In a recent article for LinkedIn, Reid Hoffman talks about hiring and culture in scaling businesses. He rightly suggests that what works for five employees won’t work for 500. So, what insights can we learn from the Reid Hoffman Blitzscaling process for building a scalable culture? 

The essay on LinkedIn is an adaptation from the book titled Blitzscaling: The Lightning-Fast Path to Building Massively Valuable Companies that Hoffman co-authored. It highlights four fundamental principles that business owners need to understand about building scalable culture when hiring rapidly.

A Concise Intro To The Reid Hoffman Blitzscaling Process for Building Scalable Culture

1. Be Coherent and Specific About Your Culture

When you are hiring quickly, your culture has to work with you to attract the right kind of people and repel the wrong type of candidates. This is why it has to be very specific. 

As an example, Hoffman mentions the difference between two of the hugely successful companies he started. PayPal was fast-paced and worked on a basis of ‘structured panic,’ as he terms it. Here their aim was to hire for high IQ rather than focusing on prior work experience. 

On the other hand, LinkedIn was a business that took a long time to establish and required people with the patience to stick it out and problem-solve in an ongoing fashion. They needed patient collaborators.

2. Get Ready For Cultural Tradeoffs

According to Hoffman, it’s essential to realize that there will be cultural tradeoffs in certain instances when your company is growing rapidly. For example, most businesses want to foster an environment where their employees can grow and develop at a gentle pace. However, when you are expanding very quickly, there will be times when your team is under pressure. 

Likewise, most companies want to provide their employees with the ability to maintain a sustainable work-life balance. But there may be times when everyone will have to buckle down for a few weeks to get a particular project up and running. The key here is to communicate with your team and to take their suggestions and concerns on board.

3. Hire Generalists Before Specialists

When you start up a business, focus on finding adaptable individuals who can play multiple roles rather than hiring specialists first. Your initial team has to lean into a variety of roles; the specialists come later.

4. Focus On Hiring For Right Now

The gig economy is hot and happening. When you are building quickly, don’t get stuck on hiring for optimal retention down the line. Work with the people you need here and now to bolster your team. They may not be around forever, but they can help you to lay the best foundation.


The Reid Hoffman Blitzscaling process offers invaluable insights to business owners who want to drive fast yet sustainable growth within their businesses. 

Did you know that your corporate alumni can lend valuable support when scaling? Aside from being a talent network you can tap into, they have insider knowledge that can elevate work at a pace. 

Join the mailing list to get early access to The Alumni Advantage, an end-to-end understanding of how organizations are recognizing and leveraging their former employees; authored by James Sinclair, Co-Founder and Chief Executive of EnterpriseAlumni.