By Sabrina Kelly, Techstars Vice President of Talent
At Techstars, we define our mission in People Ops as the following: “We are strategic partners in building Techstars business by maximizing the value of our most important asset—our people. We attract, retain, develop, and support Techstars employees globally and aim to uphold our culture and values, in a manner that is inclusive to all.”
As VP of Talent, and former VP of People Ops, I hear a lot of questions from founders. This series aims to answer the most frequent questions.
Q: How do we define our company culture?
Don’t overthink it. Get your leadership team in a room and talk about why you started the company:
- Why did you choose this problem?
- Why did you choose the people around you and what makes your team uniquely awesome?
- What do you want this to be in five years?
- What types of behaviors do you value in the people by your side now and want to continue to see in them?
- Maybe more importantly, what types of behaviors DON’T you want to see in those people?
Lay all of those cards on the table, get excited, and put together a one-pager based on everything you’ve just gotten aligned around. Take that one-pager and pull out some core values that really seem to jump off the page. If you can do it in a way that feels genuine, create a mantra or vision statement that you’d be proud to put in front of your employees. Take those values and use them as much as possible in company communications, onboarding, interviewing, and management to create and maintain alignment.
Lastly, while having a strong value-based foundation is critical, you shouldn’t be afraid to revisit and challenge your values often. And don’t be afraid of the people who do; they may just be the people who help drive the company forward at the right moments vs. allowing it to stay stuck in the past.
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This piece was originally published on Techstars Stories.