It’s tough to build a values based culture. It’s even harder to maintain it as the company grows

Startup founders, especially pre-series A, are challenged to find the right employees. It can be equally difficult to create a strong sense of mission that many job candidates desire, particularly as the company grows and new hires feel a less direct connection to a charismatic founder. Lyft, the fastest growing rideshare company in the US, offers a template for how to approach these challenges in an effective manner. As Lyft now goes through the single largest expansion in its history, it provides a lot of big lessons (and little touches) that companies of any size can emulate.

Paint a Portrait of Company Values

Lyft’s culture revolves around three values: Be yourself. Uplift others. Make it happen.

The amount that is communicated in those seven words is truly remarkable. The values at once show a respect for the importance of the individual, the connection to others, and the permission to take personal initiative. “Those three values really go well together,” said Emily Nishi, Chief People Officer at Lyft. “You can’t have one without the other.”

This is a values statement a poet would envy, but more importantly it paints a concise portrait of the company environment that makes it appealing to an applicant. Every startup should view its value statement through the same lens: is it bland words on a page or an action statement that causes job candidates to say, “They’re talking about me.”

Look at How Candidates Accomplished Things

Maintaining a dynamic culture amid rapid growth depends on careful hiring. When evaluating candidates, Nishi focuses not just on what they accomplished in their past positions, but how they accomplished it.

“It’s important to understand what expertise they bring into the role, as well as what they add to the culture of the people they work with,” she said. “I have turned down candidates that have the resume but don’t value the same things.”

Originally published at


  • Marissa Peretz

    Marissa Peretz

    I am founder of a boutique Los Angeles recruiting and consulting firm, Silicon Beach Talent (SBT). Prior to SBT, my passion for sustainability, cleantech, and hardware led me to become a Recruiting Leader at Tesla. As a Los Angeles native, I am committed to fostering a sustainable entrepreneurial community in Silicon Beach, and I have advised and invested in several local startups and accelerators. My goal is for everyone in my network to truly love your work.