How to Grow Your Startup Company Culture Online

An organization’s culture is an extremely powerful tool. In the end it's culture that makes or breaks a business.

A Harvard study of over two hundred companies shows that strong culture increases net income by 765 percent over ten years (Culture Code, Daniel Coyle).

With this in mind, the importance of positive corporate culture within your startup team is obvious, but how can you build a thriving corporate culture … online???

In this article, I dig into what corporate culture really is and how, as a manager, you can build it on your own remote team.

First, I will discuss the definition of company corporate culture, then I will examine the thriving remote culture of local Ottawa start-up Hoppier and share what made their team successful.

What is Company Corporate Culture?

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Now more than ever employees want to find jobs that align with their values and lifestyle. This means a company's culture must be built around ambitious ideals and strong mission statements.

In doing so, companies engage their employees and energize them to come to work with drive and determination. By giving employees the opportunity to participate in fulfilling work you’re not only ensuring employee success, but your own business's too.

That's why we understand corporate culture to be a collection of self-sustaining patterns of behaviour that energize employees and generate positive effects on business performance. 

When you create an unstoppable team, you’re also creating an unstoppable company, and this is how culture acts as a competitive advantage within any industry.

For a quick summary on how to define corporate culture, check out this video:

How did Ottawa startup, Hoppier, adapt their culture to online work?

It’s safe to speculate that already high-performing teams have had the easiest transition to remote work. But what has allowed them to keep up their high performance in the remote work office?

To find the answer, I examined local Ottawa start-up, Hoppier, to discover their secrets to positive online culture. Keep scrolling to read my interview with the CEO of Hoppier, Cassy Aite. 👇

Who is Hoppier?  

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Hoppier is a modern benefits platform that allows your employees to get benefits they will actually love and use without the administrative burden. Easily set up allowances for lunch programs, health and wellness allowances, learning stipends, and more. 100's of leading companies across North America use Hoppier to manage stipends that motivate employees based on what's important to their organizations!

👉 To learn more about Hoppier, who they are, and what they offer check them out at their website here:

How do You Maintain Culture in a Remote World? Learning from Hoppier’s Success Story

To better understand how teams can successfully transition to remote work and what key components have been essential in succeeding in an online workplace, I sat down with Cassy Aite, CEO of Hoppier, to find out what has allowed his team to maintain a thriving culture online.  

1. What are the best practices for building start-up culture?

Your startup’s culture should be rooted in the values of your company and must be built from the bottom-up. In this way, values are created and upheld by everyone in the company. 

To ensure that these values come from the bottom-up Hoppier put together a culture book made up of the stories of what it means to work at Hoppier.

The book is then taken up with everyone and continuously rewritten every year to reinforce team dynamics while also remaining relevant to the needs of the business.

By creating and using this book, Hoppier ensures their company’s values go beyond just being hung up on the wall but are iterated into everyday practice within the company.

In this way, managers become the true champions of the company values as they play a key role in rewarding people in accordance to company values as well as communicating those values to their teams/employees.

Managers become the true champions of the company values.

2. How have you kept team culture alive online?

Hoppier uses the acronym W.E.I.G.H.T.S. to describe their team's values.

Hoppier’s core values are summed up in the acronym W.E.I.G.H.T.S. Like weight training, culture will not grow and improve if you're not doing your reps. In other words, if you want to keep your company culture alive online you must continue to put in the effort.

The acronym stands for: wow moments, empathy, infinite learners, genuine, high-achievers, transparency, and scrappy.  

Wow moments take the form of daily shout-outs to team members who’ve done something great in accordance to company values, while scrappy means being curious, flexible and resourceful.

This culture of curiosity and flexibility has been a major factor in Hoppier’s remote workplace success. Through curiosity and flexibility, Hoppier can find unique solutions to every challenge that comes their way.

Culture, like weight-training, isn't going to grow unless you do your reps.

3. What have you done to better support your employees in the online workplace?

One of the very first things Hoppier did when moving their entire team online was having already successful remote working team members share their best practices with other team members who were just transitioning online.

Not only did this allow for greater connection and bonding among team-members, it also helped to set-up other members for success.

Another simple, yet essential, step that Hoppier made in their remote transition was daily/weekly check-ins with all members of the team to make sure that everyone was comfortable and effectively able to do their job.

4.  What aspects of team culture have you changed versus kept during this online transition?

Keeping to routine is crucial, especially during times of crisis and that is one thing that Cassy has credited to Hoppier’s success as a remote team.

Weekly ‘town-halls’ has been something that the team has always done and that has not changed with the transition online.

The team continues to host a call at the end of every week where everyone jumps on to give updates and catch-up with one another.

These conversations are meant to be both about business, and causal socialization. This allows the team to be both productive and while strengthening their bonds as a team.

Beyond routine, Hoppier has also been able to prioritize new and fun ways to keep connection high during these unprecedented times.

Hoppier has taken advantage of online multi-player games such as Jackbox in addition to various safe, social distancing activities to keep up team morale.


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5.  What's one piece of advice you'd give to teams transitioning to remote work?

The last piece of advice Cassy would like to leave us all with is that the best secret to success in keeping up positive culture online is to be consciously thinking of your company’s values in every decision made.

The best way to ensure you are leading and growing your business in the right direction is to be able to stand by the choices you make which is most easily done when upholding company values. 

From my interview with Cassy from Hoppier, there are five major takeaways you can use with your own remote team. 

  1. Cultures must be built from the bottom-up, and rooted in strong company values. 
  2. Exercise communicating company culture everyday. 
  3. The best support you can give your employees is greater connection among team-members. 
  4. Evolve your team culture. Take successful practices from the office and try to implement them online. 
  5. Always be thinking of your company’s values in every single decision you make. 

To learn more about Hoppier’s success with remote team culture checkout Hoppier’s Culture Builders Podcast, a podcast for CEOs, managers, and HR teams who want to learn better practices for creating an amazing company culture. 

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