Emtrain Blog

Is Hiring for 'Culture Fit' Ruining Your Culture?

Posted by Allison Baker

January 24, 2017

Hire for Culture-Add, not Culture Fit

Whether you're a CEO or an HR leader, you know how important having a positive workplace culture is. But what if your hiring practices are actually hindering your culture instead of cultivating it?

While discussing the topic of hiring practices during our recent webinar, David Cohen, Co-Founder & Co-CEO of Techstars, said that hiring managers should be looking for a culture-add, not just a culture fit.

If you are trying to make sure a candidate fits into your existing culture, you’re kind of missing the point. After all, you’re looking for individuals who can embrace your culture and enhance it with their own skills and strengths.

There’s a rule to improvisational comedy that applies here: the concept of “Yes, and!” “Yes, and!” is essential in improv because it means that you agree with your scene partner’s offer (yes!) and you build on the idea, giving the scene further detail to push the narrative forward.

While the “yes, and!” concept can help build a more successful improv scene, it can can also work as a strategy to grow your team. Any person you hire should not only embrace your culture, they also should build on it with something totally new and unique to them. Otherwise, you get a team full of people who contribute similar skill sets and ways of thinking.

Last week, our team played an escape room together. In an escape room, you have to, as a team, solve puzzles and follow clues to get out of the room. We were only given a few tools which meant we had to work together to solve the puzzles and unlock the room.

Our diversity of strength was integral to our success in the room. We all made individual contributions that no one else could. We made it out of the room in time (barely) because we all had different perspectives; as a team, we were able to close the gap to solve the puzzle.

Time and again we’ve learned that diversity in teams is a competitive business advantage. Diverse companies have EBIT margins that are 14 percent higher, on average, than those of the least diverse companies.

It pays to have a diverse team. So, when you’re hiring your next candidate, don’t ask yourself how the candidate fits into your culture, ask yourself how they might add to it.

To learn more about how diversity and inclusion will be your competetive advantage in 2017, join your free webinar with the Founder and CEO of Techstars to learn more about . 

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Topics: diversity, Unconscious Bias