Tips on How to Scale Company Culture
Regardless of size, companies have a culture. Corporate culture is the way people in the company think and get things done. Culture includes the corporate values that should be embraced and exemplified daily by every team member in your organization. Culture is critical and should be included in your strategy. In fact, 88% of employees believe strong company culture is key to business success.
“Being a great place to work is the difference between being a good company and a great company.” - Brian Kristofek, President and CEO, Upshot
For companies expanding from an intimate team to an ever-growing company, it can be hard to maintain and keep the company culture. A vital question that leaders will eventually have to face is: how can we effectively scale culture? In this article, we outline some best practices to effectively scale your culture.
“When it comes to culture, it’s all about clarity, alignment, and accountability.” – Mattson Newell, on the WWP podcast
1) Education - define your values
Having company values helps to ensure that your team - no matter the size - is working towards the same firm goals. It begins first with the leaders of the company. They must clearly outline the values, mission, and company objectives. Leaders need to demonstrate and incorporate the values of the firm into their day-to-day lives (such as into meetings, agendas, and 1-on-1s). Middle management is also crucial in sustaining corporate culture. Not only do middle managers need to model the values of the company, but they represent the employees that act as the connection between the leaders and the rest of employees. They have the opportunity to answer questions and ensure that the direct reports understand and model corporate values. This doesn’t change when companies are growing - values should stay the same, and managers & leaders should be demonstrating and showcasing their company values as often as possible.
If your organization is growing, a good way to ensure that people understand values is to mention them during the beginning of a candidate cycle. Clearly mention the values in interviews, and consider having the values clearly displayed on the company website. Let the candidates know what your organization values and expects. Remember that employees have a duty to model corporate values - it should be made known before day 1.
Another easy way to emphasize company values is through feedback conversations. Consider having competencies tie back to values. If you need an example, check out the Pavestep platform - we help companies scale effectively by building and sustaining a feedback culture. You can check out our articles on why a feedback culture matters and how to create one for more details.
2) Open communication- value what your team needs and wants
Your company culture is defined by the leaders of the company, but it is reinforced and lived through all team members. Effective and open communication between all team members is vital. Open communication allows for candid and honest conversations. It also helps employees give better feedback on what each team member is doing well and what they can improve on. In fact, 89% of HR leaders believe that peer feedback and regular check-ins enhance their organization's culture. If there is open communication and effective feedback systems in place, then employees will feel more valued at the company. This in turn creates a better environment where employees can focus on their work and get better results which allows for positive corporate culture. Prioritizing what your employees wants is part of creating a great employee experience. Feel free to check out our article on employee experience!
3) Measure the success of initiatives and employee engagement
87% of organizations site culture and engagement as their top challenges. To know if your corporate culture is on the right track, you have to be able to get feedback on your current culture and measure success of company culture initiatives. This can be measured via employee surveys or 1-on-1 feedback meetings. It is important to know if employees feel like the corporate culture and values are not clear or if they feel like the culture no longer reflects the values of the company. Examples of questions could include:
Are you comfortable with the culture we have here at work?
Do you feel respected at work by your peers and the company as a whole?
Do you think there is anything the company could improve on?
How engaged are you with your task and your team?
How do you think the company incorporates teamwork and co-operation in the day-to- day task?
Employee engagement is linked to positive corporate culture is. If you want your talent to be engaged and productive, you will need to make sure that company culture allows them to thrive.
4) Story telling
As your company scales, there will be traditions that you have created and a narrative that has been built. As more individuals are brought onto the team, it can be challenging to translate that rich history. Employees should hear and understand where your company has been and what it took to get there. This can be achieved through storytelling. In addition to directing your employees to a website that lists your company values, use examples of how people have demonstrated your values in the past. Talk about your company culture in the beginning stages. Stories will help employees better understand your company culture and values, and it is impactful way to bring together past, current and future employees.
If you enjoyed this blog, check out our podcast Working with People with our guest Mattson Newell to learn more on how to effectively scale culture!