5 Ways to Build the Right Culture at Your High-Growth Startup

3 minutes • Feb 19, 2019Culture

Culture is important for any organization. For high-growth startups that are moving fast and encountering a range of growth challenges at the same time, having a strong, positive culture is critically important. After all, it’s the attitudes and behavior of people that will set the tone for how work gets done and how quickly the organization will be able to innovate and grow. According to an Inc. article, organizational culture is one of the top three factors contributing to startup growth and longevity. When it comes to establishing a positive culture at your high-growth startup, here are five hacks that can help you stay on a successful path:

1. Encourage Collaboration

In a startup that is growing and encountering a range of challenges that may be industry-related, customer-driven, or both, it’s critical to bring people together to solve problems quickly and efficiently. Studies show that teams that collaborate are often more productive and engaged. In addition to helping teams generate ideas and complete projects, collaboration can also help resolve conflicts. When employees have opportunities to come together to share their experiences, ideas, and suggestions for improvement, new solutions are uncovered and people develop a sense of team, which is critical for successful startup growth. Some of the ways to bring people together to collaborate can include in-person and virtual brainstorming sessions, online forums, or task forces.

2. Support Workplace Flexibility

Advances in technology have made it possible for people to work from a variety of different locations and on different schedules outside the traditional 9 to 5. As a result, many organizations, startups included, rely on a workforce that is increasingly remote. In addition to remote working opportunities, other types of work arrangements can help support a flexible culture where employees can be productive, contributing members of the team. Having a supportive and flexible work culture can also produce happier employees. In one workplace survey, 73 percent of employees said that flexible work arrangements made them more satisfied at work. Some examples of programs that support workplace flexibility include alternate work schedules, telecommuting, BYOD (bring your own device) policies, and expanded family and medical leave.

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3. Use a Live Org Chart

Startup growth can occur at such a rapid pace that it can sometimes be overwhelming for employees who are rapidly working to meet the needs of new and existing clients and chipping in wherever help is needed. In addition, as the organization grows in size and complexity, employees will benefit from a tool that helps them stay informed about the company as well as the people who comprise each team. A live org chart is an ideal tool to support your company culture as it expands to include new people and teams. Everyone in the organization can be given access to a live org chart, which can sync with other platforms like Google Contacts and Calendar, making it easier for people to reach one another. In addition, a live org chart features customizable employee profiles that can help employees build relationships and learn more about one another.

4. Recognize Employees

Another great way to establish your desired culture is by recognizing those employees who embody the cultural values that are most important in the organization. Recognizing and rewarding individuals who support collaboration, actively embrace change, and consistently perform at a high level sends a message about the culture you’re trying to build and the types of behaviors that are most valued. Recognition can be as simple as giving words of acknowledgment in a meeting or a nicely worded email. Other examples of effective employee recognition include a team recognition dinner, a gift card to a favorite retailer, or a company plaque or performance award.

5. Hire for Cultural Fit

Startup success depends on hiring and retaining highly skilled individuals who support the company’s mission and values. Therefore, you can set the right culture by hiring people who possess the necessary qualifications and also embody the characteristics of your desired culture. For example, if you have an entrepreneurial culture that values creative thinking and employees who act like owners, then it makes sense to hire individuals who can demonstrate they will thrive in that kind of company culture. Employer branding materials, thoughtfully crafted job postings, and customized interview questions are all tools that can help attract individuals who fit your culture.

Startup growth can lead to many exciting possibilities, and the opportunity to build a positive culture is one of them. By taking deliberate actions to attract and engage those individuals who will carry the company forward, you can develop and sustain a culture that enables future growth.

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