Cultural fit is a much-touted recruiting buzzword, a reason to hire—or pass up—a candidate. From alignment with a company’s mission, vision and values to collaboration with one’s coworkers, we want to be certain a prospective employee is a compatible match. But focusing only on how someone fits can have unintended consequences—such as the tendency to hire people with similar backgrounds—resulting in groupthink, and ultimately stifling diversity and creativity.
What if we reframed the idea of cultural fit to cultural addition?
For example, when it comes to hiring, it’s fair to ask, “Does this candidate truly fit the current and future needs of this role and this organization?” If the answer is yes, that’s great. But then, we should also consider, “Is this person different from me? Will they bring new perspectives and experiences to the company?” If the answer is also yes, that’s fantastic!
In today’s tight labor market, a focus on cultural addition is one of the smartest strategies an organization can employ. It helps create workplaces that are diverse, not only in terms of gender, race and other factors, but also in experience, ideas and accomplishments. In turn, such a workplace environment can become a key part of your employer brand.
For me, celebrating cultural addition is a key variable of “The Talent Equation,” the theme of our upcoming annual conference, Indeed Interactive. (May 13–15 in Austin, Texas). When top talent has infinite employment options, companies must narrow in on what matters most to candidates and their decision-making processes. By leveraging these factors, employers can develop branding strategies that attract and retain the best talent.
Bridge the gap between talent acquisition and marketing
To truly master the variables of hiring success, however, it helps to think like a marketer.
When you think like a marketer, you tell stories—and there is no better way to build your employer brand than through compelling storytelling. Instead of simply listing your benefits on your company website, share how Karen in accounting utilized your flex-scheduling policies to pursue an MBA, or how Doug in supply chain used his paternity leave to help care for his newborn in the NICU. Through such personal accounts, job seekers can more easily connect with your organization and visualize themselves making their own impact.
While it once seemed an unlikely pairing, many talent leaders now foster a relationship with their marketing department to ensure their employer brand reflects the same principles and messaging as the company’s consumer brand. For those who experience pushback or reluctance to collaborate, sharing data like company ratings and reviews, which reflect employee sentiment and shape public perception of your organization, can help begin to make the case for alignment.
Ultimately, by combining the principle of cultural addition with that of great storytelling, businesses can gain the competitive edge in a fierce labor market. Put another way: Rather than looking for candidates to fit into what you already have, go after those who will add something you don’t have. In the end, you’ll help bring new talent with a diversity of opinions and experiences onboard. Together, they’ll brainstorm new and better ideas and contribute to your company story through authentic experiences, resulting in a best-in-class brand.
Learn more about The Talent Equation, and how you can master your own variables of hiring success, here.