Bretton Putter (Culture Gene) at RemoteCon

On July 1 2020 we had Bretton Putter (author, CEO and founder of CultureGene) as our speaker at RemoteCon by How to Web, in a conversation with Ivan Brezak Brkan, CEO & Founding Editor of Netokracija, leading digital business & startup magazine in Central and Eastern Europe, with special editions in Croatia, Slovenia and Serbia. Bretton shared his insights on how to use your culture to build an effective remote recruitment and on-boarding process. You can watch the full session here:

Bretton Putter is a leading expert on startup and high-growth company culture. He is the founder and CEO of CultureGene, a culture development platform helping companies to transition effectively to remote work.
He recently published Culture Decks Decoded: Transform your Culture into a Visible, Conscious and Tangible Asset and will be publishing The Culture-Driven Leader in 2020. Brett interviews founders and CEOs of successful high-growth start-ups to better understand how they defined, developed and implemented their company’s culture. He publishes his interviews on the CultureGene blog and speaks and runs workshops on the subject of company culture. Brett is an investor in Seedcamp funds I, II, III & IV and an investor in and advisor to a number of high growth startups.
Prior to founding CultureGene, Brett spent 16 years as the Managing Partner of a leading executive search firm where he successfully completed CxO, VP and Director level searches for hundreds of start-up and high-growth companies in the UK, US and across EMEA. He has interviewed more than 5,000 senior executives over the past 16 years.

Key takeways from Bretton’s presentation and answers to live questions:

About values in a company:

►”Focus on values because your values are how you deliver on the water, which is your mission, how you deliver on the why, which is your vision. Values are the critical, important elements of this. They are critically important because they are the foundations of the culture in your organization. When you and the first two or three co-founders and then 5 or 10 people formed the business and grew the business. You were learning what worked and what didn’t, you were making mistakes and you were working, what worked out well. And that formed the foundations together with your values, what you believed was the right way to do things, and what you believed other people similar to you should work like. And so those are critically deep, functional elements of your business.

►They drive our behaviors, they drive my behaviors and my team’s behaviors, and they drive your team’s behaviors. They are well defined. So if there are well defined values remain relatively constant over time. What that means is unlike culture, which is changing, your values stay consistent. They can change but if they are well defined, for the most part, they’ll stay the same. And that means you can communicate them during the recruitment process and this is crucial.”

About communicating company values:

►”What we need to do as remote companies is communicate about our values everywhere. We need to ensure that companies use a clearly articulated communication in the case of any candidate, at every candidate touchpoints.

►So let’s take this candidate touchpoint process and evaluate your current values that need to be on your website, not just in your career section. You need to communicate more about them, everywhere. They need to be on other external sites such as LinkedIn – I have this particular company that actually asked their employees to put it in their experience. It’s not just in their corporate section. They need to be in your job and your job description and you need to be able to differentiate and demonstrate why your culture is awesome and what your values are, because you can then communicate with and connect with those candidates on a different level.

►You need to build values-based interview capabilities within your organization. So you are interviewing for the candidates fit with your values specifically, as well as their skills experience, their ability to do the job and so on.”

On recruiting in remote companies:

►”The best remote companies are able to evaluate the candidates based on the ability to do the job, the quality of the work work they do their behavior during the process, their verbal and written communication and their fit with the values. This is a completely different mindset.

How can you possibly evaluate somebody’s ability to do the job and the quality of the work they deliver? What I recommend my clients to do is to build a multistage discipline process to make up for the physical meeting experience. We go back and look five or six months ago, and interview process was probably quite undisciplined. Most companies do not have a very disciplined process and was probably in a little way you relied on the people in your office to get stuff done.

►If we look at what companies like GitLab or Hotjar do things… They are very, very deliberate about eliminating from the get-go the wrong candidates. They are first getting those out of the way. And they use online questionnaires and they use online videos to eliminate the wrong candidates early in the recruitment process game.

Rewatch this RemoteCon session on our YouTube channel here too and be on the lookout for updates regarding our events on our social media! See you online soon! If you want to rewatch the other sessions too, but don`t have a content pass or a full pass ticket already, you can still access the recordings by getting your pass here.

P.S.: Bretton Putter will be hosting on July 28 a live online interactive workshop on How to adapt your culture to a remote/hybrid environment. Limited seats. Book your seat here.

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