Building and growing a successful business largely depends on the work that your team can achieve, and therefore on the people who are part of it. We know this. That’s why recruitment is so important. However, it isn’t so clear how a company should go about composing their team and creating a work culture.
Who should you hire to build a successful business? This article looks at the debate between culture fit and culture add as strategies for employee wellbeing and business development. We also hope to clarify any confusion over the importance of building a work culture, what it involves, and how to do it right.
So should your employees be best friends or have opposite personalities? At Live Digital, we take the stance of culture add. Here’s why.
Building a Work Culture
Building a what?
Let us first zoom out and look at the concept of work culture as a key to successful business development. A company’s work culture refers to its values and principles of organisation together with the beliefs, thought processes and attitudes of its employees. Put simply, the work culture is the mental environment in which the team works and evolves. Implementing a healthy work culture can help to bring a team together, make your (home) office atmosphere top-air-quality, and motivate employees to work together towards business goals. Indeed, when employees share and embrace a set of unspoken rules about how to behave at their workplace, they adopt the same style of communication, which leads to enhanced exchanges of ideas.
No matter what you have done so far, you already have a work culture. How you can make a difference is by intentionally choosing what the work environment of your company should be like and making changes to build a positive work culture. Elements to consider when reviewing your culture include: how formal versus relaxed relationships between colleagues are, what your politics are in terms of work hours and employee flexibility, and whether employees should predominantly be doing teamwork or independent work. Some of these factors are determined by the structure of your physical environment–e.g., office sizes and whether some employees work remotely. However, it’s up to you to cultivate the overall atmosphere of your company’s workplace. Whatever your style is, our top tip is to enhance communication within your team. Making sure that everyone feels included and is comfortable enough to express critical opinions is crucial. Not only will it be beneficial for your employees’ wellbeing, but it will also allow your business strategy to be challenged and improved thanks to their different points of view. For more insight on how to promote wellbeing in your company, have a look at 3 Ways to Invest in Employees’ Wellbeing To Boost Your Company’s Growth. Now the self-evident way to get a team that communicates well is to gather individuals with similar personality traits and who will therefore easily understand each other. But what exactly does that entail in terms of recruitment? It seems that aiming at the best possible team spirit requires a company to hire the best-fit candidate, that is, the one who will easily acclimate to your company’s work culture. Everyone being best friends at the office? Sounds wonderful! But don’t jump into that just yet, there are a few reasons why it may not be the best strategy to grow your business.
Culture Add Over Culture Fit
Who is the best talent for your business?
Initially, all businesses are creative ventures that seek to bring value to targeted clients. And it’s the creativity, the renewals, the capacity to be attentive to the evolution of clients’ needs that constitute the core of a good functioning business. A plan of action might work now but will need to be revised later. How to keep the creativity flowing? New outlooks. New ideas. People who think differently. The downside of having a team composed of minds that work similarly is that your employees will be less likely to disagree and thereby to challenge their views and improve their ideas. This is why it’s important that your team gathers people who have diverging interests and who approach issues differently.
Being aware of your prejudice
Let’s imagine that you’re recruiting a new talent.
Among several skilled people, you identify the most qualified candidate and realise that this person is also the one that would blossom within your existing work culture. Fantastic! This is an exciting opportunity for you to hire someone who you know will both be excellent at their work and get along with their colleagues.
Among several skilled people, you identify the most qualified candidate and find that they wouldn’t fit in your work culture. Moreover, there is another candidate that catches your attention. They are less qualified, but you can’t help picturing them connecting with everyone in the team and making after-work socials so much more fun than they currently are. Tricky! However, our stance is that this is also an exciting opportunity for you to hire someone who you know will be excellent at their work and who will bring new perspectives to your strategy and challenge their colleagues’ ideas. Don’t hire for culture fit; don’t hire the candidate that you get along with best. Hire the most qualified candidate and embrace the culture add.
By the way, if identifying who the best candidate is through a computer screen feels difficult (which it is), have a look at Remote Recruitment: How to Ensure You’re Hiring the Best Digital Marketing Talent for our top tips.
Striking a Balance
Let’s nuance our culture-add stance and look at how we can make space for both general harmony and productive disagreements between your employees. The magic value: respect. Make it clear to your employees that a non-negotiable value of your work culture is that everyone must be respectful of their colleagues’ ideas. If a ‘non-fitting’ employee feels that they might be laughed at for their uncommon idea, chances are they won’t express it. Perhaps that idea was merely laughable, but maybe it was the innovative way forward for your business. You want to encourage communication and respectful debates between all employees by providing a safe atmosphere where everyone feels comfortable saying what they have in mind, without fearing to be wrong. Letting your employees know that it’s OK for them to say things that are not spot-on will encourage them to keep trying without fearing to be shamed, and will surely lead to creative upshots for your business.
Our final word on the best recipe to hire and compose a successful team? An inclusive environment where divergent minds contribute to a discussion that makes your company evolve.