“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.”
“We want people who have historically been lucky. People who have demonstrated the ability to go out and create their own luck,” CEO Michael Katz says. “People who are curious, who engage and ask questions and generally listen, [who are] not just waiting for a pause in the conversation. “
“In the hiring process, we often use the terms ‘smart, hungry, and humble,’” says Zaius CEO Mark Gally. “This notion of being humble is really a critical component of culture. We don’t take ourselves seriously, but we take our work extremely seriously.”
“The culture starts at the top and stays with the top and there is nothing more important than leading by example in that respect,” says CEO Kristen Stiles. Her company, Sitter.me, connects parents with local babysitters.
New tech startups might not have a formula to create culture, but many leaders consider culture an important component for success. Though every company is different, some trends emerge: leaders must be transparent, they must hire for fit, and they must give employees a way to feel that they partially own the company.
“There has to be a process around the strategy to support the goals of others,” says founder David Pachter. “The people driving innovation are the ones on the front lines, working with clients and products. That groundswell of direction and changes, they don’t happen if you don’t have open channels of communication.”
The company offers a number of perks, including membership stock shares making each employee an equity owner. “That’s the kind of tactical ownership that we’re going for,” says CEO Ari Kaufman. “Make everyone own a piece of the company. This is your company. Give a sh*t about it — it’s yours.”
CEO Ben Carcio said that it dawned on him one day that his employees would probably enjoy the perks of the job more if they were linked to company goals. One of the most recent incentives that the Promoboxx team earned was half day Fridays for the summer after hitting a revenue goal during the first week of June.
To figure out how to identify the right interactions to promote, CultureIQ measures 10 different operational and strategic company qualities. Three are most important: support, work environment, and mission and value alignment.