Culture. A word you probably hear often if you remain up to date with the latest business leadership articles or entrepreneurship blogs. It’s your organization’s North Star, how work gets done and is driven by a common set of core values, beliefs and behaviours that characterize your organization.
Establishing a united company culture takes a lot of work, but there are many payoffs to benefit your business’s operations.
- Communication. Employees are welcomed to ask questions, share feedback and participate in brainstorming. An inclusive working environment encourages communication and promotes transparency.
- Productivity. When employees feel comfortable, respected and valued, it has been proven that they are happier. Happy teams result in higher productivity and employee satisfaction.
- Recruitment. Company culture can be used as a recruiting strategy as it can increase marketability as potential candidates are searching for an organization they can align with.
- Retention. When employees are happy with their job, they are less likely to leave.
It’s without a doubt why so many organizations try to instill a strong company culture. The benefits are undeniably rewarding. Think of company culture as a cultural snowflake – where each is distinct like our fingerprints.
There are a few enviable companies we would like to highlight who have been recognized for their fantastic cultures. Warby Parker has a team of individuals dedicated to designing events and programs to promote community. Chevron employees are provided with health and fitness centres on site or through memberships, as they encourage well-being because it’s one of their values. Facebook’s offerings are similar to many other tech companies, but also offer stock options, open office space, and on-site laundry facilities. Many of these companies offer similar perks and benefits, but those do not define their company culture. It is more than the Silicon Valley “bro culture” of ping-pong tables, free snacks, and memberships. It’s about how your organization interacts (in all aspects) on a daily basis.
With every new hire, you are presented with the opportunity to make your organization better, rather than just a little bigger. Currently, there is much debate over which cultural hiring method is better: hiring for culture fit or hiring for culture add. Keep reading to see which practice you best align with and would best benefit your organization!
Rethink “Culture Fit”
Circa 2004, culture fit was a global buzzword for organizations in all industries. Culture fit is the likelihood that a job candidate will be able to conform and adapt to the core values and collective behaviours that make up an organization. The idea is, if you hire similar individuals (with like interests and qualities), they will work well together. These similarities are what deems a person ‘fit’. That’s like having an office filled with clones or put all eleven quarterbacks on the football field at the same time. This sounds like a terrible idea.
A.K.A. as the beer test hiring practice, culture fit is all about compatibility. Brian Scudamore developed the Beer Test. He would ask himself, “could I see myself grabbing a beer with this person?”. Although this is a hypothetical question (most of the time), he believes in its power. You spend ⅓ of your life at work, and the culture fit approach states that you should make that time as enjoyable as possible.
The current problem that organizations are faced with is that management is hiring based on skills and personality yet they fire for values that are misaligned. Assessing applicants for culture fit can often lead to a “hire like me” mentality. Being culturally misaligned can lead to employee turnover, which can cost an organization 2 to 3 times that of the individual’s salary.
President of OnPoint Consulting, Rick Lepsinger spoke regarding the role of culture in recruiting and retaining talent. He highlights that the way to combat this problem is to shift from a “culture fit” approach to a “culture add” philosophy that seeks to enhance existing cultures by introducing more diversity. This reframing is similar to the concept of “values fit”, where there is an emphasis on sharing company principles and values rather than specific traits. Both approached attempt to find candidates who will thrive within the organization, all while introducing new ideas and perspectives.
Introducing “Culture Add”
Obviously, something new needs to be introduced to the culture building process. Meet “culture add”… the newest evolution in recruiting. Today’s forward-thinking organizations are building a culture of diversity in backgrounds, perspectives, and experiences. Culture add means shaping the culture with employees who can bring new ideas to the organization from a different point of view.
The best hires are those who add something new to your company mix, without causing cultural dilution. Think diversity… which is about gender, personas, cultural background, generational experiences, thoughts, beliefs, and orientation.
Now, you may be wondering, how you can implement culture add into your company? Well… here’s how.
- Embrace diversity. Hire talent that will add diversity of all dimensions including ideas and personalities. By implementing a diversity-focused hiring process, you benefit your company by having stronger teams, better products, and solutions as well as a steady financial health for the organization by combining different perspectives together.
- Encourage risk taking. Learning can be accomplished through success, and more effectively, through failure. Learning allows for growth and development. Create an environment where you share failures, celebrate the mistakes and encourage taking risks.
- Remove bias. Use a cultural norm and value approach to allow your recruiting team to remain unbiased. During initial assessments, focus on the attributes that truly matter such as values and beliefs alignment in the context of a company culture. Avoid personality (or psychometric) assessments, or what we call ‘who assessments’ as that focuses too much on culture fit and can be homogenizing.
Now It’s Your Turn
Hiring is all about culture. When you hire for culture add, you’re not only adding to the company’s culture, but also to their bottom line. Your overall goal should be more than just ‘adding diversity’, aim to activate and manage it by creating an environment where all employees can thrive. Our recommendation to your organization is to build a culture of belonging that will positively impact employee engagement and performance levels. If you are ready to improve how you hire top talent and focus on culture add, drop us a note.
Fortay.ai is a predictive analytics platform for culture-first companies, helping them to build diverse and highly-effective teams with a data-informed approach. We make it easy to hire and retain talent for true culture add and nurture your company culture.
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