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The Antonio Brown Conundrum: How Important Is It To Fit Into The Company Culture?

If you're a football fan, you're probably very familiar with the Antonio Brown situation.

The Pro-Bowl wide receiver became a locker room problem for the Pittsburgh Steelers and was traded to the Oakland Raiders in the off-season. However, Brown never played a game for Oakland and, through a series of bizarre events, essentially forced his release from the team and joined the New England Patriots for the 2019 season.

If you're still reading this, you must be wondering, what does this have to do with workplace culture?


The Importance of Company Culture

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The New England Patriots are known for having a very specific culture, dubbed by some "The Patriot Way." Players are expected to fall in line quickly or not be on the team. With six Super Bowl championships in almost 20 years, it's hard to dispute that culture. The major question now is will Brown fall in line with that culture or disrupt it.

Like an NFL locker room, workplace culture can be a delicate balance. Most companies hire based on a combination of whether a person meets the job qualifications and how they fit into the company culture. The culture component is important because all it takes is one bad employee to disrupt the company culture.

What If A New Employee Doesn't Fit Into The Company's Culture?

No hiring process is the same, and sometimes companies may come across an applicant who is extremely talented but not a perfect cultural fit. That doesn't necessarily mean that person shouldn't be hired. It just means that both the company and new employee will have to work extra hard to get on the same page.

The new employee will need to realize why he or she is not fitting into the company culture and try to adapt. In some cases, co-workers may need to step up and help the new employee fit into the workplace culture. It may seem like a hassle at first, but in the long-run it will benefit the entire company if everyone is on the same page. Some companies will assign work buddies to help new employees transition into the workplace.

The Benefits Of Taking A Chance On An Employee

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The New England Patriots are taking a risk on Antonio Brown because they likely believe he will make an effort to fit into the team's culture and that his talent will help in the team's effort to win a record-setting seventh Super Bowl.

A company will likely take a risk on an employee who isn't a perfect cultural fit because it believes the employee will fit into the company culture eventually and because the positives of hiring that employee will far outweigh the negatives.

No matter how you slice it, though, there's risk involved with any new employee you hire. There are never any guarantees that things will work out. But, there are potential benefits to hiring employees that don't immediately fit the company culture. These employees can bring in new, fresh ideas. In addition, it's possible that you may be able to learn a lot from this employee's background and experiences.

There are also times where company cultures are outdated and need to evolve and sometimes it takes a new employee to get the ball rolling.

The Antonio Brown situation may not relate perfectly to the workplace but whether your the owner of a sports team or CEO of a large business, you're always bringing in new people in hopes of furthering success. There is risk associated with every new person you bring into the fold. The question is how big of a risk are you willing to take?

Should companies always look for a perfect cultural fit? Vote in our poll below!


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