The Heart and Soul of Your Startup

If the head of your startup is the CEO, then employees are the heart and soul.

Unlike the corporate world where processes, systems, and roles are largely defined and set in stone, a startup is built on the chaos of being agile while attempting to discover a repeatable, scalable business model.

If you work in a corporate environment, then you may disagree with this next statement; Corporate players are like interchangeable parts in a moving assembly line. When one employee leaves, another employee can enter their place and fulfill their duties, generally, without a hitch.

In a startup, however, employees are the heart and soul that pump blood to the rest of the body; Lose one player and you find yourself scrambling to keep the circulation flowing and the body alive. With the lower pay and amount of risk involved in startups though, how do you retain A Players and prevent them from being disenfranchised?

You build the company and team around your culture.

Now, don’t get me wrong. Not all employees in a startup are going to be A Players, and A Players at one company can easily become B or C Players at another.

To engage and keep the heart and soul connected to the head and body, the values and purpose of a startup must align properly on both ends of the employee/employer relationship.

This is why you hire and fire based on cultural fit.

At SalesLoft, we often refer to this quote from David Cummings, Co-founder of Pardot, to highlight the importance of culture in startups:

While this is the fifth startup I’ve been a part of, it is by far the most successful one I’ve had the opportunity to be employed at… and a large part of this is because our leaders defined the “What, Why & How” of our startup at an early stage.

As we continue to grow though, we’ll face more and more challenges that make it harder for us to maintain our culture while executing our vision. Cultural concepts, like our weekly company-wide standups on Fridays, are going to be hard to scale.

However, by being transparent with their goals as employers, as a company, and to our employees, the head of our body and the leaders of our mission make it easy for us to want to stay.

Are you currently disengaged in your role or seeking new challenges?

Well, come join the best medium-sized place to work in Atlanta.

We’re hiring… and the most exciting times are ahead of us!