At BenchSci, our 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. We believe that our unique culture played a big part. As we grow, maintaining that culture has become more challenging. To help, we've codified it in the following presentation for current and prospective employees, and anyone interested in the importance of culture to startup success:
Why did we create this culture deck?
With our fortunate success has come hypergrowth. In just over three years, we've grown from 20 people to 150. During this time we invested heavily in ensuring we stay true to our unique culture. Now that we're 150 employees working fully remote due to the pandemic, we realized that our culture needs codification.
Over the past few months our team created the above culture deck to tell our story. 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 anyways?
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.)