As your company begins to grow, you need to take a step back and think about the kind of company culture you want to develop. What kind of people do you want to hire? What are their values, and how will they shape your company’s values?
Five years from now, your company’s culture will largely reflect your early hiring decisions. This is particularly true when it comes to building your leadership team.
Unfortunately, one of the most important factors in your company’s future success is often overlooked in the early days of starting your company.
It’s tough, particularly for a first-time founder, to pause long enough to think about company culture when the only priority seems to be to hire fast enough to keep up with all of the work. You’re drowning in a myriad of decisions and tasks every day, and you just need to hire the best people you can find to share some of the load.
But you will shape the culture of your company from your very first hire. Your earliest hires will make hires of their own, in their image, based upon their view of what the company culture should be.
As the company grows, you will get further and further away from each new employee. The team you hire early on will be closer to the day to day of the company, and ultimately, they will have far more impact on the company culture than you.
So take a step back and think about this early on.
Is diversity and inclusion important to you? If so, do your early hires reflect this? If your first ten hires are white men in their early 20’s, what are your next ten hires going to look like?
Do you want a company of hard-charging, hyper-aggressive, take no prisoners, win at all costs, ethics-be-damned types? Or do you want to build a company that builds for the long term, and takes the time to develop your employees in a thoughtful way?
Once a company’s culture is on the wrong track, it’s incredibly hard to fix.
The culture of an organization is embedded in its people. To change the culture will require a diversion of resources from growth to an investment in training. You’re likely going to need to make changes in your leadership team.
You’re also going to need to take the time to rebuild the trust of your employees as you try to get your company to act in line with the values you’ve been failing to deliver.
Turning the ship around when it comes to company culture is incredibly difficult and time-consuming. It’s far better to get it right from the very start.
So just as your company starts to grow, and the flywheel starts to turn, take the time to think about the kind of company you want to build from the very start.
And then hire people who share your values and represent the best version of the company you hope to build.