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Culture can serve as the ‘North Star’ for organisational growth

By Jack Campbell | |7 minute read
Culture Can Serve As The North Star For Organisational Growth

Promoting business growth takes a concerted effort, and plenty of variables are at play. One major consideration leaders should be aware of is culture and the significant impact it can have on building and developing high-performing teams.

Speaking on his personal experiences, Damien Andreasen, vice president – APJ at HiBob, discussed how tech companies leverage growth through culture.

“Specifically in tech and SaaS companies, we’re typically trying to solve really big challenging problems and trying to shift the way the world works a little bit, using technology and driving efficiencies and better outcomes. And I think that attracts a particular type of individual,” he said.


“It’s people who love a challenge, people who want to get involved and have an impact. And I think that that’s a really key note in terms of these types of businesses and especially how you build culture and how you build the right type of teams around a common and shared goal.”

Andreasen noted that culture is a fundamental aspect of business, but simultaneously, is a very ubiquitous word that is up for interpretation. There is no blanket approach to culture, and it can differ vastly from person to person.

However, he also noted that “it’s quite a simple component. It’s really about how teams show up for each other and how they do the work together”.

“For it to be really effective, you really need to have very well-known goals, shared mission, shared values, common goals that really wrap around the entire business. And I think if you get those things right, it really helps you to steer the ship and the culture and the way that you operate in the right direction,” he said.

“I’ll give you a bit of a practical example of that. When we established HiBob in APJ, we mirrored the rest of the globe in terms of what is the ‘North Star’ for us and really what do we want to be known for and how do we want to plant our flag in the ground here. And we decided that instead of it being about growth at all costs, which is a typical viewpoint from a lot of high-growth companies, was that we wanted to put customer advocacy at the forefront of everything we did. That was our North Star. And what that meant is it drove the right behaviours in the team.”

Having a North Star can serve as a point of direction for companies to strive towards. Having a shared vision that permeates throughout the entire business can build culture and promote effective growth.

“It means that what you’re trying to do is add as much customer value as you possibly can so that that advocacy becomes organic, and it’s really about the reputation you build. And when you talk about that as your North Star, it helps you to understand the type of people, processes and practices you put in place to drive the culture and to achieve the North Star,” Andreasen said.

“So, I think it’s really being able to attach a common goal that people understand, and also that drives a little bit of purpose in the work that they do as well.”

This North Star should be promoted throughout all stages of the business life cycle. Andreasen believes hiring should be done with a vision in mind.

“When you’re going through a hiring process, [make sure] that people really understand what you’re trying to build, the challenges that you’re going to face and ultimately what good looks like and the goals that you’re getting after. And you’ll notice, in the hiring process, the people who really resonate with those things and they’re the type of people that you want to bring on board,” he said.

When building teams, everyone wants high performers. Leveraging culture and vision can assist in making this a reality, as transparency and engagement can be utilised to drive performance.

“It’s really critical when you’re building a team that you have those elements really well understood across the organisation and each of the departments and each of the hiring managers. And I think what that does is it helps you identify the right type of talent that’s going to work well together,” Andreasen said.

“And when you talk about it in the hiring process, and you really emphasise the realities of what you’re trying to achieve, what the work looks like, who the people you’re going to be working with and the drivers that we’re looking for, you tend to find people do one or two things. Either it’s not for them, and that’s great because you’re on a different mission to what they’re interested in, or you’ve ticked the box for what they really want to get involved in and what their purpose and drivers are about.”

He concluded: “I think it’s really fundamental to establish those elements really early on when you’re building a team and to revisit them really often as well and to keep yourself accountable to if you’re actually driving the outcomes that you set … This is a second tier to building great cultures and really watching them flourish is, like anything when you’ve got a vision or a mission that you’re really attached to, you need to talk about it frequently and you need to talk about how well you’re performing against that goal and that North Star.”

The transcript of this podcast episode was slightly edited for publishing purposes. To listen to the full conversation with Damien Andreasen, click below:



Your organization's culture determines its personality and character. The combination of your formal and informal procedures, attitudes, and beliefs results in the experience that both your workers and consumers have. Company culture is fundamentally the way things are done at work.

Jack Campbell

Jack Campbell

Jack is the editor at HR Leader.