Why you should stop hiring for culture fit–and what to look for instead

Hiring for cultural fit may be holding your organization back, writes Gustavo Razzetti for TLNT.

An organization that pressures employees and job candidates to conform to the reigning culture risks stamping out innovation and growth, argues Razzetti, CEO of Liberationist.

Often, cultural fit can turn into cultural sameness, he warns. If all employees look and think alike, leaders lose out on the adaptability and experimentation necessary to be successful in an ever-changing market.

Other studies have found similar conclusions. In research that has spanned 12 years, two researchers have found that groups with more cognitive diversity complete a strategic execution exercise much faster than groups with less cognitive diversity.

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To foster a dynamic culture, Razzetti recommends hiring candidates who can challenge the status quo. Freshening up the "corporate Kool-Aid" requires leaders to seek out candidates with diverse backgrounds, skills, and opinions, he writes. These cultural misfits will push your organization to grow and reform.

For Razzeti, the key to cultural innovation is promoting cognitive diversity. If organizations limit diversity to demographics, teams lose out on candidates who bring new and challenging experiences, backgrounds, and opinions to the firm, he writes.

According to Razzetti, the real barrier to productive diversity is a staff who can't handle differences of opinions. To break down this barrier, train employees to embrace cognitive diversity and practice transparent conversations about differences in identity. 

Ultimately, an innovative culture rests on employees' ability to trust each other. To foster an open and trusting environment, leaders must encourage transparent conversations that position diversity as an opportunity to learn and improve (Razzetti, TLNT, 8/23).

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