Tips to Maintain Culture During Business Expansion
Every entrepreneur and business owner dreams of scaling their company. Growth is good. It means your business is thriving. Yet, in the midst of striving to reach that goal, company culture remains as important as ever. Building culture is fairly straightforward for small and mid-sized businesses when the entire team is all in the same location; bonding takes place during work hours and team members can easily come together for activities.
While growth is beneficial for all members of the team-- such as new opportunities for advancement and higher pay-- it also comes with new barriers and obstacles. These obstacles are important to recognize in order to maintain a strong company culture. A company’s culture is more than just a feeling. It defines the company, it influences how team members work, and it is a key component to success.
As a company grows, pressure is placed on the levels of management between employers and the CEO to maintain a proper work culture. However, as more levels of management are introduced, this aspect gets even more difficult because each manager has their own style and perception of company values. Without structure and set culture goals, it is difficult to maintain expectations during rapid growth. Use these tips to be prepared to manage the process of maintaining culture throughout the business expansion.
This is arguably one of the most important factors in maintaining a strong company culture. Small businesses have the advantage of an intimate atmosphere where feedback is easily given and received. As the business expands, upper management should maintain an open-door policy, interacting with employees often. Each layer of management should be trained on effective communication-- something that will wear off on the employees. When every level of employment is good at effective communication, company culture will be easier to influence and maintain.
This is one of the best ways to maintain company culture. It only takes one bad apple to ruin the bunch, and the same goes for employees. Creating a rigorous hiring process helps preserve company culture by ensuring employees are not only qualified, but also a good fit. It may be a good idea to see how potential employees interact with potential colleagues.
Recognized Contributions and Achievements
In business, it is important to always be productive and to get as much done as possible. This creates an easy trap for management to fall into: giving the most attention to employees having a difficult time and putting more responsibilities on the employees who aren’t. Now while this is part of what being on a team means, it is extremely important to recognize the employees who are carrying more weight. As employees make contributions to their team, reward them with an appropriate kind of attention or recognition. If not, employees will burn out quicker, bring less to the table, and be less likely to go out of their way to help the team.
It is the small things that really build the culture in an office. Whether it be a morning round table that includes emails in all locations, monthly potlucks, or company happy hour, companies need to ensure that the small things they do to establish company culture must be maintained throughout and after company expansion.
“You can't let one bad moment spoil the bunch.” This phrase is commonly known for a reason. It only takes one employee to upset company culture . It is extremely important for management to recognize the signs that an employee is not a good fit, and as a business expands to a new location, it may become a bit more difficult identifying the attributes that were apparent in another city. The more keen management is to what makes an employee a good fit, the better they will be at maintaining company culture, as well as hiring the right people consistently.
As a company expands, problems inevitably emerge, although issues can come from anywhere and during any time within an organization. Expansion, however, presents the opportunity to highlight any below-surface issues and fix them before they lead to systemic, recurring issues that could impact the entire organization. Maintaining culture helps bring these matters to light, but without acting on them, systemic problems can lead to the erosion of company culture as well.
At the end of the work day, each business is different, as is their employees and office culture.
These tips act as a guide to help companies maintain their culture throughout expansion, yet ultimately, it comes down to the management and the employees of a business. If a company works to be successful with happy employees, maintaining the company culture should come naturally.