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Cultural Fit Vs. Diversity

I have to admit a weakness. I noticed it about year ago and I have been trying hard to fix it, but so far I am failing.

Diversity is a huge issue for a team and a company and it is so complex and so convoluted that I am not nearly as good as I should be in promoting diversity.

Case in point - for years I believed that cultural fit was a key to a solid hire. You wanted someone qualified, but you also wanted someone who you thought would fit in with the team. That would make the team and the individual happier and more engaged.

But cultural fit usually comes at the cost of diversity. People who fit in usually do so because they are like the other people. Yet, that is the exact opposite of diversity. This could be age, sex, rate, sexual preference, marital status, or any number of things.

However, when you hire for diversity, you are unintentionally, but almost certainly, adding someone who isn't a cultural fit. It may be the 20-something new college grad who is now in a department of all middle-aged people with kids. It could be the black woman in a group of mostly white people.

I don't have the answer - remember, I am bad at this. Yet I know these are the questions we need to start exploring deeply. How can we create diversity and have a great environment where the cultural fit is allowed to grow and happen. Instead of finding people who fit the current culture, create an environment where the culture expands when we add an outside force.

Yes, it creates more uncertainty and work for the manager. But you have that responsibility to the team and the company to give it the greatest chance to grow. Hiring for fit limits growth potential.

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