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Hiring for Culture Fit in a Fair and Equitable Way

April 19, 2022

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Hiring for a culture fit makes sense. After all, you want your team to work well together and align on your company’s values and beliefs.

But as it turns out, your well-meaning efforts might actually prevent diverse and innovative employees from joining your team. Because when it comes to hiring and welcoming new employees into your company’s culture, a homogenous mindset isn’t always the best one to adopt. 

In fact, according to the Harvard Business Review, when most people are asked to imagine an employee who would be a “good fit culturally," they tend to picture someone they’d like to grab a beer with. Hiring by culture alone can lead to implicit bias and prevent diverse and talented employees from entering the fold. 

So, how do you hire for culture fit fairly? 

The key is to adopt a more effective approach by embracing cultural addition: “Culture add attempts to understand if a new hire can contribute something unique to the culture.” It's also an effective way to improve diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI), allowing your team to reap the benefits of diverse voices, lived experiences, and innovative approaches.

Not sure how to hire for culture fit and culture add? Here are a few tips.

What you’ll need to hire for culture fit in a fair way

Before we dive into the nitty-gritty about how to hire for culture fit in the fairest way possible, here’s a list of the factors and considerations you’ll want to keep in mind:

  • Create clear company goals, mission, values, and an overall clear sense of culture.
  • Conduct an employee-based gap analysis. (Where are you lacking in talent? Do you have too many “big picture” thinkers?)
  • Assess your job descriptions and recruitment ads to ensure your company culture exists in them.
  • Remain open to redefining your goals and values.
  • Conduct research on how your brand is perceived and then amp up your internet presence to attract new, diverse talent.
  • Embrace the ideas and approaches of new hires and resist the urge to mold them, or worse, penalize them in some way for taking a different view — that’s the point of hiring for culture add!

Things to keep on your radar before and during hiring

You want to create a diverse, inclusive, competent, and talented team that will grow with your company over time. 

Hiring fairly for culture fit by embracing culture add is more than just considering any single indicator like race, sex, and ethnicity. Hiring an employee from an underrepresented group that has a unique worldview and lived experience is at the heart of hiring for culture add

Resourceful, out-of-the-box thinkers and innovators can provide immense value to your team. Showing your applicants that you value what they can add to your company culture goes a long way towards morale and motivation if you extend an offer to hire. And happier, content employees can mean higher motivation, productivity, and retention.

Step 1: Define your company culture to a tee.

You know what your company culture stands for at the DNA level. But have you ever tried to articulate it in tangible terms?

Nail down your company’s norms, vision, mission, and values. Once this is done, brainstorm how your current team (or future employees) can add value to those traits. 

For example, if your company culture fosters and celebrates professional growth and an atmosphere of learning, then you might value a new hire who can accept feedback and use it to motivate them to level up.

Step 2: Leverage social media and digital channels to showcase your culture.

If you want to attract (and add) diverse and talented employees to your culture, you’ll want to make sure you show more than a glimpse of that culture to the world. 

 Potential applicants will want to know more about your company culture. Here are some of the ways you can put that on display:

  • Create a dedicated company culture page that shows what your team stands for and how you work together. Have fun with it!
  • Harness the power of social media to announce events, tag team members, and give a transparent sense of what defines your culture.
  • Commit to announcing achievements or creating an employee spotlight to celebrate the wins.

Step 3: Prioritize DEI by hiring for “culture add.” 

If you only hire employees that you feel will “fit” right into your workplace culture, you’re going to deprive the team of diverse and talented go-getters with worldviews and talent that will add to your company culture. 

Showing new candidates that your company is committed to diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) is as much about “walking the walk” as it is about “talking the talk.” 

According to research by Monster.com, “86% of candidates globally say diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) in the workplace is important to them.”

Instead, focus on hiring for culture add. To do so, here are some factors to keep in mind:

  • Assess who’s represented on your team and who isn’t. 
  • Reevaluate your brand. Do you represent an authentic commitment to DEI? 
  • Consider using video footage to attract the best candidates.

Step 4: Humanize the interviewing and onboarding process.

The interviewing and onboarding process is a powerful opportunity to show the right candidate how your company works and what its culture is like. The onboarding process is also crucial for setting up your employee for success over the long term.

Create and deliver “culture add” interview questions

Culture add interview questions explore how a candidate might “add” value and new perspectives to the company and its culture.

Here are a few culture add questions to work into your next interview session:

  • How would you define a successful day at work?
  • Can you think of a time when you received specific feedback from a manager or supervisor? How did you react, and what did you do to incorporate their feedback (or take their feedback in a new direction)?
  • What does work-life balance mean to you, and how do you prioritize that?

Step 5: Lean on collaborative communication channels.

If you haven’t already democratized your team’s communication channels, then what are you waiting for?

Collaborative communication is about everyone being on the same page. Open and transparent communication is a cornerstone in creating a culture of inclusion and belonging where everyone has a voice and is also heard.

A business playbook (AKA, a company playbook) is one of the most effective ways to automate your processes and keep everyone in the know. 

It’s here that you can mold your company’s mission, what you do, and who you serve. A new hire will also have equal access to policies, your organizational structure, contact information, and communication channels that can help foster clear and open communication throughout the company.

Step 6: Build a transparent and inclusive culture of belonging.

Human beings are hardwired with the need to belong. 

You want to create a workplace culture of belonging — one that embraces each employee for who they are and provides them with the tools and resources to grow and thrive.

Think about it this way. When a new hire (and every member of your team) feels they belong, they’re more likely to engage — and we know there’s a positive correlation between engagement and productivity.

You might have a truly diverse workplace culture and an unwavering commitment to DEI in everything you do. However, creating a diverse workplace doesn’t necessarily mean you also have a culture of belonging on your hands. 

So, how do you know if you have a culture of belonging?

Ask yourself if you celebrate everyone’s differences. With culture fit, it’s easy to celebrate what everyone’s doing similarly for the mission or to get closer to a goal. 

But when you focus on culture add and how to foster belonging — like, acknowledging and celebrating what people add to the culture — that goes a long way toward building a diverse and winning team. Here are a few ways to gauge if your company culture is one of belonging:

  • What's the daily conversation like? Are there safe topics?
  • Are the same milestones and same people always getting recognition or rewards?
  • What does each employee’s performance look like?
  • Is there an absence of conflict?
  • What do your employees say?

By creating a culture of belonging, you’ll be more likely to attract diverse and talented new hires who will add a distinct flavor to your culture thanks to their global perspectives and innovative thinking. And, of course, you’ll be more likely to retain them down the road.

Ready to hire for culture fit and culture add?

Your company is only as strong and successful as the diverse and talented team members who define it. 

Hiring for culture fit alone will only bring you more of the same type of employee at the exclusion of new and diverse talent that can help you level up and scale.

Hiring for culture add and equipping your new employees with the resources they need to succeed will create a culture of authentic belonging, engagement, and productivity. And that’s the type of company the best talent are searching for.

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Article

Hiring for Culture Fit in a Fair and Equitable Way

April 19, 2022

Jump to a section
Share it!
Sign up for our newsletter
You're all signed up! Look out for the next edition of The Manual Weekly coming Wednesday am!
Oops! Something went wrong while submitting the form.

Hiring for a culture fit makes sense. After all, you want your team to work well together and align on your company’s values and beliefs.

But as it turns out, your well-meaning efforts might actually prevent diverse and innovative employees from joining your team. Because when it comes to hiring and welcoming new employees into your company’s culture, a homogenous mindset isn’t always the best one to adopt. 

In fact, according to the Harvard Business Review, when most people are asked to imagine an employee who would be a “good fit culturally," they tend to picture someone they’d like to grab a beer with. Hiring by culture alone can lead to implicit bias and prevent diverse and talented employees from entering the fold. 

So, how do you hire for culture fit fairly? 

The key is to adopt a more effective approach by embracing cultural addition: “Culture add attempts to understand if a new hire can contribute something unique to the culture.” It's also an effective way to improve diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI), allowing your team to reap the benefits of diverse voices, lived experiences, and innovative approaches.

Not sure how to hire for culture fit and culture add? Here are a few tips.

What you’ll need to hire for culture fit in a fair way

Before we dive into the nitty-gritty about how to hire for culture fit in the fairest way possible, here’s a list of the factors and considerations you’ll want to keep in mind:

  • Create clear company goals, mission, values, and an overall clear sense of culture.
  • Conduct an employee-based gap analysis. (Where are you lacking in talent? Do you have too many “big picture” thinkers?)
  • Assess your job descriptions and recruitment ads to ensure your company culture exists in them.
  • Remain open to redefining your goals and values.
  • Conduct research on how your brand is perceived and then amp up your internet presence to attract new, diverse talent.
  • Embrace the ideas and approaches of new hires and resist the urge to mold them, or worse, penalize them in some way for taking a different view — that’s the point of hiring for culture add!

Things to keep on your radar before and during hiring

You want to create a diverse, inclusive, competent, and talented team that will grow with your company over time. 

Hiring fairly for culture fit by embracing culture add is more than just considering any single indicator like race, sex, and ethnicity. Hiring an employee from an underrepresented group that has a unique worldview and lived experience is at the heart of hiring for culture add

Resourceful, out-of-the-box thinkers and innovators can provide immense value to your team. Showing your applicants that you value what they can add to your company culture goes a long way towards morale and motivation if you extend an offer to hire. And happier, content employees can mean higher motivation, productivity, and retention.

Step 1: Define your company culture to a tee.

You know what your company culture stands for at the DNA level. But have you ever tried to articulate it in tangible terms?

Nail down your company’s norms, vision, mission, and values. Once this is done, brainstorm how your current team (or future employees) can add value to those traits. 

For example, if your company culture fosters and celebrates professional growth and an atmosphere of learning, then you might value a new hire who can accept feedback and use it to motivate them to level up.

Step 2: Leverage social media and digital channels to showcase your culture.

If you want to attract (and add) diverse and talented employees to your culture, you’ll want to make sure you show more than a glimpse of that culture to the world. 

 Potential applicants will want to know more about your company culture. Here are some of the ways you can put that on display:

  • Create a dedicated company culture page that shows what your team stands for and how you work together. Have fun with it!
  • Harness the power of social media to announce events, tag team members, and give a transparent sense of what defines your culture.
  • Commit to announcing achievements or creating an employee spotlight to celebrate the wins.

Step 3: Prioritize DEI by hiring for “culture add.” 

If you only hire employees that you feel will “fit” right into your workplace culture, you’re going to deprive the team of diverse and talented go-getters with worldviews and talent that will add to your company culture. 

Showing new candidates that your company is committed to diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) is as much about “walking the walk” as it is about “talking the talk.” 

According to research by Monster.com, “86% of candidates globally say diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) in the workplace is important to them.”

Instead, focus on hiring for culture add. To do so, here are some factors to keep in mind:

  • Assess who’s represented on your team and who isn’t. 
  • Reevaluate your brand. Do you represent an authentic commitment to DEI? 
  • Consider using video footage to attract the best candidates.

Step 4: Humanize the interviewing and onboarding process.

The interviewing and onboarding process is a powerful opportunity to show the right candidate how your company works and what its culture is like. The onboarding process is also crucial for setting up your employee for success over the long term.

Create and deliver “culture add” interview questions

Culture add interview questions explore how a candidate might “add” value and new perspectives to the company and its culture.

Here are a few culture add questions to work into your next interview session:

  • How would you define a successful day at work?
  • Can you think of a time when you received specific feedback from a manager or supervisor? How did you react, and what did you do to incorporate their feedback (or take their feedback in a new direction)?
  • What does work-life balance mean to you, and how do you prioritize that?

Step 5: Lean on collaborative communication channels.

If you haven’t already democratized your team’s communication channels, then what are you waiting for?

Collaborative communication is about everyone being on the same page. Open and transparent communication is a cornerstone in creating a culture of inclusion and belonging where everyone has a voice and is also heard.

A business playbook (AKA, a company playbook) is one of the most effective ways to automate your processes and keep everyone in the know. 

It’s here that you can mold your company’s mission, what you do, and who you serve. A new hire will also have equal access to policies, your organizational structure, contact information, and communication channels that can help foster clear and open communication throughout the company.

Step 6: Build a transparent and inclusive culture of belonging.

Human beings are hardwired with the need to belong. 

You want to create a workplace culture of belonging — one that embraces each employee for who they are and provides them with the tools and resources to grow and thrive.

Think about it this way. When a new hire (and every member of your team) feels they belong, they’re more likely to engage — and we know there’s a positive correlation between engagement and productivity.

You might have a truly diverse workplace culture and an unwavering commitment to DEI in everything you do. However, creating a diverse workplace doesn’t necessarily mean you also have a culture of belonging on your hands. 

So, how do you know if you have a culture of belonging?

Ask yourself if you celebrate everyone’s differences. With culture fit, it’s easy to celebrate what everyone’s doing similarly for the mission or to get closer to a goal. 

But when you focus on culture add and how to foster belonging — like, acknowledging and celebrating what people add to the culture — that goes a long way toward building a diverse and winning team. Here are a few ways to gauge if your company culture is one of belonging:

  • What's the daily conversation like? Are there safe topics?
  • Are the same milestones and same people always getting recognition or rewards?
  • What does each employee’s performance look like?
  • Is there an absence of conflict?
  • What do your employees say?

By creating a culture of belonging, you’ll be more likely to attract diverse and talented new hires who will add a distinct flavor to your culture thanks to their global perspectives and innovative thinking. And, of course, you’ll be more likely to retain them down the road.

Ready to hire for culture fit and culture add?

Your company is only as strong and successful as the diverse and talented team members who define it. 

Hiring for culture fit alone will only bring you more of the same type of employee at the exclusion of new and diverse talent that can help you level up and scale.

Hiring for culture add and equipping your new employees with the resources they need to succeed will create a culture of authentic belonging, engagement, and productivity. And that’s the type of company the best talent are searching for.

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Hiring for Culture Fit in a Fair and Equitable Way

April 19, 2022

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