How bigger organisations can also see visible results through ‘culture add’

The impact of the ‘culture add’ approach is faster and more visible in smaller companies as compared to bigger organisations

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In the ever evolving and competitive business setup, it is important to stay relevant and keep evolving with time. Just as technology systems need frequent updates to fix minor bugs, similarly, organisational culture also requires regular updation in line with the changing business needs. Well, to make this happen, every process in the organisation needs a change and be aligned with the culture of the organisation. One way to do this, is to keep evolving the hiring strategy.

Hiring talent which can influence cultural change within the organisation is one way to achieve a shift. One can follow a ‘culture add’ mindset, which can bring about that change. The ‘culture add’ mindset is something which can help organisations stay relevant and keep evolving with time. ‘Culture add’ is a variant of ‘culture fit’.

“Any organisation that needs to drive a faster culture change needs to focus on bringing in leaders with different perspectives in key leadership roles, who can cascade that change in the entire organisation.”

Ganesh Subramanian, CHRO, More Retail

Where culture fit talks about aligning the organisational behaviours, core values and competencies with that of the candidate during the evaluation process, culture add is more about being open to different kinds of behaviours or values, which can result in better growth for the company. It is about bringing in talent, which can bring different elements in terms of behaviours, skills or values, which are different from that of the organisation, but can prove to be beneficial for the growth of the company.

Can we say that a ‘culture add’ approach or mindset is more effective in smaller organisations and startups, because the employee strength is less compared to bigger organisations that have a large workforce? Logically, it does appear that way because in bigger organisations, where the employee base is large and spread across geographies, employee interaction is very limited.

“I am not just saying this as an HR leader but also as an employee that the ‘culture add’ approach is very much effective in case of larger workforces too, but yes, the visibility is more in smaller organisations and the process is much faster.”

Shefali Suri, group CHRO, Greaves Cotton

The HR leaders HRKatha spoke with, think otherwise. According to Prashant Vishwa, head of talent acquisition, Jubilant FoodWorks, it is not that the culture add approach is ineffective in bigger organisations, but the impact is not that visible. In smaller companies, on the other hand, the impact is very much visible.

“By virtue of the scale of employees, in bigger organisations, the culture add approach may certainly bring very slow and subtle changes in terms of influencing culture, but that does not mean it is altogether ineffective,” says Vishwa. After all, like Vishwa points out, culture changes are visible in bigger organisations, such as Microsoft or Tata. In fact, they are great examples of organisations that have been evolving their culture consistently, trying to make it as employee centric as possible.

Shefali Suri, group CHRO, Greaves Cotton, agrees to Vishwa’s views. “I am not just saying this as an HR leader but also as an employee that the ‘culture add’ approach is very much effective in case of larger workforces too, but yes, the visibility is more in smaller organisations and the process is much faster,” says Suri.

“I have seen in bigger organisations, culture add is practised in senior leadership positions and key roles to make a culture shift in the company. I believe, if one wants to bring or influence any change in the company, it can only happen with change in leadership, irrespective of whether the company is small or big.”

A senior HR leader from the insurance sector

The HR leaders suggest that if a company is desirous of bringing about faster cultural changes, the ‘culture add’ approach needs to be followed not just at the entry level or regular positions, but even in the hiring process for key positions or senior leadership roles.

“By virtue of the scale of employees, in bigger organisations, the culture add approach may certainly bring very slow and subtle changes in terms of influencing culture, but that does not mean it is altogether ineffective, After all, culture changes are visible in bigger organisations, such as Microsoft or Tata.” 

Prashant Vishwa, head of talent acquisition, Jubilant FoodWorks

“Any organisation that needs to drive a faster culture change needs to focus on bringing in leaders with different perspectives in key leadership roles, who can cascade that change in the entire organisation,” shares Ganesh Subramanian, CHRO, More Retail.

A senior HR leader from the insurance sector adds, “I have seen in bigger organisations, culture add is practised in senior leadership positions and key roles to make a culture shift in the company. I believe, if one wants to bring or influence any change in the company, it can only happen with change in leadership, irrespective of whether the company is small or big.”

It is not as if the culture add approach only works for smaller organisations. It is about how one is using that strategy. Bigger organisations that aim to shift the culture of the firm, will have to focus on following the culture add formula in senior leadership hiring to see visible results.

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