When Square Chief Operating Officer Keith Rabois left his job last month, citing legal threats from a young colleague with whom he had a two-year relationship, he threw a spotlight on the risks associated with the freewheeling startup culture that many entrepreneurs cherish.
Startups often thrive on a lack of rules and boundaries. But experts say that as they make the transition from a handful of people in a room to sizeable businesses, the hazards of operating without manual – including lawsuits, reputational hits, and waning employee morale – grow exponentially.
Longtime employees sometimes chafe at the arrival of human resourcesprofessionals, codes of conduct and other policies that they fear will step on the company’s culture. Yet entrepreneurs and start-up investors say they ultimately have little choice.