How to Maintain Your Company Culture As You Scale Up
Business owners often focus on sales, company accounts and operations. You need these to grow your business but nurturing your company culture is also important.
As with launching a new product or service, you need a plan to sustain your company culture. In this blog, I will highlight key considerations for growing businesses that seek to maintain their company culture.
Company culture matters
Company culture is as individual as people. If you deal with companies like IBM, GE or Apple, for instance, you’ll find that they have very different cultures. So as you build your business, you should build and sustain a work culture. Ask yourself,
- “What will our work culture be?”
- “What can customers expect when they engage with us?”
- “How will it feel to work here?”
Like a business plan, simply writing down a set of values and putting it in a file isn’t enough. Your company culture should be lived day-to-day so that everyone in your organisation understands and embraces it.
Here are five ways to keep your company culture strong during a period of growth and/or change.
Hire people that are a good cultural fit
As your company grows, it’s likely that you’ll face pressure to quickly hire to meet demand. When this happens, you might prioritise experience and qualification above things like the cultural fit. But avoid doing this.
It is especially important that in times of growth, the people entering your organisation have shared values so that your company operates at its healthiest. Focus on hiring people who are a good cultural fit and not just those who have the right qualification/skills. Skills can be taught but attitude and values cannot be learned.
Keep communicating your values at work
Like most things in life, you need to repeat it over and over again before it becomes a habit. The same goes for your company culture. It is not enough to have a pool table or host big events. It is the little things that instil culture. Communicating your values every day will internalise your company culture.
Regardless of what’s going on at work, prioritise the opportunity to share stories and keep staff engaged. Encourage teamwork and team building to keep spreading and reemphasising your values. It is the simple interactions that make the most impact.
Recognise staff for living your company values
As part of reinforcing your culture, ensure that you recognise and showcase the times with staff live the values. Recognising and thanking them for their positive contributions helps to motivate staff and it encourages others to live the values. Recognition doesn’t need to be flamboyant. A thank you as you walk through the office, card or a handwritten, appreciative note is sufficient and your staff will know that they are valued.
Keep being a fun place to work
Remember how excited you were when you first started your company? Think back to how it felt to win your first contract. As companies grow, it is easy for that excitement to fade. You need to be deliberate about making work a fun place to be. Keep staff engagement levels high with team events and allow your staff to be creative. Be open to new ideas and create a safe space for your teams to try out their ideas without the fear of failure.
Do not micromanage your staff
It is common for business leaders to struggle with delegating. Whether experienced or not, leaders can come across as mistrusting and overly involved in their teams work. This can hurt your company culture as most of your staff will not appreciate being micromanaged. Keeping your focus on managing your culture is actually a good way to stop micromanaging. Be more concerned with communicating your values and beliefs so that they are embedded in the company. If you must, confront your personal issues around trust and so that you can see your team flourish. Ask your staff how they want to be managed if you’re not sure. Check out this Forbes article – Try These 12 Strategies If You Need To Stop Micromanaging– for more tips on overcoming the tendency to micromanage.
It is much harder to rebuild your company culture once it is lost. Therefore, having a solid plan for maintaining it is one of the best things you can do for your business as you grow and scale.