Choosing Cultural ‘Adds’ Over Cultural ‘Fits’ – How It Can Help HR Recruit From A More Localised Perspective

by | Jan 12, 2022 | Recruitment

Company culture is becoming increasingly vital to businesses, employees and potential candidates alike.

A recent global survey that incorporated 3,200 workers across more than 40 countries found that, according to 67% of respondents, a company’s culture is more important than its operations or strategy. And it seems the advent of the pandemic has shone an even brighter spotlight on culture and its crucial place within business, with 69% of senior leaders crediting much of their success during the global crisis to the culture and values upheld by their company.

So, in recruitment terms, and particularly in relation to recruitment within the localisation industry, how does the idea of culture – both that of the company and the candidate in question – affect decisions made by hiring teams?

For starters, it helps to look at how opting for a ‘cultural add’ can benefit a company more than choosing a ‘cultural fit’.


The difference between a cultural ‘add’ and a cultural ‘fit’

To fully understand the inherent differences between both of these terms, it helps to first define each one.

What is a ‘cultural fit’?

Finding a candidate who is a cultural fit is undoubtedly an advisable move. A cultural fit is someone whose values and motivations align with those contained within an organisation’s culture statement.

This candidate will likely have a similar educational and work background to existing employees and will fall in line easily with day-to-day operations, integrating seamlessly with the overall team and settling into their role quickly.

What is a ‘cultural add’?

A cultural add, on the other hand, is someone who ideally shares similar ideals with the company they are joining, but who is also capable of bringing fresh insights and possibilities to the table. They may not necessarily share comparable experiences with their new colleagues in terms of education and career.

As a result, they might constructively challenge an organisation’s existing practices or values, potentially spearheading positive change and promoting diversity within the company.


Why more and more HR teams are prioritising cultural ‘adds’ over cultural ‘fits’

Hiring a candidate that fits in with company values is beneficial for numerous reasons, but relying heavily on this process can diminish an organisation’s capacity to innovate and excel.

While deliberately hiring for cultural fit has been a popular method for many decades, the lines have become blurred in recent years, with companies often believing that the term ‘cultural fit’ equates to an individual that the team can socialise with, out of hours.

Undoubtedly, building up a rapport with colleagues that can be carried through to social situations is a huge benefit and one that promotes overall job satisfaction. However, outside of this, it holds little merit concerning a company’s future potential. In fact, hiring for fit alone can stifle an organisation’s ability to develop and function with a creative edge.


Choosing Cultural 'Adds' Over Cultural 'Fits' - IAG (2)


What can positively impact operations and strategy, however, is the idea of “Cognitive Elaboration” – or a deeper thinking approach – which can be achieved when a group of diverse thinkers are placed side by side in a collaborative working environment.

For this reason, in recent years hiring managers have begun to veer away from predominantly seeking cultural fits in favour of recruiting cultural adds that may bring far more to the company in terms of diversity, growth and innovation.

Ideally, however, finding a candidate that displays the qualities of both a cultural fit and a cultural add is the dream outcome.


The benefits of finding a balance between a cultural ‘add’ and a cultural ‘fit’

The obvious pro when considering the benefits of hiring with both cultural fit and add in mind is that the candidate in question will tick two key boxes. Firstly, they will align with company values and therefore help to sustain the status quo, while on the other hand being responsible for influencing positive cultural change.

This immediately has a knock-on effect on the dynamics of a business.

What’s more, it is crucial to strike a balance between cultural fit and cultural add when recruiting within the localisation industry specifically. Hiring individuals from different backgrounds who can share insights into the nuances of the various markets your company is appealing to is not only beneficial, it’s also vital to the success of a scaling global company.

The acquisition of an employee with this scope of unique and important knowledge will not only impact your business but will also serve to influence other members of the team through shared new perspectives.
With diverse companies said to outperform industry norms by 35%, there is a strong argument for hiring in favour of an ‘outside the box’ kind of approach.


Choosing Cultural 'Adds' Over Cultural 'Fits' - IAG (3)


Another distinctive benefit to finding a healthy balance between both entities is that it forces you to reassess your core values as an organisation. To achieve clarity on how a new candidate aligns with your existing culture statement, it must be reviewed, clearly defined and updated if necessary.

This reassessment of company culture will provide your current team with more clarity on the ethos of the business, creating an opportunity for reflection on the very values that may have attracted them to the company in the first place.

The latter course of action, while holding plentiful weight in terms of how it benefits your existing team structure, is also a necessary step to take to aid your search for a promising cultural add. But what other steps can be taken to ensure success in this area?


Choosing Cultural 'Adds' Over Cultural 'Fits' - IAG (4)


How to attract and retain a promising cultural add

Firstly, it’s important to address any glaring talent gaps evident within the existing team.

When it comes to localisation businesses, the skills required to bridge these gaps can be vast and varied. From translators to engineers to automation specialists, there are endless roles to be filled.

However, the key is knowing what to keep in mind when searching for the perfect candidate. Yes, they will need the necessary qualifications and experience for whatever position they are intended for, but do they also boast attributes that can be applied to other departments?

Perhaps they come to the table with some interesting ideas on how they feel the company could develop in a specific market? Look out for these added qualities that can transform a candidate from a ‘fit’ to an ‘add’.

Gauging a person’s status as both a cultural add and a cultural fit during the interview stage can also be an eye-opening experience. By discussing your company’s values openly with the interviewee, inviting their opinion on how they align with their own ideals or how they feel these values could be improved upon, you will gain insight into whether or not they will be a successful fit, while also delving into any interesting alternative thoughts they could bring to the table in the name of operational improvement.

Arguably one of the most effective ways of both attracting and hiring the right candidate is to count on the professionals to put their expertise to great use.


Localisation Recruitment

As specialists in providing localisation recruitment for international candidates and companies, International Achievers Group has over 20 years of experience working with many of the world’s leading companies who are expanding on the global stage.

With an exceptional reputation for matching the best candidates with the right companies and providing a service that delivers for them every time, there is no company better placed to facilitate your most pressing recruitment needs.

Get in touch today to make an enquiry.