14 Apr How to Improve Company Culture During Expansion
Business growth and expansion is an important step for any business. Some aspects of an organization will change — e.g. employee headcount, office locations, vacation policies, recognition programs, etc. — and these changes are usually better for the future of your organization. However, it’s important that some aspects, like company culture, maintain the same positive organizational influence they have since day one.
Moreover, company culture in particular can be hard to maintain with consistent expansion because it relies so much on individual personalities and interpreting values. Your first ten or twenty employees might sign on to the culture you created, believing and living the mission but some, maybe most, of the next 80 employees might only be there for the paycheck. As upper management, you need to maintain the integrity of your culture while also making your unique culture thrive with expansion.
Below are five tips on maintaining company culture during expansion by proactively communicating and reinforcing your values.
- Make your mission statement clear
This may seem like an obvious first point, but most companies don’t take the time to write down and consistently share their values with their employees. Making your values concrete in the form of a mission statement or motto makes it real for new hires and reminds employees what really matters.
“And that is why we need to get Eddy Van Halen.”
Especially during the onboarding process, make sure your mission and values are highly visible and reinforced to the new hires.
- Maintain employee relations
As part of organizational growth, upper management will begin to lose touch with lower level employees and rarely interact with new hires. This can’t be helped, but you still need new employees to see you as an avatar of the company’s culture.
What can you do? Try having lunch with new hires occasionally, or write a weekly newsletter to let people know the latest company news. Also, make sure you walk around the office and get to know your employees better.
Furthermore, you need to make sure your recognition programs are running effectively. Ask yourself: Are employees recognizing each other? Do employees feel like they are valued when they are being recognized? There are dozens and dozens of employee recognition ideas out there, but remember the best ones are never forced.
- Help departments connect
You need a community before you have a culture. Tear down silos and make sure different departments and functions aren’t isolated. Make it a point to communicate and share the success of the company and of different departments to keep everyone feeling like they are part of something greater. You want people in one department to know what happens in another department and why it matters to the success of the company. This also helps create a sense of belonging.
Another way to nurture intercompany relations is to try and make every department a customer-facing department. As you grow, the more outward facing employees you have, the more rapport and respect they will earn from each other.
- Allow for team building outside of the office
Find an activity that aligns with your culture. Maybe it’s a visit to the local art museum or providing a service to a homeless shelter or school. Or maybe it’s a day of team building activities at the beach. It doesn’t matter where, just as long as it feels like a natural place to be.
“There IS an ‘I’ in “WIN!'”
Because your employees are outside of the office, it gives them the opportunity to reconnect with the company culture through activities or conversations and step aside from the daily pressures. It’s also a chance to reexamine the culture that drives the work and how upper management can make it better.
- Keep at it
Company growth will require adaptation as you expand, but stay positive. Don’t be afraid to ask for help from all levels of employees, or to test different approaches. An honest examination of your company culture takes courage, but can yield powerful results. Stay committed.
At the end of the day, when you keep company culture central during growth periods, good work and better employee engagement follows.
At Awardco, our focus is to increase engagement and satisfaction through effective recognition programs. The Awardco Platform is the easiest, most affordable way to implement employee recognition tactics into your organization.