You’re Not Hiring Them To Fit In

There was a short piece in Fast Company today that discusses hiring employees in similar terms to what is required to broaden and diversify audiences – You have to hire for the company culture you want rather than hiring someone to fit existing work culture.  Basically, you can’t expect the changes you want to happen by forcing new hires to conform and fit in. Effort needs to be made to support and acknowledge the change new hires are bringing to the organization. (my emphasis)

I’ve found that companies genuinely committed to improving their workplace cultures also have another set of priorities. They look for candidates with a proven record of curiosity, innovation, and making change inside organizations.


To attract changemakers, organizations should demonstrate a genuine commitment to fostering this kind of internal innovation. In company events and full staff meetings, highlight employees who have called out problems, suggested solutions, and improved how the organization operates. One company even rewards employees for making new and interesting mistakes, showing that it supports employees taking risks and trying out new things.

Committing to changing organizational culture needs full investment because it is the right thing to do rather than the thing people expect the organization to do. It has been noted that a lot of the diversity and equity leader hires that occurred in the wave after the George Floyd protests have started to disappear, frequently due to the lack of internal support and delegated authority provided to those hired. Companies would loudly announce their commitment to change, but because there was no accountability, layoffs and resignations followed.

About Joe Patti

I have been writing Butts in the Seats (BitS) on topics of arts and cultural administration since 2004 (yikes!). Given the ever evolving concerns facing the sector, I have yet to exhaust the available subject matter. In addition to BitS, I am a founding contributor to the ArtsHacker ( website where I focus on topics related to boards, law, governance, policy and practice.

I am also an evangelist for the effort to Build Public Will For Arts and Culture being helmed by Arts Midwest and the Metropolitan Group. (

My most recent role was as Executive Director of the Grand Opera House in Macon, GA.

Among the things I am most proud are having produced an opera in the Hawaiian language and a dance drama about Hawaii's snow goddess Poli'ahu while working as a Theater Manager in Hawaii. Though there are many more highlights than there is space here to list.


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