[Podcast] How to Build a Great Culture From Scratch with Mark McClain

Employee Experience2 min read

The latest episode of What Culture Could Be – a podcast by Autumn Manning – is brought to you by Kazoo.

Have you ever wondered how companies build and sustain their culture as they grow? In the latest episode of her podcast What Culture Could Be, Autumn Manning, co-founder of Kazoo, sat down with Mark McClain CEO and founder of SailPoint Technologies to discuss How to Build a Great Culture From Scratch.

In this episode, McClain shares his perspective on “where to start when creating a culture, how to keep it on the rails and thriving when growth is coming at you fast, and why starting with values when things are broken is critical.”

Culture is Built on Core Values

McClain kicks off the podcast by describing the soul of a company’s culture: its core values.

Core values are more than just a thing to check on your list — they’re the fundamental beliefs of your organization and what your employees use to connect with your brand.

It’s easy to piece together core values you think will appeal to potential employees, but the hard part is implementing them into the day-to-day activities of your company. That’s why your core values need to resonate from the top down — starting with your CEO and ending with your newest hire.

Speaking of new hires, having core values helps you filter out the wrong people when you’re in the process of hiring for a new position. It also helps people understand who you are, what you believe in, and what’s expected from them if they join your company.

Your culture is ultimately built on a set of values.

Build Culture Now, Not Later

You should think about your company culture the same way you create your business plan — from the start and with the highest priority.

Most people assume that culture develops after a company has officially kicked off, but that can lead to the development of a weak culture.

Ask yourself these questions to ensure you’re building the right culture for your company.

  • “Who do we want to be?”
  • “What behaviors will drive our success?”
  • “What values will stand the test of time with our customers?”

By defining your company culture from the get-go, you can make sure your company is on the same page when it comes to your values, what your brand looks like, and who your ideal employee is.


Fixing a Broken Culture

A broken company culture is not the demise of your company, but having one and not doing anything to change it can be.

The first step to taking control of your company culture is to own when things are bad — then focus on where the problems are starting.

Are people leaving because of bad managers? Or are employees unhappy with the lack of opportunities for growth?

Once you address the issue, you’ll need to investigate the cause of it, then develop a strategy to fix the problem. But this issue isn’t for HR to fix — it’s one for the CEO (with support from leadership and HR).


Want to listen in? You can check out this podcast and more on Autumn’s site.