Culture Fit vs Culture Add

A False Debate

The recent “culture fit” and “culture add” debate has been painstakingly torn apart by HR influencers, bloggers and a few highly respected professional magazines. They have argued that hiring for “culture fit” means employing clones, leading to a lack of diversity, and the better solution is to hire for “culture add.” However, the problem they’re talking about is not found in the words “fit” or “add,” but is actually found with the biases we all have and which can come through in the recruiting process; the conversation about “culture fit” versus “culture add” is ultimately a semantics issue. The bottom line is that companies need to put intention and effort into recruiting and hiring for diversity and drop this ridiculous war on the phrase “culture fit.”

August 2023

Dan Hunter


The Power of Shared Values and Goals

To reach its full potential, a business must foster a shared sense of values and goals among its workforce. This alignment is crucial as it lays the foundation for a cohesive and productive working environment. When employees genuinely align with a company’s core principles, they are more likely to be motivated, engaged, and committed to the organization’s success. There is still room for diversity here; finding individuals whose values resonate with the company’s ethos allows them to bring their unique perspectives and opinions along. Those unique experiences and opinions are core to the company’s diversity. You do not need to forsake alignment on values in order to gain diversity – nothing could be farther from the truth.

The Strength of Diversity of Experience and Opinion

While shared values and goals are vital, diversity of experience and opinion within the workforce is equally critical for driving innovation and growth. A homogeneous workforce, even if culturally aligned, can lead to stagnation and a lack of creativity. Hiring people outside your typical pool of candidates can lead to new experiences and opinions you may not normally encounter. Their alignment with your company’s culture helps ensure they will be motivated and engaged while their unique skills and perspectives add diversity to your team. Increasing diversity in this way brings fresh perspectives, challenges conventional thinking, and fosters creativity and problem-solving. Hence, hiring for culture fit should not be interpreted as seeking individuals who conform to a specific mold but rather as attracting talented individuals who can contribute unique viewpoints.

The Role of Biases in the Culture Fit Debate

While the focus is often on the terms “fit” and “add,” the real challenge lies in addressing the biases that pervade the recruitment process. Unconscious biases can perpetuate homogeneity within an organization, hindering efforts to achieve true diversity and inclusion. These biases could be toward the more obvious aspects of a person, such as race or religion, or more subtle things, like personality traits or political views. While you can never eliminate bias, taking steps to reduce or mitigate for natural biases is a giant leap toward diversity and inclusion. Training hiring managers and interviewers to recognize and acknowledge their own unconscious biases, the next step is creating a system to reduce that bias. Implementing objective solutions and tools that minimize bias and help hiring teams see beyond their limited paradigms.

At Workzinga, we recognize that businesses need strong culture alignment to thrive. Employees who align with the company’s values while bringing diverse viewpoints bridge the gap between cohesion and innovation, leading to higher productivity and better outcomes. Businesses should embrace authentic culture-focused hiring and create a dynamic environment where diversity and inclusion are celebrated while maintaining a cohesive culture of shared values and goals. By leveraging objective tools and strategies, companies can move beyond traditional biases and cultivate an inclusive workforce that empowers employees to thrive and organizations to reach their full potential. Workzinga remains committed to championing these principles and driving positive change within the corporate landscape.