With any growing business, you’re bound to experience some growing pains here and there – that’s perfectly normal. However, some can be more difficult to deal with than others, especially when it involves something intangible such as company culture.
A very common growing pain that businesses will experience is a compromise in culture as their team grows exponentially. As your company becomes more departmentalized, it can be easy for culture to dissolve as you bring in more bodies and communication between departments becomes more structured and segmented.
This can be frustrating and sometimes it can trickle down the organization causing some employees to be unhappy. So how do you overcome these growing pains and help everyone maintain a sense of belonging and purpose?
Make Your Rookies Feel Welcome, Recognize Your MVPs And Everyone Else In Between
Losing your most valuable employees can be detrimental to your team’s culture. After all, they are the ones who helped you get to where you are and helped write the unwritten code that is your culture today. So don’t forget to recognize them. Let them know they’re doing a great job, and offer some constructive criticism to help take them to the next level.
As for your new employees, they are the ones that provide you with new energy and a fresh perspective on your business. Recognize their early successes, offer them criticism and help when they need it, and make sure they feel welcomed by all members of the team. You also want to be stern enough to set the tone from the get go, but also make them feel a sense of purpose and belonging.
Hire For Culture, Train For Skill
Now this doesn’t mean you should discount skill entirely, but if potential job candidates lack a few qualifications and seem like they would be an easy fit with what you’re trying to achieve, it’s best to hire and groom them than to hire someone who’s overqualified and doesn’t get along. Having that “one guy” that ruins the vibe in the workplace is never fun.
Don’t Lose Sight of Tradition
When your team grows, and everyone begins having a different schedule, it’s easy to forget about old traditions such as regular team events and group bonding activities. It’s important to keep these sorts of traditions in place, as they are not only a good form of stress relief, but getting people out of the office to bond over non-work matters will only strengthen the connection between your employees.
If the team grows to be much too big to manage, try even having regular team bonding events amongst different departments and saving large group outings for special occasions.
Being a compassionate leader can be the best thing to happen to your culture and your company. Hold your employees accountable for their actions, but also be forgiving and kind.
Check in if it looks like an employee is having a rough time. Try to re-assure them and give them the time and resources they need to work through their problems. If they can’t perform because they feel like they don’t have the skill-set or just aren’t the right fit, have a discussion to see if they can be of benefit somewhere else in the company. If that doesn’t work out, it might be worth discussing mutually parting ways. Being able to lay-off and fire compassionately is a skill that will strengthen your company’s reputation as well as the relationship you have with both current and former employees.
Practice What You Preach
If you expect your employees to live, breathe and die for your culture and values, you must lead by example and preach those values yourself. The goal is to influence everyone by example and get them to want to enforce your values day in and day out voluntarily. If culture is something you’re forcing upon them, they will likely see it as a chore and will be reluctant follow suit.