People & Culture

Making Moves & Elevayte Present: Cracking Culture

We recently partnered with Elevayte to host 'Cracking Culture', an event focussed on embedding culture when scaling a business. Check out our key takeaways from the session.

By Making Moves London

Last week we partnered with the ScaleUp consultancy, Elevayte to host “Cracking Culture“, an event that explored how best to approach company culture as you grow. With a stellar panel made up of experts from Bux, Collective Benefits, Vita Mojo, Elevayte and Making Moves, attendees learnt the secrets to embracing change and adapting culture when scaling. Here are some of the key takeaways from the event.

Cracking Culture – Secrets from ScaleUp Leaders

In the fast-paced and competitive world of ScaleUp businesses, there is often a relentless focus on growth, profitability, and scalability. However, amidst the pursuit of success, the importance of cultivating a strong company culture is often overlooked. When done well, culture creates an environment that not only drives growth but also cultivates employee engagement, innovation, and long-term success.

Creating a high-performance culture takes a lot of work and has become more challenging in the age of remote and hybrid working. So we brought together an expert panel and over 40 leaders from the ecosystem to debate and share best practices on cracking culture. We focused on three core elements of a strong culture; psychological safety, openness and purpose. The panellists and audience shared their experiences of embedding these elements into a fast paced and ever-changing environment.

The room crackled with insight, and everyone walked away with new practical steps for deepening culture.

Here are the juiciest secrets digested for you:

Celebrate your culture – seed the idea that your company is unique and the way you do things is part of your competitive advantage. So bake that into everything you do and every communication. Overcommunicating on culture means that everyone gets it every day.

Build in purpose – make sure that the purpose of your business is loud and clear in your company values. If your ambition is to shake up an industry, then have values that promote innovation and risk taking. Purpose is a unifying force that creates loyalty and focuses effort on success.

Start as you mean to go on – building a strong onboarding process that outlines the culture and values of the organisation is vital to set the tone. At Vita Mojo, every new joiner has up to 20 informal coffee sessions to build trust and connection with colleagues.

Be clear – at Making Moves, each value is broken down with a definition, expected behaviours and examples to bring it to life. This means that everyone has a clear picture of how to act in different situations.

Walk the talk – it’s essential that founders and senior leaders are role models for culture (there are no exemptions). This means living the values every day and giving feedback to others to encourage congruent behaviour and call out misaligned culture. Have courage to give feedback if leaders are not drinking their own Kool Aid.

Sharing is caring – giving regular feedback on cultural alignment helps everyone to understand what is expected. It was noted that a ratio of 6 positive to 1 constructive feedback helps to build a sense of positivity and makes sure that the constructive feedback is heard. Make sure to call out when people live the values well.

Celebrate Failure – at Making Moves, there is a regular meeting where every team member shares something that didn’t go well or a mistake they made. Sharing this builds a sense of safety which encourages trust and empowers employees to take risks.

Spend time working on the team – in the age of hybrid it is doubly important to build in time for teams to get to know each other and explore how they can work well together. At Collective Benefits, different teams regularly schedule time to explore each other’s strengths and optimise ways of working. These build a sense of safety, connection and openness.

Talk about difficult things – at one ScaleUp, a seminar on mental health saw many employees talking about their personal challenges and how they were feeling. Putting time aside to open up and be personal sets the tone for a more open culture.

Celebrate and have fun – several organisations prioritise getting together in person at least once a year. Curating opportunities to connect, build relationships, be creative and make memories builds stronger bonds. One company used abseiling cliffs in Portugal as a way to build real life trust between teammates.

Authenticity is not “an excuse to be a dick” – being authentic means living your values consistently, not just saying whatever comes into your head. Leaders can take time to think through how they respond to situations and check with their peers on how best to communicate that. This means that communication is consistent and values aligned.

We hope that these practical and actionable insights inspire you to take your culture to the next level. Huge thanks to Hannah Halder (Head of People and Culture – Vita Mojo), Lily Chang (Chief People Officer – Collective Benefits), Salim Sebbata (UK CEO – Bux), Sally Evans (Director of Operations – Making Moves) and Burju Erdem (CEO- Elevayte) for being great panellists and to Kusia Pell (CCO – Elevayte) for facilitating such a lively debate.

For those who attended, the culture model we referred to came from Daniel Coyle’s The Culture Code if you want to read more.

Article credit: Kusia Pell, Co-Founder at Elevayte.