In recent years, there has been a marked shift in the way we perceive large companies. Where we once used to look on in admiration of their size, power, and influence, we now only see bureaucracy, adherence to the status quo, and lack of innovation.
The Startup has become the new rock star of the business world. Fast, innovative, and eager to change the world, startups have turned what we look for in a company on its head.
However, the startup mindset is starting to win over the most unlikely of fans: large corporations. We are starting to see larger and larger companies implementing startup strategies and tools to increase innovation. Pardot itself is a great example of how startup strategies can scale. At over 100 employees, we are already far from a traditional startup size — and when you factor in our recent acquisition by ExactTarget, our family has suddenly swelled to over 1,500. So how are we going to stick to our startup guns? And how can you foster the same innovation at your own company? Lets take a look at a few ways below :
1. Empower the People
Pardot’s theory has always been that if you hire the best people and make the company the best place for them to work, the rest will take care of itself. Pardot employees are given the autonomy to create and choose the projects they want. We’ve even had a team member start her own department! The more freedom you give your employees, the more passion they will have for their projects, and the better results they will ultimately produce.
2. Be Picky About Your People
Despite our size, Pardot is still very picky about the people we bring into our family. Our co-founders still interview almost every new hire, and we have specialized culture teams whose sole responsibility in the interview process is to assess the cultural fit of a candidate. Once you’ve put the effort into building a culture of innovation, you need to protect it.
3. Simplify the Lives of Employees
Pardot has received some outstanding coverage of our work environment and our incredible benefits. But these benefits weren’t implemented for the publicity, they were aimed at simplifying the lives of our employees. Even small changes like casual dress codes, free snacks, and team lunch once a week go a long way towards making the lives of your employees easier and more comfortable, making them more motivated to deliver their best performances for the company.
4. Eliminate Bureaucracy
Bureaucracy is enemy number one of innovation. For this reason, all Pardot managers have an open door policy to encourage collaboration and increase their accessibility. Pardot also forsakes tedious meetings in favor of short 5 minute “check-in” meetings each morning. This helps managers stay involved in the day-to-day processes without sacrificing the autonomy of their employees.
You may have noticed the common thread in all of the strategies listed above: a focus on people. That’s because your people are the ones that ultimately make your culture, and innovation starts with them.
Luckily, employee-focused strategies are just as easy to scale and maintain at 100 employees as they are at 1,400. The only thing standing in the way of starting a similar innovation culture at your company is the status quo. It might just be time to smash the norm and start innovating!