Company culture expert Rob Napoli has a message for his fellow founders: if you don’t build an intentional culture, one will be built for you! And you likely won’t be happy.
Culture is central to the work Napoli does as a business strategist. The founder of Rise Up Coaching and Media, he’s traveled the world teaching founders and teams how to create and market brands that drive positive change. Napoli’s also the Amazon Bestselling author of The Social Soul: Mastering Your Personal and Professional Brand and Intentionality and host of The Bear Necessities of Entrepreneurship podcast.
In coaching on company culture, Napoli is also teaching founders how to recruit talent of the next generation.
“Millennials and GenZ, now more than ever, want to be a part of an organization that lives out its values and makes an impact,” he says.
Culture of One
Company culture typically isn’t something founders typically consider before they’re in charge of a small team. But, in reality, building company culture starts on day one with the founder and what’s important to them.
“Culture of one is your values and beliefs. The way you go out and build your company, the way you go out and sell is exposing your core missions, beliefs and values,” Napoli says.
Maybe that’s as simple as “I want to make money.”
If determining your values sounds like a daunting task, start with a few questions.
“Sit down and say, what do I stand for? What do I believe in? What do I want to be impacting as the leader of a company?” Napoli suggests.
Culture also changes as a company grows. For example, in the beginning, a team might be so small and tight knit that the founder might invite everyone over for a holiday. But, with growth, that vibe changes.
“What you’ll notice is, of those early employees, half will leave when you get too big, because they’ll lose that family feel,” he says.
Recruiting Young People
In less than three years, Millennial and GenZers will make up 70% of the workforce, says Napoli. At the same time, the average tenure of an employee is 12 to 18 months.
Napoli’s work focuses on answering these questions: How do you maximize that time and attention? And, how do you get young people to buy into your company – especially at the beginning of a venture when cash flow is limited – and stay longer?
His answer? A company culture based on compelling values.
When you’re not able to pay young employees as much as you’d like, give them the satisfaction of working for a company whose mission they identify with. That means asking their opinions early and providing a chance to make a positive impact.
It’s also incumbent upon founders to recruit people who live to work and for whom work is a passion, Napoli says.
In order to find them, “Get really good at talking about the mission statement,” he says. “If they feel bought in, they’re more likely to stay at an organization.”
Trending Toward Transparency
In late 2021, New York City Council passed a law that requires employers to provide pay ranges in job descriptions. That measure went into effect on Nov. 1.
It reflects one of the values important to young professionals: transparency.
While this development may “have a lot of founders freaking out,” Napoli says, it can provide an opportunity for leaders to more intentionally integrate transparency into their workplaces.
“It’s a conversation senior leadership needs,” says Napoli. “It will allow teams to have a stronger connection when they do this right.”
During his webinar, he covered:
- How to recruit Millennials and GenZ-ers
- What does it mean to create company culture/values?
- How to build company culture
- Building culture in a remote/hybrid environment