How To Scale Your Startup AND Avoid Cultural Dilution

Young Entrepreneur Council, an invite-only organization comprised of young entrepreneurs, shares how to scale your startup and avoid cultural dilution.

April 13th, 2016   |    By: Young Entrepreneur Council    |    Tags: Culture, Recruiting

Question: My Startup company is scaling and, therefore, hiring rapidly. What is one thing I should do to avoid diluting our culture?

The following answers are provided by members of Young Entrepreneur Council (YEC), an invite-only organization comprised of the world’s most promising young entrepreneurs. In partnership with Citi, YEC recently launched BusinessCollective, a free virtual mentorship program that helps millions of entrepreneurs start and grow businesses.

scaling a startup cultural dilution

Match New Employees to Veteran Mentors

I like to match each new hire with one of my veteran team members. We care a lot about our culture, and for me, it’s a part of the onboarding process. Mentoring has worked very well to keep the habits that built us up stick around.

Adam Steele
The Magistrate

Craft Your Culture Document

Most companies don’t have a solid grasp on their culture and do a poor job articulating it. Craft a culture document to express the heartbeat of your company and cement the culture. Only then can you commit to uphold the culture by living the values. Use it to guide all decisions, hire for fit, and reference constantly. Hold your culture sacred.

Ashleigh Hansberger

Have a Company-Wide Interview

Get as many people involved in the interviewing process as possible. See who’s available for a quick five-minute chat with an interviewee; ask your C-suite to stop by for a quick chat; have your other interns sit in and get to know the prospect. Once the process is complete, ask for everyone’s opinion to see if this person would be a great addition to your team.

Hank Ostholthoff

Focus on Employee Referrals

The key to creating a successful team with a strong sense of culture is to take advantage of the power of employee referrals. Look to your team members who have brought you this far and trust their judgment. They can reach out to past colleagues and friends and judge themselves if they will be the right fit for your company. After all, your existing team is what makes up your culture!

Miles Jennings

Focus on Communication

Put a large focus on communication. When my company, Influence & Co., scaled from 10 to 50 employees in less than two years, communication was the hardest thing to scale. Know that your culture will shift and grow as the company does, but regardless of size through good communication, you can keep the great things about your culture intact at any size.

Kelsey Meyer
Influence & Co.

Don’t Settle

Don’t settle when you hire. Often, the bad trait that you fear most in a potential employee will continue to raise its ugly head. If needed, pass on the employee and find the right candidate. Also, you need to begin to delegate hiring to the individuals who will directly be supervising the employee. Let them build their team, and make sure it fits with your idea of culture.

Peter Boyd
PaperStreet Web Design

Don’t Worry Too Much About Cultural Dilution

I hear a lot about company culture, but all I’m really interested in is this: can the prospective employee do the job? Can they behave professionally? Do they enjoy being challenged? Company culture changes, and that’s not a bad thing. It should change as the company grows and new people come on board. Hire the best people, and don’t impose artificial limitations on the diversity of your workforce.

Vik Patel
Future Hosting

Have Set Traits

Have set traits that every person, regardless of what position they are coming in for, must exemplify. For example, Mark Zuckerberg once said he would never hire anyone that he felt he could not work for if the roles were reserved. Here at EVENTup, every single member of our team must have two qualities: kindness and resourcefulness.

Jayna Cooke

Use a Personality Test

There are several personality testing platforms that will allow you to assess the traits you can’t always see from an interview. When you become familiar with how they work, they can even give you full reports on how someone will respond in specific situations. Consider trying a Myers-Briggs (or similar) test as part of the interview process before choosing who to move forward with.

Nicole Munoz
Start Ranking Now

Reinforce the Culture Daily

Continually refer to the attributes inherent within your company culture in everything you do and say. It can be part of a regular message to staff, mentioned in meetings, in the onboarding video and paperwork, and advertised throughout the office. It’s also the actions of staff and leadership that keep culture strong.

Murray Newlands

About the Author

Young Entrepreneur Council

The Young Entrepreneur Council (YEC) is an invite-only organization comprised of the world’s most promising young entrepreneurs. In partnership with Citi, YEC recently launched BusinessCollective, a free virtual mentorship program that helps millions of entrepreneurs start and grow businesses.

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