Company Culture

Startup Edmonton recently announced two job postings to assist with the delivery of Preflight programs. We sat down with Tiffany Linke-Boyko, COO, to chat about company culture and how it can impact your success & job satisfaction. 

Q: What is your definition of company culture? 

A: Company culture is the tone and approach that a company commits to for all of its relationships: leadership, employees, investors, partners and customers. 

Company culture is incredibly important. It sets the tone for communication styles, group dynamics, client support and, especially in the startup environment, the impact of risk, failure and success. 

As a leader, company culture is often top of mind because you know it has deep rooted influence on the success of your business, but it can be incredibly challenging to build mindfully as you go through all the stresses of launching a new product or service.

For new hires, culture is one of the elements that might be the driving force for wanting to work for a specific company. On the flip side, if a company’s culture isn’t a priority or clearly mandated organizationally, it can be a barrier to success. 

Q: Why is company culture important?

A: Culture is what ties you to a company beyond the day-to-day work. It’s the values and shared goals that make you feel like you’re an important piece of something larger than yourself. 

I think that’s why if there is negative culture, or a lack of defined positive culture, it can cause people to want to leave a job even if they like the work. 

Culture is what drives conversations of team members, even more so than the actual task at hand. It sets the bar for how we talk about work and work relationships. We might not be talking specifically about our company’s culture, but it drives how we speak about the positive and frustrating experiences we all have in the work place.

These stories and conversations build the brand and experience of your company and shouldn’t be underestimated. 

Q: What are elements of Startup Edmonton’s culture that you value most? 

A: There are four pillars to our culture that we work hard to foster:

  1. Ideas are valuable. Share them often and be prepared to take action. Startup Edmonton is a place of experimentation.
  2. We’re committed to experimentation. Startup Edmonton was a giant experiment when we started and we strongly believe that this is the best process for us to explore ideas, get early customer validation, and iterate quickly to better serve the needs of our community. 
  3. Failure is part of the process. We don’t court failure, but when it happens it’s about what you do with that information and experience in the future.
  4. Personality matters. We are committed to a people-first approach in all that we do. From a staffing perspective, we all genuinely enjoy one another as people and spend a lot of social time together too. It doesn’t mean we’re all besties, but it means that we can band together quickly when things are tough because of an innate camaraderie.

Q: What are some questions you can ask to determine a company’s culture before you sign on as a member of the team?

A: Identifying a company’s culture can help you determine if it is a right fit for you, beyond the job description. 

Two questions that I think can tell you a lot about what you can expect are:

How does the company deal with conflict?

What are you most excited about happening with the company in the next 6 - 12 months? 

The answers to these questions will provide some insight on how the company culture has formed over time and if shared goals and values are part of its future. 

For more information on jobs available at Startup Edmonton and member companies, check out the job board at startupedmonton.com/jobs.

P.S. Ken built the job board during a Monthly Hackathon. The next Monthly Hackathon is January 10 at Startup Edmonton.