A strong culture is essential if you want to scale your business. LinkedIn founder, Reid Hoffmann says in his podcast Masters of Scale, "Truly strong cultures only emerge when everyone from the CEO to the receptionist feels they personally own the culture. A true articulation of your company that is understood and built by everyone."
When you want to build a strong culture it starts with hiring the right people. It's easier to shape your culture when you are a small group so it's important to start early.
Reed Hastings, CEO of Netflix, knew that to make Netflix successful he needed flexible problem-solvers who could change with the times so he designed the hiring process around finding and keeping these people. He emphasizes to Hoffmann the importance of not "letting the wrong people on the bus" in maintaining your company culture as you grow.
When you need to scale you often need hire lot of people very quickly. So how can you make sure you only hire people who fit your company culture:
1. Explain your culture before you hire.
Netflix publishes a detailed publicly-available description of their culture. The company gives people a lot of freedom and values thinking like a founder who does what's best for the company over following process in everything from strategy to how people decide to travel.
Being upfront about this attracts certain candidates and repels people who would not be the good cultural fit for Netflix; weeding the wrong candidates out from the beginning.
2. Bake values into your hiring process.
If you are looking to scale your culture then you have to make hiring decisions based on values not just skills and experience. At LinkedIn, CEO Jeff Weiner and his hiring committee are fastidious about only hiring people who fit with their culture even if they have the perfect skills and experience.
By building in questions about values, behavior and personality into your candidate assessments that will help you surmise if people are a good culture fit.
3.Don't hire in your own image.
If you want to scale you need to build diversity into your candidate assessment process. A strong adaptive team needs different perspectives those of their customers and prospective customers across a county, region or the globe.
Tristan Walker, CEO of Walker & Company, which make grooming products for people of color, considers his team's diversity to be a competitive advantage. He says whereas many traditional companies have seen his market as niche, his employees are part of their communities so they better identify with their customer base, which sparks innovation and many of their product ideas.