If you're a startup founder, you probably know that company culture is important. But what you may not realize is just how much your own personality can shape the culture of your company.
Company culture refers to the values, beliefs, and behaviors that shape the way a company operates. It's about the way things get done, and it's influenced by the everyday actions and behaviors of the founders and the people they hire.
And here's the thing: those early hires are often influenced by the personalities of the founders. People tend to hire others who act and think like themselves because they naturally feel more comfortable with those types of people. So, if you're a respectful and friendly founder, it's likely that your first few hires will be just that. On the other hand, if you're more aggressive or dismissive, your company culture might take on those negative qualities.
When we were first starting out at Hotjar, it was important for us to hire people who aligned with our values and vision. We wanted to create a positive and supportive work environment, and we knew that the personalities of the founders would play a huge role in shaping the culture of the company.
So why do people tend to hire people who are similar to them? There are a few reasons:
- Comfort: It's just easier to work with people who are similar to us. When hiring, we often look for candidates who share our values, beliefs, and personalities. This can create a sense of camaraderie and make it easier for the team to work together.
- Familiarity: We tend to trust and feel more at ease with people who are familiar to us. This is why we often hire friends, former coworkers, or individuals who have similar backgrounds or experiences.
- Alignment: When we share similar values and beliefs, we are more likely to be aligned on the goals and vision of the company. This can create a sense of cohesion and harmony within the team.
- Efficiency: When we work with people who think and act similarly, communication and decision-making can be more efficient. This can help the team work more effectively and achieve its goals more quickly.
It's worth noting that this tendency to hire people who are similar to ourselves often happens unintentionally. It's natural to be biased towards people who are more similar to us, even though it's not always a good thing. It's important to be aware of this tendency and to make an effort to consider a diverse range of candidates in the hiring process. This can lead to a more diverse and inclusive company culture, which can bring a range of perspectives and experiences that can lead to more creative solutions and better decision-making.
So, as a startup founder, how can you create a culture that your team will love?
Here are a few tips:
- Be true to yourself: Your personality has a big impact on the culture of your company, so make sure you're being authentic. If honesty and transparency are important to you, make sure you're open and honest with your team about your goals and plans for the company.
- Practice what you preach: If you want your team to value respect and kindness, make sure you're modeling those behaviors yourself. If you want your team to be collaborative, make an effort to work with them and support their ideas.
- Encourage open communication: A good culture is one where people feel comfortable speaking up and sharing their ideas. Encourage open and honest communication within your company, and create an environment where people feel safe to share their thoughts and concerns. Set up regular check-ins with your team and encourage them to speak up about any issues or ideas they have.
- Foster collaboration: Collaboration is key to building a successful company. Encourage your team to work together and support one another, and create opportunities for them to collaborate and share ideas. Set up cross-functional teams or encourage team members to work on projects together.
- Show appreciation: Recognize and reward the hard work and contributions of your team. A little appreciation goes a long way in building a positive and supportive culture. Send out a company-wide email thanking your team for their hard work, or set up a recognition program to reward employees for their contributions.
By following these tips, you'll be well on your way to creating a culture that your team will love. And remember, culture isn't something you can create overnight – it takes time and effort to build. But with a little patience and a lot of hard work, you can create a culture that will support your team and help your business thrive.
And if you're looking for a co-founder, it's important to not just focus on their skills and ambition, but also on the culture they will bring to the company. Make sure you're compatible in terms of values and vision, and that you can work together to create a positive and supportive culture for your team.
It's worth noting that those early hires are critical – mistakes you make then can make a huge impact on what the company becomes later on. So, be mindful of the culture you're creating from the very beginning. Hire people who align with your values and vision, and who will contribute to a positive and supportive work environment. This will set the foundation for a strong company culture that can help your business thrive.