This week’s workshop focused on Developing Company Culture & Why It’s So Important with culture superstars: Leah Roe of HealthFinch and Zach Blumenfeld, co-founder of ThirdSpace.
Gone are the days of joining a company because they have multiple beer taps and a ping pong table set up in the office. Now, more than ever, employees are more concerned with what the company stands for, the core values of the founding team and the overall environment and atmosphere the company fosters.
You can argue defining your company culture is one of the most important things an early startup can do and it all starts with the founding team. Once you have more than one employee, a culture is created and should always be built intentionally and not be viewed as afterthought. Trust me when I tell you it is much harder to shift an established borderline toxic culture than it is to build a strong positive culture from the ground up.
Where to start? Start with the mission and vision: Use core your values as your guide and use them when you are hiring/firing people and holding people to those values. Define, document and capture your culture. Your culture will organically evolve over time as you add new employees to the company but the original core values and vision of the company will not change. Document these ensuring everyone in the company understands what the culture is and what it is built upon, and continuously reinforce them to your team as the company goes. It’s very important for the leadership team to be practitioners of defined culture and set the precedent for their team.
Your culture will have a direct reflection on your hiring practices. When hiring new talent, it is vital during the interview process to set clear expectations on what the company culture is and what the expectations are when you come onboard as an employee. Startups should be aware of diversity in hiring from the beginning. You will hire based on a certain set of skills and personality you are looking for, but when hiring managers target too narrow a set of traits in candidates, they sometimes end up with a uniform staff that lacks diversity of experience and background.
Here are a few tools and resources to consider when it comes to defining or improving your company culture:
- ThirdSpace – Strategic tool & platform to help you actively develop culture in your organization (http://thirdspace.us/)
- TinyPulse – Employee engagement and feedback software enabling companies to measure how happy, frustrated, or burnt-out their employees are so that action can be taken to build better company culture. (www.tinypulse.com)
- Slack – Communication tool connects teams with the apps, services, and resources they need to get work done.
- Gallup Strengths Finders Assessment – Assessment/training tool that allows you to discover what you do naturally best and maximize those strengths to the highest potential. (https://www.gallupstrengthscenter.com/)