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Company culture is vital. In fact, a survey published in The Journal of Financial Economics found that 79% of executives believe culture is one of the top value-drivers of their company. The same survey found that 84% believed their company culture had room for improvement.

As vital as it is for new hires to mesh well with the existing culture, it’s important to bring people on board who add new elements to culture, allowing it to grow and change for the better. With this in mind, more hiring managers and recruiters are shifting from the “culture fit” to the “culture add.” 

What’s the Difference Between a Culture Fit and a Culture Add?

A culture fit is typically defined as a candidate who aligns with the attitudes, values, behaviors and overall culture of the company. In practice, however, hiring for culture fit runs the risk of building homogeneity into the company culture, gatekeeping upward mobility and undermining innovative organizational growth. 

Think of the “culture add” as a higher level interpretation of fit. Thinking in terms of a culture add makes the hiring process more future-focused, offering an opportunity to take a holistic look at the broader needs and opportunities for cultural growth. 

The status quo is not good for business. A culture fit may feel good, but are they challenging your company to do better, grow stronger and reach new areas of accomplishment? 

How Can You Determine a Good Culture Add? 

Hiring managers should be asking what a team is missing, what points of view are over- or under-represented, and what other working styles could help propel broader company initiatives. 

Ask candidates how they perceive the culture at your firm and what they think is missing. This will clue you in on their comfort level with the existing environment and give them an opportunity to share suggestions to improve it. 

Consider looking for transferable skills during the hiring process. A candidate with a unique background that differs from the rest of the team is a great opportunity to shake up the status quo and gain new insights.

How Can You Set Up New Hires to Succeed? 

In order for a culture add to be successful, there needs to be support from the C-suite down and the ground up. Make sure your environment is the right place for your new hire. A culture add shouldn’t feel the burden of a cultural shift on their shoulders. 

Introduce the new hire in terms of the unique value they bring – their unique professional background, their soft skills, etc. Use this as an opportunity to highlight specialized skills and traits of your existing team as well. This will enable the entire group to see themselves as unique parts of an exciting, upward trajectory. 

Remember That Company Culture Is Dynamic

At Headfarmer, we pride ourselves on tapping into the personal side of the professional world. We know that companies work because people work together, learn from each other and build skills in communion with one another.  

Our human-first approach to recruiting allows us to help our clients cultivate positive growth in their cultures while gaining the professional skills and credentials they need. We make sure our placements not only fit, but add to and enhance the company culture. 

Work with an executive recruiter who knows and understands your ambitions by contacting Headfarmer today. 

For more insights on improving your workplace and investing in your people, visit our blog here.

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