Things have really started taking off for your business. This new flurry of success is exciting, but it also probably means your meticulously planned strategy is being tested and strained in new ways, and the dynamic is changing rapidly within your organization. As your focus is challenged, how do you ensure you can grow while maintaining a company culture that results in not only your employees being excited to come to work every day, but also them being invested in playing an active role in fueling the successful growth of the business?
These 4 tips will guide you in the right direction
1. Be a Shining Example
It is vital that you live and breathe your company’s core values in everything you do, and every decision you make through this period of growth. This means you, and the entire management team, should have a deep and shared understanding of your core values, and deliver a consistent portrayal of them to the team.
It also means focusing your growth to align with your core values. Although it may be tempting to jump on any and every growth opportunity, taking on something that doesn’t fit perfectly with these values will dilute your brand (externally and internally), and confuse the internal culture. If you don’t know what your company stands for, your employees definitely won’t.
2. Don’t Ever Be Too Busy for the People who Fuel your Business
In order to get everything done you may be doing two things: becoming more detached from what is happening with your staff, and cancelling team building activities to get more business-related tasks done. This is when you need to stop and evaluate what is urgent versus what is important.
Although your brilliant team doesn’t need you to be micro-managing, they do need you to be present and in touch with their reality. Encourage an open-door policy, and schedule time regularly to catch up with the people who are driving the operations of your business. Be careful not to confuse what I mean here for allowing yourself to get caught up in the day-to-day tasks – your focus should always be big picture. Simply put, it means listening to your team and encouraging them to contribute input, while keeping you in check with the morale of the team as organizational changes are happening.
Also, make sure you aren’t rescheduling or cancelling team building activities. Spending time together outside of work allows the team to gel, and the more your team gels as a unit the more efficient they will be when working together. So essentially, team activities actually becomes vital and equivalent to growth activities.
3. Hire the Right People as You Grow
As the scale of demands expand, it may seem intuitive to try to match manpower just as quickly. Resist the urge and hire SLOWLY. Nothing will derail culture more quickly than bringing in the wrong people. Invest a vast amount of time into developing the proper interview process and questions to help you determine an applicant’s cultural fit. Even more important than skill is passion – passion for what the company is building, and for the industry.
4. Measure Your Culture
Culture is difficult to quantitatively track because it is more of a feeling than a tangible thing. However, there are definitely ways to gauge how your employees feel about the culture of your organization, and systems that can be implemented to encourage it. This can be done through surveying employees and asking them questions such as, “how engaged do you feel at work on a regular basis?’ or “how likely would you be to recommend working at this company to a friend?” Glassdoor is an online review system for employees to rate their companies on, so if you haven’t already checked this out this is an excellent unbiased source of information on how you are doing.
You may also take the time to interview your employees face-to-face to get a deeper understanding of how they feel about the culture at your company, how they feel it has changed as you grow, and find out any suggestions they may have to develop the culture.
Lastly, you may consider implementing some type of reward system in order to encourage behaviour true to your company’s core values. For example, a system where employees can reward each other points when they see someone in the company do something in their workday that exemplifies a core value of the company. 15Five is a software worth checking out as it is a platform that allows employees to “check-in” with you on various things weekly, answer surveys, encourage peer recognition and provide analytics you can use to improve employee engagement.
The chaos that comes with rapid growth is a great problem to have. Internal changes are inevitable, but staying on top of maintaining a strong culture throughout these changes is vital to keeping employees invested, loyal, happy, and efficient as a team. The stronger the culture, the stronger the success of your growth will be.