Adcellerant has been on Inc.’s Best Workplaces list for the last two years and ranked as the No. 2 best place to work in Colorado for a medium-sized company this year by the Denver Business Journal. The company was founded in 2013 and currently employs about 40 people.
Kevin Clark is pulled in a lot of different directions these days: having joined digital knowledge SaaS company Synup less than a year ago, he’s trying to hire lots of new employees, he’s in charge of business logistics on which he’s not necessarily an expert, and his boss might call him at any moment.
Channel marketing automation company SproutLoud had a circular problem: the turnover was bad, which was bad for employee morale, which was causing more turnover. The company’s internal culture was deteriorating—a point at which many startups have struggled to reset their environments, and a point at which SproutLoud’s leadership team took responsibility.
CEO Robert Blatt says the company culture is changing, focusing more on what it means for MomentFeed to be the best place for employees to work. Anticipating change in culture is essential, he says, because what your company is doing well in one period of evolution can prevent it from doing well in the next.
“I think that culture is one of the few problems that you have to address before they’re problems,” says TechStars co-founder and co-CEO David Brown. “If you’re struggling to figure out how to grow sales, you can wait until sales are in trouble and still turn it around. But if you wait until you’re in trouble with culture, it’s really hard to turn that boat.”
“Introducing [new employees] to the culture has been very important; it’s important that the people we hire are growth-oriented,” PacketZoom co-founder Chetan Ahuja says. “We want them to already be useful to the business, but their main goal is to grow and to grow with the company. They’re much more valuable that way.”
Getting rid of job titles and helping people detach from job titles are two of the biggest challenges around refocusing a company on its culture and its values, CTO John Schnipkoweit says. At Choozle, the culture is focused around the product it is creating, and allowing that product to drive the company.
Wholesale ecommerce retailer Boxed is taking its position as team leader seriously. The company pays for its employees’ kids to go to college. It looked at the industry-wide “pink tax” and started a campaign against the higher prices. It even started contributing $20,000 to pay for employees’ weddings.
At marketing automation and CRM company Main Street Hub, the product engineering team has grown from six people to 30 in three years. The entire company employs more than 500 people, so in the product, engineering, and design department, the leadership is proud of the diversity and success they have achieved.
It’s never too early to be intentional about establishing and promoting the key values you want your team to emulate, says Liftoff’s CEO Mark Ellis. It provides a set of criteria against which to assess candidates from a cultural fit perspective, as well as a rationale for promoting certain employee behaviors and discouraging others.