At BenchSci, our big, hairy, audacious goal (BHAG) vision is to bring novel medicine to patients 50% faster by 2025. We've been fortunate to experience a lot of growth over the past few years, doubling in size from 100 to 200 team members in 2021 and with plans to continue expanding rapidly to 400 by the end of 2022.
We believe that our unique culture has been and will continue to be instrumental to our success, and we also know that as we scale, maintaining is ever more challenging. Last year, we codified our culture in the following presentation for current and prospective employees, and we’ve found that for many new hires, this deck can provide a helpful glimpse into the way we do things at BenchSci.
We also recognize that culture is a constant work in progress, which is why we refresh this deck each year. At BenchSci, we uphold transparency as one of our core values, and so we want to ensure that this document is as reflective of our ever-evolving culture as we grow.
Why did we create this culture deck?
With our fortunate success has come hypergrowth. Initially, we created this deck because, in just over three years, BenchSci grew from 20 people to 150. During that time we invested heavily in ensuring we stay true to our unique culture, and we realized that our culture needed codification. In 2021, our team created the first version of the culture deck to tell our story. We will continue to update it each year to ensure it stays up to date. We have three goals for it:
- Guide existing employees to a more successful and meaningful career at BenchSci
- Help potential employees decide whether to join BenchSci
- Help BenchSci understand its culture narrative so we can continue to evolve and improve it
But what is culture anyway?
We couldn't explain it better than Fred Kofman:
Culture is the system of shared beliefs (what is true), shared values (what is important), and shared norms (what is right) that orient members about the way things get done in their organization, what expectations they need to fulfill to fit in, and what they can expect—and demand—from others.
Okay, but why does good culture matter to us?
Many business leaders promote the importance of culture to company success. Probably the most iconic quote is Peter Drucker's "culture eats strategy for breakfast." While true, it says nothing of what kind of culture is desirable. As long as it eats strategy, it wins. Many companies with toxic cultures are indeed financially successful. So why invest in creating a good culture at all?
For us, it's because we value and believe in success beyond success. That means not just achieving financial success but also the way we do it. We want to build a company of which we're proud. Work is a crucial part of living a meaningful life (see Man's Search for Meaning by Viktor Frankl). We're committed to fostering a healthy and inspiring culture to deliver technology that changes the world. If we don't achieve both financial success and a healthy and inspiring culture, we failed.
Ask yourself this: how would you like to be successful? Exxon earns hundreds of billions each year but has misled the public on climate change for decades, with increasingly disastrous consequences. Patagonia earns about $1 billion a year while fighting fast fashion to save the planet. How you win matters. Your culture matters!
Have your say!
In our culture, we value both transparency and continuous improvement. So if you have feedback on our culture deck, please share it in the comments below. (And if you're feeling inspired to join us, learn more about careers at BenchSci.)