How Lyft Nails Hypergrowth without Compromising Culture

You know that always difficult, always sought-after goal of building an exceptional culture with equally exceptional efficiency? Lyft is crushing it. Since 2014, their employee count has skyrocketed from 80 to more than 2,000 employees. Yet rather than sacrificing the caliber of their culture, they’ve raised it.

If you’re wondering how they’ve done it, we have good news. Recently, we were lucky enough to sit down with Lyft’s Head of Inclusion & Diversity Tariq Meyers. After joining Lyft when the team had no more than 300 employees, he has helped shape many of the strategies that still make Lyft an empowering place to work today. Below, we share 3 of his tips on how to nail culture during hypergrowth. For the rest, be sure to listen to our full webinar recording!

1. Build impactful community connections

When Tariq joined Lyft, he was inspired by leadership’s vision to create a sense of community where anyone could feel “felt like they had a place in the front seat”. Struck by how empowering Lyft was for both passengers and drivers, they sought to replicate that experience in the office. Today, Lyft’s goal remains to put culture and community first. “A strong company culture shapes behavioral norms, it’s the psychological environment of your organization, and helps you do your best work,” Tariq believes. Just as importantly, however, culture matters to talent today more than ever before. “It can be leveraged as a competitive advantage as we try to find the best talent to move our organization forward,” Tariq says.

So how does Lyft share their culture with candidates? Through building authentic community connections. One way they accomplish this is through hosting events such as the “Black in Tech mixer” which they’ve hosted in cities around the country. Through partnering with Lyft’s leaders and culture champions, they can let diverse talent know what it’s actually like to work at their organization. “But we don’t make the events recruiting-focused. It’s an opportunity to expose folks to the type of community we are,” says Tariq. Ultimately, he’s learned that as you try to champion culture and recruit the best talent, you have to open your doors. Earn access to candidates of different backgrounds by engaging them where they are.

2. Personalize your outreach strategy

Ever heard of “Talent Power”? Tariq defines it as underrepresented candidates’ increasing agency when it comes to choosing their next opportunity. Their bar for the right company is extremely high, and they crave insight into how your organization supports belonging and professional growth for diverse communities. To capture their attention, it’s essential to put inclusion at the forefront with your careers page and job descriptions. To begin with, Tariq expressed his affinity for the impact descriptions you can create in Lever, which outline what employees will accomplish one month, three months, six months, and one year into their role. Unlike a laundry list of qualifications, these results-based descriptions get underrepresented candidates excited about the growth they’ll surely have on your team.

Next, Tariq suggests that you think deeply about the message your careers page sends. When you include photos and employee stories, show candidates that your team doesn’t just celebrate employees within a specific age range or of one ethnicity. If you have parents on your team, consider posting a photo of your “Take your kids to work day”. Include a photo with only men meeting in a conference room, and any potential female candidates may think all of your meetings look like that. By contrast, when you depict a variety of activities and employees on your page, candidates are more likely to discover experiences that resonate with their own.

3. Prioritize cross-functional partnership

Tariq believes that to build a diverse and inclusive culture as you scale, cross-functional partnership might be the most important strategy to live by. In his experience, a successful talent acquisition team consists of several stakeholders – including department heads, inclusion & diversity advocates, talent acquisition leaders, hiring managers, and more. Everyone has a role to play in order to ensure that as you scale, candidates from diverse backgrounds are recruited, valued, and championed.

As an example, Tariq explains how your diversity-trained recruiters, along with D&I, can meet with department heads to assess opportunities for growing a better culture. Additionally, recruiters and hiring managers can work together to create diverse interview loops, ensuring that you’re making smarter, more holistic hiring decisions. While it may be tempting to say “Oh, this other stakeholder is working on that,” the reality is that the job falls on everyone’s shoulders. As a recruiter, there’s no escaping the immense power that you have in building a better culture. “Recruiters should be some of the biggest advocates of your culture,” says Tariq. As the leaders who are finding, hiring, and welcoming new talent, they have to be. Otherwise, the culture will greatly suffer.

Through our own journey and the stories of customers, we’ve learned how difficult it is to scale quickly while prioritizing a strong culture. Yet Lyft is showing us how it’s done. We want to thank Tariq for sharing how he partners with talent leaders, hiring managers, and other stakeholders to help build a culture he’s proud of.

While we didn’t list all of Tariq’s tips here, we encourage you to listen to the full recording! He delves into topics such as how to craft a unique candidate experience and how to best navigate the hand-off between recruiting and HR. Listen in!