How Culture Has Propelled Loopio’s Incredible Growth

Zak Hemraj
Zak Hemraj

This September, Loopio received two big and meaningful awards:

  1. We ranked 37th out of 400 companies on the Globe and Mail’s inaugural Report on Business ranking of Canada’s Top Growing Companies.
  2. And, we were listed as one of LinkedIn’s Top Startups in Canada for the second year in a row.

While part of our growth comes from having a great product that solves a painful problem, that isn’t the whole story.

We wouldn’t have gotten here without our amazing employees (or Loopers, as we like to call ourselves). Their passion, dedication, expertise, and desire to learn and excel are what’s fuelled our growth.

You may be wondering: how did we foster these qualities in our team?

The answer — which likely won’t surprise you — is culture.

Of course, creating a great culture didn’t happen overnight. We’ve been working hard to develop it since day one. And, over time, we’ve discovered that being thoughtful and intentional about our culture — and evolving it as our company grows — is what has helped make us successful.

Here’s a bit about the cornerstones on which we’ve built our culture, plus some of the valuable lessons we’ve learned along the way.

A successful company culture is built on values.

For us at Loopio, there are five key values that we celebrate and amplify. These values make up the core characteristics that define what it means to be a “Looper.” They are ingrained in everything we do.

Curiosity. We believe that deep understanding fuels meaningful impact, so we encourage Loopers to constantly ask questions and be in pursuit of “the why.”  

Candor. To help our Loopers learn and grow, we encourage them to respectfully challenge ideas, embrace a diversity of opinions, and be open to giving and receiving candid feedback.  

Grit. Solving important problems requires focus and perseverance. To us, grit is about embracing challenges, putting energy into what matters, working hard, working effectively, and ultimately, following through and delivering.    

Mastery. Loopers want to be the best at what they do. They take ownership of their careers, set long-term goals, and strive to be better than they were before.

Support. Our Loopers support each other, and we support them because we believe that ultimate success comes from working as one team.

These values show up in everything we do at Loopio. We use them in our decision-making, how we evaluate candidates during the interview process, when we recognize each other, how we give and receive feedback and more. Living them every day is one of the most important ways Loopers promote our culture, and push the company forward.

A growth mindset is about being open to reinvention

While we have set values, we also encourage Loopers to embrace the idea that “there is no Loopio way.” We believe being overprotective of your company’s processes, systems, or culture can be counterproductive to growth.

We want our Loopers to feel like they can safely challenge the status quo so they’re always thinking about how we can be better as a team and a company. We also feel that this attitude promotes diversity of thought, drives new perspectives, and, ultimately, leads to better results.

Change is a good thing as you grow quickly — so long as it’s done thoughtfully. And in that spirit, I recently hosted a series of focus groups with Loopers at every level to discuss the future of Loopio. The goal was to get Loopers to share their ideas about how they think we should forge a path forward into 2020 and beyond.

Being open to reinvention is important as you look to achieve large-scale growth quickly. We want all our Loopers to feel like they can play a part in shaping what the company will look like down the road.

Rapid personal and professional growth for employees is tied to rapid company growth

It’s important to empower the people within your walls to be the best they can be in their job. It’s also important to find good leaders, invest in them, and give them the tools and training they need to continue developing.

There are several ways we do this at Loopio, including:

  • Regular one-on-ones with managers to discuss career development, provide feedback, or just chat about whatever’s on your mind
  • Quarterly performance reviews for every Looper
  • Company-wide quarterly objectives and key results that tie all of our work together
  • An annual professional development budget that Loopers can spend on whatever they need to master their craft
  • An internal leadership and management training program
  • An annual retreat where we rest, recharge and look forward to the year ahead

A great culture revolves around a shared desire to grow personally and professionally every single day. That’s especially important in a fast-growth environment. We do our best to help our Loopers fuel their personal and professional growth so they can continue to help fuel Loopio’s growth.

Communication is key

Clarity and transparency in communication are important for building trust and driving alignment.

At Loopio, we practice what we call “extreme transparency.” We regularly share mission-critical information with our Loopers—everything from company financials to overall performance. It shows them how much we trust them and we believe that leads to empowerment.

Context is important, too. So is the medium you use to share information. That is especially true when you’re trying to drive alignment across a company with a quickly-growing headcount.

We’ve come up with several ways of ensuring we’re communicating openly and effectively as a company, including:

  • Quarterly meetings called “heartbeats” that are essential to how we operate as a company (e.g., quarterly kick-offs, Q&A sessions with senior leadership)
  • A weekly company-wide meetup where we talk about strategy, core metrics, and let Loopers recognize their peers publicly
  • An employee engagement survey we do twice a year so Loopers can provide their honest perspectives on all sorts of things

Communication is everything. When you do it well you’re able to move effectively as one team, and that’s vital in a fast-growth environment — there’s no time for misalignment.

Celebrate your wins

Finally, whether they’re big or small, wins deserve to be celebrated. It brings your team together, allows you to reflect on what you’ve accomplished, and it motivates the team to meet the next major milestone.

We’ve made it a point at Loopio to celebrate wins as a team whenever we can. There are a few ways we do it in particular:

  • A weekly, Friday social we call “Get Loopi” to celebrate the wins of the week
  • Quarterly success events that are unlocked when we achieve our targets
  • Our annual retreat — we also take time to celebrate and reflect on the year that was

I truly believe our people and culture are what’s driven Loopio’s unbelievable growth. And we will continue to be thoughtful about how we can evolve and improve it as we scale through our next chapter of growth.

Stay in the Loop.
Get Loopio Updates.