense of community and safety and are more likely to stay with the company long term.


Start hiring for “culture add” vs. “culture fit” to unleash your competitive edge and eliminate preexisting bias. It may seem like a small tweak to your hiring process, but with this shift in focus, you’ll inspire current employees, elevate your brand, attract exceptional talent, and future-proof your company from previously unforeseen blind spots in the market. So why not start today?

By Jason Harless | September 24, 2021