We’ve all heard of culture fit, where businesses hire employees based on how well they fit into the company culture. This can help businesses run more coherently and lead to less tension in the workplace. But it can also lead to groupthink. That’s where culture add comes in.
If everyone’s experiences are the same, and they all feel the same way about something, opinions, beliefs, and attitudes never get challenged. Which makes it harder for employees to think creatively and solve problems. This can mean it takes longer to get things done. It can even put you behind your competitors.
Culture add, on the other hand, enhances your company culture while avoiding groupthink.
What is culture add?
Imagine a five-foot wall, with three people trying to look over it. The first person is six feet tall and can see over it fine. The second person is five foot, so they can’t really see, but they can on tiptoes. The third person is four foot and can’t see at all.
Culture fit is hiring only six-foot-tall people, so you don’t realize the wall is an obstacle to some.
Culture add is hiring those people who can point out that there’s a problem, and therefore help you find a solution because they see the world differently.
You’ve probably come across the equity meme where three people look over the wall, and the two shorter people stand on boxes to see over the wall. Culture add in a business is a real-world equivalent of that.
Benefits of culture add
So, how can focusing on culture add benefit your business? Let’s take a look:
More creativity and better problem solving
When you hire someone based on culture add, rather than culture fit, it brings in fresh perspectives.
Someone with a more creative background might not be a typical choice for a software developer, but if they have the right soft skills, they’ll pick up on the hard skills they need to succeed.
Hard skills can be taught. It’s not impossible to teach soft skills, but it isn’t as easy. And it usually takes longer.
But if you hire someone who shares your organizational values, such as a growth mindset, alongside your existing, talented employees, you get to experience the benefits of their innovative ideas.
The more diverse a group of people is, the more creative that group will be. Everyone will bring new perspectives to the table based on their life experiences. This leads to better—and faster—problem solving, and increased innovation.
Think about it: if a company is full of men, they have no idea what problems women face.
So they can’t tap into that market as efficiently or as well as a team that includes equal amounts of women in decision-making roles.
The same is true of race, religion, disabilities, and other communities.
The more you embrace diverse backgrounds, and look for culture add, the more creative problem solving you’ll get from your employees.
Happier (and more productive) employees
Culture add increases workplace diversity, which helps employees experience different cultures and ways of living.
With a more inclusive culture, employees will be happier and more productive in their roles.
They’ll want to come to work because they’ll feel like valued members of the team.
Hiring for culture fit risks bias creeping in. If hiring managers only hire people who think like them, over time it may lead to them overlooking talented candidates who think differently but are equally capable of doing the job.
When a team is already diverse, there’s less chance of bias taking over because more perspectives will be involved in the hiring process. Moreover, hiring managers will already be used to working with a range of different people.
Many businesses these days have diversity targets. While these can sometimes feel like lip service, they actually work.
A study found that companies with gender diversity targets didn’t end up hiring incompetent women. Instead, it weeded out the incompetent men!
When you look for culture add, you’ll open your talent pool up to a much wider range of candidates.
You’ll get to embrace people’s differences and utilize the strengths that come with those new perspectives.
Improve your employer brand
High-quality candidates know their worth. They won’t apply for a role at a business where the culture feels unwelcoming or off to them. If something makes them uncomfortable when they’re going through the hiring process, they may drop out. Meaning the hiring process could take even longer.
A welcoming company culture, where you focus on culture add, creates a more welcoming work environment.
This comes across in how employees talk about you on review sites like Glassdoor, social media sites like LinkedIn, and among their peers.
Since one of the best ways to hire new talent is from employees’ networks, if they’re singing your praises, their peers will want to work with you. And if you’ve put the work in to create a diverse team, you’ll attract more diverse candidates, too. Your positive employer brand will give you an ongoing advantage in the talent market.
Every business wants to make more money, right?
Well, companies that focus on culture add make more money. 33% more money, in fact.
This extra revenue could be used on business growth, employee development, talent acquisition, or even rewarding employees for their hard work with pay raises.
Culture add creates a better workplace culture and generates more revenue for businesses. It’s the next step beyond culture fit—finding people who complement your working environment, not just people who fit in because they think like everyone else.
Once you start hiring for culture add, it’s important to ensure your new team members feel welcome and included. That’s where Workrowd comes in.
Give your people one-stop shopping for everything culture and engagement, so they can find community and tap into what’s important to them from day one. Plus, with real-time analytics, you can stay agile and quickly make any changes needed to keep everyone thriving.