There are many challenges that businesses face when scaling, but one that seems to come up time and time again is culture. How does one keep that small business culture alive when the business is growing and you are adding more and more people into the mix. What cannot be disputed is that an exceptional company culture means success for ones business, and success means growth. Inevitably this will mean that you will need to tackle this challenge at some point in your company’s lifespan.
Generally, maintaining a cool company culture in a small business is relatively easy. The team is small, people are interviewed and hired on the basis of buying in to the business, it’s culture and ideas and the status quo stays the same. But soon, the hiring increases, the need to add more people and more skills to the business is necessary and keeping this great cultural dynamic can start to become a challenge all of it’s own. Also, don’t make the mistake of thinking that culture does not play an important role in the success of your business – it does – hugely! A change in company culture can often signal the demise of a business, as culture is often what attracts the best staff, what pushes the drive to succeed and ultimately what makes one company survive and succeed when others don’t.
A growing company can bring several different kinds of change. These are just some of the things that will threaten your company culture if you are a growing concern:
- Larger workforce: As your company grows, there’s a very good chance that you’ll need to hire more employees. More employees means needing more managers. Make sure you hire the correct new managers to ensure that the company culture remains.
- Better workforce: Let’s face it, some areas of your workforce may need improvement as your company grows. As hiring raises the bar, this might mean parting ways with employees who can’t maintain the new standard. Make sure you lose the employees that do not buy into your company culture and keep the ones that do – this way you will ensure that your culture survives.
- Multiple offices: A growing company can, and often does, mean multiple offices or even just a move into a bigger space. Make sure that when you are looking to grow your space or make any changes to the physical placing of people that culture is discussed and considered as this can impact hugely on whether or not your culture remains.
Whatever changes your culture needs, one thing seems to remain constant across all growing companies: implementing organizational change starts and ends with your company’s leadership. When leaders of a business are clear on what makes their culture work, it will be a lot easier to keep it alive as the business grows.