“They aren’t a cultural fit.” How often have you used this language to describe a candidate that you didn’t hire? What exactly does it mean? Maybe you also use it after a termination, “They weren’t a good fit.” My confusion remains the same – what do you mean?

I came across a clarification of this idea that taps into growing trend. Cultural fit means approaching tasks in the predictable way. It is the way you and your organization have always done things. I put this through my Diversity & Inclusion lens, and I sense you want diversity, but not difference. Your culture is sameness, and you want people who look different, but think and act that same way.

If this is you, I’m challenging you right now! You are missing the point.

Diversity’s value lies in difference. Your company is more successful and productive when it has engaged a wider knowledge base to tackle the problems of this complex, globalizing world and your demographically diverse client base. When your organizational culture encourages rigidity you get in the way of your own growth and success.

The new definition of cultural fit recommends aligning culture with the core values of your organization, be it efficiency, customer service, or creativity, to name a few. This is the culture you want your people to fit into and embrace. There’s any number of ways to achieve it. With emphasis on values, D&I and cultural fit combine to create space for innovation and interpretation.

How can you dismantle the myth of “cultural fit” holding back your organization? What core values do you have that create opportunities for diverse knowledge?