‘It’s about finding the right fit for our culture’.

It’s understandable to look at the best ‘fit’ when hiring people. Culture fit and team dynamics play an important role in hiring decisions.

Hiring managers can often ask ‘how do we find the right ‘fit’ for our culture? They can emphasise how important it is that the person ‘fits’ in.

Let’s reconsider this approach for a moment.

Firstly, hiring is fundamentally, a people centred activity. It is arguably one of the most people-focussed activities we do in business. Good hiring is all about relationships and human connection, seeing the whole person.

Too many hiring approaches focus on process not people. We can easily become too narrow and restricted in our thinking. We do our best to assess the best fit using a range of tools. The reality is that people bring a range of skills and experiences from diverse backgrounds. Often our existing processes simply do not cater for this. We are all shaped by our unique experiences. This is a wonderful thing, and something to be embraced.

A problem with the ‘fitting in’ mindset is that it is subjective. Who decides who is a good fit? With a focus on fitting in, we can end up reinforcing the status quo in our organisations rather than stimulating fresh thinking and ideas.

We need people who challenge us to think differently in our organisations.

We need adaptability, creativity and fresh ideas rather than fitting in and conforming to our cultural norms. Cultures evolve all the time. Everyone, through every single interaction and conversation each day shapes and moulds the culture, they are never static and are in constant motion. Relationships are dynamic.

What about an alternative approach to hiring for culture ‘contribution’ rather than culture ‘fit’? Where would that kind of thinking take us?

I believe that our teams and culture is strengthened through fresh contributions. Teams are enriched with new diverse perspectives. It keeps things dynamic and vibrant.

With a humble, open and enquiring mind we can see the deeper value and potential that comes with diversity of thought. This can help move beyond culture fit to culture contribution, which is a more engaging, enriching and valuable way of looking at things.

Diversity of thought in organisations is important on many levels. It enables organisations to be more reflective of diverse communities and customers whom we serve. It helps to drive innovation and creativity and leads to better problem solving.

Moving from culture fit to culture contribution is more than a simple change in language. Our words carry meaning, they convey our values and reveal what we stand for. The real value lies in what culture contribution represents, what it says about an organisation.

Hiring for culture ‘contribution’ rather than ‘fit’ makes absolute business sense, it is more inclusive, and challenges us to all be better.


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At Apex HR, we believe in challenging the status quo when it comes to people at work. Outdated HR thinking and methods just won’t cut it in a rapidly changing and dynamic world. It is time for a new approach.