7 Ways To Scale Culture As Your Company Grows

by Knotel: Nov 15, 2017

When there’s pressure to grow quickly, many companies will hack their way through an expansion phase. From squeezing 50 employees into a 30-person office space to throwing new hires headfirst into a job without onboarding them, shortcuts aren’t just common, but inevitable.

While your company may be able to get by temporarily through shortcuts, creating a strong, scalable culture can’t be hacked. Without the foundation of a stable culture, growing pains become exacerbated, from bad hiring decisions to a lack of team spirit. So what can you do to create a scalable culture as you grow? There are several steps that you can put in place now to benefit your business in the long run.

1. Get your company values in place

Your values are the guiding principles of your organization. Do you want an innovative team that works to disrupt industry norms? Trustworthy employees dedicated to compassionate candor? Know what values your employees should embody so you know who to hire.

Instead of a top-down process, involve your employees in creating your values. Give them a voice in forming the ethics and attitudes that will lead your company into the next stage of growth.

2. Culture add > Culture fit

As a growing company, you shouldn’t be looking for talent that will fit exactly into your current team. In order for your business to thrive, you need a difference of perspectives so that you can productively question, refine, or reinvent a product or strategy.

Replace the term “culture fit” with “culture add.” This will help your company to create a culture built on diversity and inclusion. Pandora used “culture add” to rebranded their employee engagement and recruitment efforts, leading to a 2016 hiring class that was 42% minority recruits and 46% female recruits.

3. Hold regular all hands meetings

Where is your company now and where do you hope to be in the next 6 months? These are important topics to address in all-hands meetings. These meetings help to create cohesiveness and transparency as you grow. From introducing new hires to your company’s values to having the CEO present on overall goals for the company, it’s important for your team to know exactly what they are working towards.

These meetings are also a great opportunity for your employees to learn what each department is working on. Knotel’s all-hands meetings allow a particular department to present on a project or problem they’re trying to solve, inviting other members of the company to weigh in.

4. Celebrate your employees

Create an environment where employees feel valued. Keep track of work anniversaries, birthdays, or employees who are going above and beyond for your organization. As you grow, stratify your system to include more employees: from all-company awards to smaller, departmental wins. A culture of recognition will optimize employee engagement as your headcount doubles.

5. Start a buddy system

Every new employee wants to feel that they are set up for success when they begin their new role. Pair new employees with a seasoned peer to help orient them to the organization. This will not only help you to create a culture of inclusion, but also a culture where employees are looking out for one another.

6. Hold exit interviews

The way that you treat the employees who decide to leave your company speaks volumes about your organization. Perhaps one of the most important issues is understanding why they are leaving and what your company could be doing better. Exit interviews show that you’re willing to learn and improve upon previous practices.

Create a process around exit interviews that will allow you to relearn outgoing employees’ career goals. Understand how your company may have missed the mark, and put a comprehensive feedback system in place.

7. Invest in an in-house recruiter.

If you expect to hire 20-60 people within a year (or more), there are high costs and risks when you involve a recruiting agency. These agencies are juggling different clients, focusing on rapid placement instead of retention. It’s far more valuable to invest in securing and engaging top talent that will add to your culture. By bringing on a dedicated in-house recruiter, you’re also investing in the entire new hire experience: in-house recruiters provide you with end-to-end solutions, including sourcing, onboarding, and training.

However you build your culture, make sure your employees are involved in the ideation process. You’ll end up optimizing the way your business operates from the bottom up and putting your best foot forward as you grow.