In the current workplace zeitgeist, we are seeing a stronger emphasis on company culture than was present in the past. 

But the truth is that, to be successful at creating cognitive diversity at work, organizations should consider cultural additions over a more generic culture fit.

NEWaukee’s latest event in our Future of Work Series, “Culture Add Over Culture Fit,” explored how, in the search for cultural fit, companies are likely to create a more homogenous workforce because everyone hired will behave a certain way; meaning the organization will inevitably exclude certain valuable viewpoints or skills. 

During the event the team from Like|Minded, including Chief Executive Officer Jeremy Fojut, Chief Science Officer Erin Magennis, and Chief Technology Officer Ben Juarez, engaged in a discussion about how, with an emphasis on cultural addition, organizations can increase their overall cognitive diversity, leading to a more connected and productive workforce.

First, it’s important to break down WHAT culture add, culture fit, and cognitive diversity are in relation to the workplace: 

  • Culture Fit = Culture fit tends to preserve comfort and uniformity in a workplace; finding people who are very similar to what you already have in the company culture.
  • Culture Add = Culture add values things like improving organization standards, exploring new ideas, and embracing healthy disagreements in companies.
  • Cognitive Diversity = Cognitive diversity means including people with different thought patterns, ideas, and mental methods/perspectives.

The following are some insights on WHY focusing on culture add over culture fit is helpful:

  • Culture fit is not nearly as important as mission fit: Jeremy says, “Culture gets put into cliches; ‘Work hard, play hard…We’re like a family here…’ That can be dangerous. That’s where we can get into this issue of ‘culture fit’ – putting everyone into a box. What is more important is if they believe in the mission.” 
  • Culture fit screenings limit people – and the company: Ben notes that before the pandemic, many companies were trying to “…pre-screen someone [to see] if they are a good fit for our company. [But] We can’t do that. It leads to homogenous workplaces, not just in racial and ethnic perspective, but also people that have the same cognitive thought…”
  • Companies need to prioritize psychological safety: Erin says, “Someone is more open to engaging when they feel psychologically safe…What are you positioning your team, company, or position as looking for, and is that accurate?”
  • Productivity, engagement, and loyalty among employees will improve: True culture can improve the overall feeling of belonging in an organization. Jeremy adds that, “Connection in the workplace is the new currency – and the people who are more connected will stay longer.”

The following are some suggestions on HOW to focus on culture adds over culture fit:

  • Invest in people analytics to integrate culture adds: Erin points out that one of the benefits of the Like|Minded software is that it does this for you. She says, “One key ‘people asset’ are bridges…If someone is a new cultural addition to your team, there may be some people on your team who are closer to that individual’s personality – and they can help be the bridge to that connection.”
  • Customize onboarding: Understanding cognitive diversity means that, “It’s important to customize everyone’s onboarding plan to that individual’s traits…” – as Jeremy says. This makes for a smoother transition and decreases the chance of early turnover. 
  • Understand yourself to understand others: Ben stresses the importance of understanding yourself, and your company, in order to connect with others. Jeremy agrees, stating that organizations should, “Have a checklist of things that can impact culture: remote vs. in person, how much time people are working vs. meeting, the mission, risk-taking vs. cautiousness…Ask these questions of yourself to better understand your culture.”

Interested in learning more about culture add and creating belonging in the workplace? Check out more about Like|Minded here, or schedule a demo by contacting  

Follow Like|Minded on Twitter and LinkedIn for more updates and info about connection in the workplace.

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