At a Glance
If you want to take on your competition in the rapidly evolving SaaS market, you need to first get your own house in order. Creating a strong company culture will help you lay the foundation which will take your enterprise to the desired levels.
Maintaining a company culture is so important that it, in fact, trumps even strategy.
When Brian Halligan mentioned to Dharmesh Shah that he needed to think about the company culture, Dharmesh was taken aback. After all, he was the introvert and as far away from culture and HR concepts are possible, it simply didn’t fit the bill in his books. However, HubSpot did rework their culture code and not just from a code of standards perspective, but rather wrote it like computer code would be written down. This single change in the way culture was looked at and portrayed in the rework of the company culture completely revolutionized the way the organization grew and even welcomed new employees. It doesn’t look like much but you simply can’t underestimate it!
Developing a strong company culture in your SaaS enterprise is the building block to take your enterprise on the path of growth. Frances Fei and Anne Morriss have put it brilliantly; they believe organizational culture or company culture governs the discretionary behavior of employees. It is the culture that gives us guidance to open with the higher authorities about our ideas or keep them hidden and discrete. A strong culture tells us what to do and what not to when the CEO is not in the room. However, employees are the key component of great company culture, and every culture should be designed in a manner that makes it productive and de-stressing. So, let us dive in deeper.
Why Does Company Culture Matter?
Better moods equates to better performance. Hostile or even boring working environments are not sustainable. Poor work product and attrition results.
It often never catches our attention that a company’s productivity relies heavily on the mood and morale of your employees. Organizational culture should not be one that people would avoid; rather, it should be such that the employees have a hard time leaving. The culture should love battling challenges, their co-workers, and an atmosphere that offers stress-busting activities.
Culture matters because it helps retain employees’ enthusiasm. A company cannot afford a weak culture; it is highly risky. A happy employee would ensure high productivity levels. A business that is productive works faster, and the faster it works, the greater are the returns.
Building a strong company culture also becomes a proficient recruiting medium. Filling your office space with confined cubicles and limiting freedom will only attract mediocre talents. The top talents in the market are looking for workspaces with flexibility and freedom, a place where they can balance both works and play.
What Makes A Great Organizational Culture?
The reason why we’ve built a company is that I think a company is by far the best way to get the best people together and align their incentives around doing something great.
1. Hire People That Fit Your Culture Well
Harvard Business Review provides a classification system that will help you hire the right fit while avoiding those that will harm the organizational culture.
● Stars: These are the employees that every company needs. Employees who are sincere with their work, who strive hard to produce results-oriented work, and do the right thing in the right way. They will always help you build and maintain a strong culture.
● High potentials: These employees are the future stars. They are well-known and respected for their attitudes and behaviors. However, their skills lack maturation and enhancement. With the right training, time, and support, they also become high performers.
● Zombies: Generally, they are mediocre performers and lack the behaviors that align with the cultural aspirations. Since they are not so credible, they cannot inflict cultural harm. Their presence or absence is not a matter of worry for the organization, and hence, it is alright to flush them out.
● Vampires: These employees are the real threats. They are excellent performers but often work in a manner that is at cross-alignment with the culture. Gradually with power and influence, they gain followers, which are the zombies. These vampires and zombies then attack the stars, high potentials, and leaders who are in the right direction.
2. Employees Must Know the Values and Missions of the Company
During an interview, when the question is asked, “why do you want to work here?” It is to gain clarity on those specific set of reasons an interviewee finds propelling to work at an organization. The interviewer gets to know about the amount of research a candidate has done to know about the company in depth. However, this is not enough. To know whether an employee entirely resonates with the values and missions of the company, you must look at the values they choose for their personal life. This is so important because if your company’s values intersect with that of a candidate’s personal values – they will invest their soul to accomplish any goal.
3. Do not Leave Decision-Making Only to the Core Members
It is critical to note that companies, where management decisions are made only by the top hierarchy of people, let the A and B players in the company feel left out. It makes them feel as if they are not a part of something bigger than what they are already assigned. It is as if they are just doing what they are told to do and are helping others achieve their dreams. If an employee comes to work at their regular time and only waits for the clock to hit 5.00 pm, there remains no incentive for them to work with everlasting motivation. If this is happening within your organizational culture, employees might soon migrate towards your competitors who have better cultures.
Studies have found that those companies have greater success and growth when they actively involve talented employees in business-critical tasks and decisions. This will also attract top talents to seek work at your work. You must understand that nobody has all the answers, and good decisions can sprout from anywhere.
4. Always collect employee feedback
You do not always know that your company culture is generating the desired results. Asking for feedback is a full-proof way to recognize your organizational strengths and ponder upon the weaknesses that you can work upon. Taking genuine feedback will help you create a more unique and targeted cultural experience for the employees. A culture that emphasizes less on free beers and indoor activities and more on long-term employee happiness.
The creation of a strong organizational culture for your SaaS enterprise is an ongoing process that requires constant interventions and adjustments. Though, the excellent results that you will get at the end more than justify the efforts and resources invested in the process. Remember, whether you are interested in building a culture or not in your organization is irrelevant. There will be one that organically grows. So the best choice is to ensure that you build one that is conducive to growth. I leave you with a line of wisdom from the words of Dharmesh, “Culture is to recruiting as product is to marketing”!