Playbooks

Maintaining Culture Through Hypergrowth

In this discussion, Janet Van Huysse (CPO, Cloudflare) describes her experience with how culture evolves during hypergrowth, how to recruit for culture fit, how to leverage managers as stewards of company culture, and much more.

Janet Van Huysse is the Chief People Officer at Cloudflare, a cybersecurity company. She joined Cloudflare in 2016 when they were about 300 people and scaled them to over 2000 employees. Previously Janet was the first VP, HR at Twitter. She joined in 2009 when they had 90 San Francisco-based employees, and grew them to over 3000 employees in 20 countries.

Table of Contents:

  1. How do you define hypergrowth and determine what your organization's culture is?
  2. How do you build a recruiting process that promotes both efficiency and cultural fit?
  3. How does company culture evolve over time?
  4. How do you course-correct culture and reward the appropriate behaviors?
  5. How do you leverage your managers to cascade culture throughout the organization?
  6. How do you create an employee handbook that manifests your culture?
  7. How has remote work impacted your culture?

Excerpt: Maintaining Culture Through Hypergrowth

2. How do you build a recruiting process that promotes both efficiency and cultural fit?

I have seen both ends of the spectrum here and caution against being at either extreme.  At Twitter, our motto was “faster, faster, more, more”. If the initial phone screen went well, our recruiter would already have an offer generated that same day. During the next round of interviews, the recruiter would expect a decision from the hiring managers immediately  following their interviews. This left no time for the candidate or the interviewer to process the conversations and led to constant culture fit issues. At the other extreme, when I joined Cloudflare, the average process was 3 months and I heard of candidates interviewing for upwards of 6-7 months. This was simply too slow to support our growth goals. 

My strategy is to make everything as efficient as possible, while still ensuring key personal touches during the process. Our first strategy is nicknamed  “Final Calls”. Before anyone receives an offer, they have a 15-minute call with a member of the C-Suite. This used to be the CEO , but now there are four of us who rotate holding these calls. This helps establish a personal relationship with leadership and promotes open-lines of communication should something arise during their future at the company. 

The second strategy is once a candidate receives an offer, our entire interview panel reaches out to personally congratulate them. This ensures a superior candidate experience and helps them reaffirm that they made the correct decision to join your organization. 

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