Culture-fit vs. culture-add: a business’s unique selling point for HR talent

May 17, 2023

Charlotte Chandler supports businesses and HR professionals within the commerce and industry sectors by sourcing and recruiting mid-senior candidates across technology, telecommunications, media and more.

We sat down with Charlotte to discuss the difference between culture-fit and culture-add – and why culture has become a business’s most attractive selling point for high-quality and diverse HR talent.   

How do you help businesses and professionals?

Each engagement comes with its unique needs. Whether it be a candidate looking to take the next step in their career, entering into a brand-new sector, guiding clients on the best way to grow their teams and or adding value by creating new positions for continual growth.

None of this comes without challenges – it takes a specific approach to remaining consultative all whilst adding expertise to decision-making and challenging thinking. On both sides, the goal is always to add value and develop long-standing relationships.

Why is a business’s culture important to HR professionals?

Business culture is one of the most important elements as to why HR professionals join a business. It sets the precedent as to how HR is valued within an organisation. It also shows how high it is on the business agenda and how much investment is given from the top.

HR professionals want a seat at the table in 2023 to ensure their varied skillsets are utilised in their next move. Our candidates always take an interest in diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI), wellbeing and performance management initiatives, including how to deliver effective HR practices.

Whilst culture is important, HR professionals always want to ensure this isn’t just a buzzword and that they really can have a positive impact across all levels of the workforce. This can be during the initial talent attraction piece, continual employee engagement and across leadership development.

What’s the difference between culture add and culture fit?

Culture fit, aligning with the current company values, fits in well with stakeholder thinking and matches current employees’ characteristics and beliefs. Although this is great for someone to slot into a current function, it does not allow for any future growth or innovation.

Hiring for culture add will ensure that the business is adding an individual that can positively challenge thinking, bring an element of creativity and diversify the current culture with a fresh perspective and approach to problem-solving.

Whilst there will always be businesses that hire based on cultural fit, the businesses that hire for culture-add are far ahead in their company journey and growth plans – which in turn creates industry leaders.

Why is it important for HR professionals to understand a potential employer’s culture?

Now more than ever, candidates are looking at prospective employers that align with their individual values and working style, whilst embracing innovation and positive change. Top businesses not only value working styles but also champion diversity in where people come from and also how they live their lives.

There is no one-size-fits-all anymore, so HR professionals consider how they can promote this within the parameters of HR policies and how receptive their new HR leader or C-Suite will be to suggestions, ideas and future change in culture.

How and why are candidates becoming more inquisitive around culture?

Pre-pandemic, it was very common that candidates would seek their next move for an increase in salary or a step up in responsibility. Whilst we do now see these patterns, I find the main motivator to professionals moving roles is to work in an organisation with values and a culture that the HR professional individually aligns with. This can reflect through the company’s product or ways they promote their company culture and values through their people.

How can HR professionals ask the right questions in interviews?

Ask open-ended questions. You don’t want to give the interviewer the answer, rather get the most genuine response.

Request specific detail about the HR team’s dynamic and enquire about how the business measures success. Other important questions could focus on how would the HR team drive their DEI agenda and if the team promotes culture growth – if so, how?

What are your thoughts on culture-fit vs culture-add within the HR industry? Please feel free to complete the form below to discuss your career.

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