The meaning behind culture fit should not be efforts toward hiring more of the same. It really needs to be a fit for the values; how people can share a basic set of principles even if they come from different backgrounds and have wildly different experiences.
Having a culture fit should mean sharing the value of differences and healthy opposition; esteeming a plentitude of perspectives sitting around the table brainstorming on the most productive way to do something. Progression cannot happen without diversity of thought. And this is why Pandora introduced the idea and strategy behind “culture add.” It brings us back to basics: human resources. In this sense, I don’t mean a department or function in a company; I mean an organization’s greatest assets.
In a Deloitte study, it is stated that “Too many organizations try to engage employees around their commonalities, but instead they should focus on what differences each employee is able to contribute to a common mission at work.” This is what should define the culture…and you should recruit people who value the same.
Don’t hire based on the beer test. You know, the test of whether you would want to grab a beer after work. Don’t hire based on whether someone can get along with everybody else. Instead, hire based on qualities and skills which do not yet exist on your team. Hire based on what someone can add to the culture rather than mesh with it. Culture is like a crockpot soup recipe. You start with a base and add a different ingredient one at a time. Each ingredient intensifies and improves the soup as they work together to craft a bigger and better soup. There is a shared set of values and goals even though each individual ingredient brings something diverse to the whole group. The final arrangement ends up being a delicious collaboration.
Eventually, with a lack of diversity, your competition will surpass you. You will find you have shortsighted productivity levels because groupthink is likely to creep in. Indistinguishable perspectives become stale. Katherine Phillips of Northwestern University says, “When a newcomer comes in, it interrupts the group. It changes the flow of the process and makes people stop and pay attention to the person…We know though that not all new ideas come from newcomers. Sometimes new ideas are sitting in the group already, just waiting for the right moment to come up.” And this is where the value is added; when heterogenous minds come together the results are favorable.