Here are some ideas to keep your company culture intact as it grows:
Figure out what can’t change
Your culture overall is going to change. But certain aspects of it, the ones that really make you who you are, shouldn’t change. Before you start growing, think about what those key things are. These go beyond just a dress code or a lunch break policy. Dig deep when considering your company values that are the cornerstone for your culture, and actively reinforce them among your management team and employees.
Hire with your culture in mind
Doing the first step of figuring out which aspects of your culture cannot change will help you with hiring. Knowing which core values you need from your employees will help you narrow down who you should hire. Ask questions during the interview process that will tell you whether or not candidates will live up to your core values, and be firm in rejecting candidates that clearly will not. Keep in mind that you can train people to do certain tasks or hone certain skills if they are a great cultural fit for your company.
Listen to your employees about what should change
Regular surveys that ask your employees about your culture can cue you in to what things about your culture just aren’t working anymore. Maybe weekly ping pong tournaments really got your team of 15 people revved up for the week, but now that you have 65 employees they’re just distracting. You won’t know what aspects of your culture aren’t working anymore unless you ask for specific feedback.
Host frequent company events and meetings
Company cultures change when people start getting disconnected from each other. A small company of 15 doesn’t really have multiple departments, so people can be on the same page when it comes to culture. But a growing company that now has multiple floors of people and several departments can quickly faction off into separate, unique cultures. Company events and meetings are a great way to bring all of your employees together and reinforce your company values.
Lean on your management team
As an entrepreneur, you’re used to doing everything yourself, including keeping a pulse on your company’s culture. As your company grows, though, you need to lean on the people you hire as managers and leaders to help you shape the company culture. Meet with your management team a few times a year to see what they’re noticing and seeing as things that need to change within your culture, and let them help you stay on track when it comes to holding on to your company’s core values.
Growing your company while keeping your culture isn’t easy. It takes a concerted effort and forethought to make sure all of your employees are aligned with the things that really matter. Spend some time thinking about what your company values and how those values can be incorporated into your company culture, and use these tips to keep your company culture as you grow.
About David Officen
David is the Founder and Managing Director of proCFO.
David combines an accounting and consulting background with commercial experience both as a manager for large commercial businesses and as the owner of private and family businesses.