A great culture can be the difference between success and failure for any small business. It’s how you attract top talent and make sure they’re fulfilled and working hard.
Building a culture that inspires and unites a team occurs with every hiring and operations decision a leader makes, and if taken lightly, can quickly devolve into chaos and dysfunction.
We’ve collected some of the best advice and stories from our interviews with a few of the brightest founders out there on how to create an amazing culture.
Newscred CEO Shafqat Islam says to get culture right, you have to hire right.
“Probably the number one thing is to hire well, and hire using the right criteria,” Islam says. “It’s important to not get seduced by things on the resume. We hire for culture first. Will we get along? Can they play hard and work hard? We like to see passion in terms of the markets that we serve.”
You’ll know when you get it right.
“It shouldn’t ever feel like a job, I feel like I get paid to hang out with my friends,” he says.
Read more from Shafqat Islam.
GoodData CEO Roman Stanek didn’t realize that running a small company is nothing like managing a big one.
“Culture is my main focus as CEO,” says Stanek, GoodData’s founder and CEO.
He didn’t quite figure it out until he was on his second company.
“My assumption 10 years ago was that a startup is just a smaller division of IBM — that they had the same functions only on a smaller scale. And it took me 10 years to realize that a startup is a fundamentally different organization,” he says. “We function as a learning organization. Every day when I go home I have to think: ‘What did I learn today? What can I do to actually make the company better tomorrow?’”
Read more about Roman Stanek and GoodData.
HubSpot CEO Brian Halligan argues that it’s not about perks, but realizing that people work differently now.
“At the core of it, the happy hour and the ping pong table are not culture; they’re like health insurance or a 401k,” says Halligan. What may seem like small details to some actually hold the magic of bringing people together, he argues.
“Companies need to change the way they manage and lead to match the way that modern humans actually work and live,” he says. “We’re trying to re-craft culture in a way that really matches that. I think that 99 percent of companies are kind of stuck in the ’90s when it comes to their culture.”
Read more from Brian Halligan.