How to build a company culture in dynamic market
Glean insights from top industry leaders as they dissect the intricacies of building a resilient company culture in today’s dynamic market. From flexibility to co-creation, discover the strategies that truly make a difference.
In a recent Pause Fest online panel discussion, the very last in BREAK-THROUGH Sessions series, we had the privilege of diving deep into the realm of company culture with three industry stalwarts. Penelope Shell, the CPO of OMD Australia, Ashwin Ramachandran, the dynamic CEO of Sapyen, and Daryl Tinworth from Shift Recruitment, shared their pearls of wisdom. Let’s unpack their insights.
“Add-to, Not Fit-in” Culture
Daryl Tinworth from Talent Acquisition at Shift weighed in on the current scenario, stating, “Over the past three years, we have realised that being open to hiring people who may be slightly different or approach things in a unique way can bring valuable perspectives to our company. It’s crucial to not be afraid of individuals who may operate differently from your company structure. This diversity can lead to interesting angles when addressing problems and finding solutions. Ultimately, it can help break away from a homogenous way of thinking and make your business more progressive.
While we often use words like “progressive” and “inclusive,” it’s essential to put these concepts into practice. Actively seeking individuals who can contribute to your culture, rather than just fitting in, is the key to achieving these goals.”
People, Culture and Brand Purpose
Penny Shell emphasised the changing aspirations of today’s workforce. “They want to leave an impact, whether it’s on the culture they’re working for or through a side hustle. We need to lean into that, hiring people who can help shape our business, filling the gaps we might not even see yet.” This approach underscores the importance of flexibility and adaptability in the hiring process.
Penny adds, “I have been functioning without certain roles for a long time, which has personally affected my work hours. However, it is important to ensure that the fit is right and to have a clear idea of the values you want to bring into the brand.
And we collectively discuss flexibility, but the guidelines are generally to try and agree on two days that the entire team can come in, or to choose a location for a group outing or meeting. It doesn’t have to be something expensive. We could simply go and sit in the State Library in Melbourne and have a session there together.”
Financing and Hiring in Early Startup
Ashwin provided a candid perspective on the challenges startups face, especially in the Australian market. “Capitalised pre-seed and seed-stage companies will start to hedge their bets more on experience, hire more senior people, and set aggressive targets over the next few months.
This is because it is becoming more difficult to raise more capital without a serious demonstration of outcomes. Broadly speaking, we are also seeing that a smaller pool of founders are raising a larger amount of capital, but specifically for pre-seed and seed rounds. However, this approach definitely has its problems. One of them is maintaining a growing evaluation over time. Additionally, it is important to demonstrate capital efficiency, which is the balance between growth and profitability metrics. All of this inevitably translates to one thing: hiring strong operators and hoping they know what they’re doing.
Think of where you want your company to be in two years and hire the trailblazers who’ll pave the way.” This forward-thinking approach is especially crucial given the financial constraints and uncertainties startups face.
Recruitment in Australia’s Volatile Market
Daryl also touched upon the challenges in the current recruitment landscape. “Redundancy has become common. Employers need to adhere to their company values, especially during tough times. Transparency, honesty, and communication are key. Employees aren’t oblivious; they read between the lines. Owning the situation is crucial to prevent damaging the company’s reputation.”
When hiring, it’s crucial to ensure you’re doing so for the right reasons and have the necessary resources to support new hires. In the startup world, where much is done in isolation, it’s beneficial to think beyond traditional recruitment methods, seeking connections and second opinions. The current job market is saturated with candidates, many of whom have faced redundancy. Despite their skills and qualifications, some are struggling to find roles, leading them to potentially settle for positions that might not be the perfect fit, which creates new problems. Don’t just think about the linear way to recruit, think both vertical and horizontal.