"Culture does not change because we desire to change it. Culture changes when the organization is transformed; the culture reflects the realities of people working together every day." - Frances Hesselbein
This quote is so very true, especially when an organization is undergoing rapid growth. While it’s also very exciting, it nevertheless changes an organization forever. It is important for organizations to scale their culture as they grow. After all, a company’s culture encompasses its mission, vision and values, which need to remain a stabilizing foundation for the organization. This can be a challenge, for sure.
I was fortunate to witness scaleable culture right before my very eyes after a recent trip to Boston-based technology company, Hubspot. For those of you not familiar, Hubspot is a marketing software company that was founded in 2006 by a few MIT graduates. In 2006, Hubspot had three customers. They ended 2015 with over 15,000. They are now over 1000 employees strong and still growing. Their rapid growth demands staff, and hiring becomes an urgent prospect, one that needs to be handled quickly.
So how has Hubspot preserved their culture during these times of exponential growth? Following are my observations:
From day 1, employees have a deep understanding of the foundation that underlies and supports Hubspot. They walk the walk and talk the talk. Hubspot coined the term “inbound” and it is deep-seeded into every employee. Just to test it out, I asked random employees to tell be about the Inbound Methodology, the lifeblood of the company. And just like that, as if it was scripted, they recited the same description. Impressive. How do they do it? They believe in strong, focused onboarding, initiating and welcoming each and every employee into the organization (and they don’t forget to teach them about the business).
It is obvious when in Hubspot’s environs that a thriving learning culture is present. Within this culture is a collection of organizational conventions, values, practices and processes that encourage employees to continue to learn and develop knowledge and competence. They believe in and foster continuous learning not only for their employees but their customers as well. Hubspot may be one of the only marketing automation software around that holds live, in-class training sessions for their customers. Hubspot’s culture of constant learning elevates each and every employee, expanding opportunities for Hubspot to prepare future leaders.
Whether you are the CEO or a Sales Rep employed at Hubspot, you know Hubspot’s strategies and goals—you understand their business! There are no silos. Everyone speaks the same language. Their business acumen shines through! Each department—or as Hubspot calls them, Neighborhood—understands how they impact the bottom-line for the organization. Better yet, action plans are in place to continuously find ways to cut costs and grow top-line revenue. Being business acumen experts ourselves, we say, “Hats off to you, Hubspot!”
As we all know, company culture is far more than monthly events, weekly happy hours or casual Fridays. Your organization’s culture is beneath the surface, its life’s blood. It’s a core operating principle based on an underlying set of values and beliefs that keeps your business running at its healthiest. Simply put, it’s who you are!
To learn more about how organizations implement learning tools to communicate culture, CLICK HERE.