Startups are often praised for their energetic cultures that attract talent with flashy perks and modern workspaces. What can get lost, however, are the core values that enable long-established companies to thrive. But, why choose between a cliché startup culture and critical core values? By focusing on what matters most--overall employee experience--leaders can combine the best of both worlds to create a culture that recruits, motivates and retains top talent.
I learned this lesson firsthand when my startup launched out of Allstate. As we moved from a well-established corporate office into downtown Chicago, we began competing with Google, Facebook and Braintree for talent. It was imperative to establish an innovative, fun and edgy culture to support the work we'd be doing, but I also wanted to instill the founding values that shaped our 87-year-old parent company. My goal was to craft an environment by taking Allstate's successful leadership principles and building on them to create a culture that would attract the tech talent necessary to accomplish our goal of improving transportation for everyone.
The result is a community that excites our teams and makes people want to come to work every day. Here are a few insights I picked up during this process that can help you build an authentic, engaging culture either into or from an established organization.
1. Clarify the mission
2. Value employee feedback
3. Treat employees like customers
4. Pay attention to physical space
5. Model culture from the top
These practices, combined with the principles of our parent company, have guided our work to build an authentic, engaging and respectful startup culture. By infusing a balance of what you come from with where you're going, any company--new or established--can build a culture that will attract, retain and motivate talent. And while our work is never finished, I believe we've established an environment where employees feel inspired to build new technologies and help create the future they want to live in.
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