When you first start your business, you must essentially build your company culture from the ground up. This can often mean taking the personalities and values of your small team into consideration and also defining what the overall values and mission of the company will be. But as your company grows and you add more team members into the mix, the original culture can get muddled or lost entirely as you face new challenges.
But that doesn’t mean you can’t return to that same culture once you find your way. To help, eight members of Young Entrepreneur Council each share one tip they’d recommend for how to maintain your desired culture as you begin hiring more people to your team.
1. Keep Culture At The Forefront Of The Hiring Process
My one tip for maintaining your desired culture as you begin hiring more people is to keep your culture at the forefront of the hiring process. It’s imperative to make it known to candidates what you’re looking for regarding culture. Once the candidate is aware of the culture you’re trying to create, it becomes easier to select candidates who strongly identify with and exemplify your company culture. As you bring more people on board, intentionality is everything, as you risk diluting your culture with every hire if the hire isn’t a good culture fit. So ultimately, make sure you, the new hire and your team are all aligned on your culture and what you’re looking for in a new candidate. If you do, you’re on track to create a strong culture as you continue to build your company. – Jared Weitz, United Capital Source Inc.
2. Ensure You Have A Well-Documented Policy
My one tip to maintain your desired culture as your company grows is to have a well-documented policy. It enables you to clearly communicate your values as you grow. Moreover, it helps you convey your message clearly and establish the ground rules that everyone across the board should follow. A well-documented policy not only helps you build the company’s culture from the ground up, but it also facilitates your onboarding process and makes it easier for the new team members to get acquainted with the company values. – Stephanie Wells, Formidable Forms
3. Establish Core Values Everyone Agrees With
I believe that establishing a set of core values that everyone in the company agrees with is critical. Your values guide who you hire and how you deal with crises and interpersonal conflict, and it can even help you decide whether to sell, buy, merge or enter into any other big decisions. In my business, the core value of “people first” has played a huge role in our success. It’s why we continue hiring even when it seems like the rest of the world is entering hiring freezes and layoffs. So, don’t take your core values for granted—they can make or break a business. – Syed Balkhi, WPBeginner
4. Foster Camaraderie With Group Events
Hosting group events for employees outside the office monthly or bimonthly can boost your company culture. This is because employees are allowed to interact with each other in a positive way, which helps to create a strong sense of community within the company. Furthermore, hosting group events shows employees that the company cares about their well-being and wants to create an enjoyable work environment. Such events also help to improve morale and foster a sense of camaraderie among the staff. When employees feel like they are part of a community, they are more apt to be engaged with their work and feel pride in their organization. This helps to break down any barriers that may prevent them from working together effectively by promoting teamwork and collaboration. – Kelly Richardson, Infobrandz
5. Set An Intentional Example As A Leader
Some people really do leave their culture to accident. As a business owner, you have to articulate it early and often. Get your key leadership on board. Remember, as good as your articulation might be, it will never speak louder than your actions. Practice what you preach, and your people will emulate it over time. If you value being on time, then you have to be on time. If you’re not, own it and fix it in the exact same way you would expect your team to do. Your team will copy your actions even if they parrot your words. – Tyler Bray, TK Trailer Parts
6. Keep Your Values Front Of Mind During Daily Activities
Emphasizing the company culture during the hiring process is important, of course. Beyond this, though, you need to keep your values fresh in everyone’s mind during the daily running of your business. This can be done by referring to fundamental values during meetings, in company newsletters and emails and in one-on-one conversations. This should be done in a natural and conversational manner, not by simply repeating slogans in a robotic way. It’s also essential to translate values into workable actions. For example, if building strong customer relationships is a key goal and company value, find ways to express this and give employees specific ideas on how this can be done. For sales associates, this might mean follow-up calls to make sure customers are satisfied. – Kalin Kassabov, ProTexting
7. Leave Room For Flexibility
One of the biggest challenges when you first start your business is building the culture from the ground up. You want to make sure that you’re creating a consistent experience for customers, but you also need to be sure that you’re cultivating an environment where people feel comfortable and supported. One tip I have for maintaining your desired culture as you begin hiring more people is to keep in mind that everyone needs different things from their work environment, so it’s important not to impose a one-size-fits-all solution. You can set some guidelines or rules—like how many hours people are expected to work or what kind of attire they should wear—but make sure to take time out of each day for discussion about how those guidelines are working for everyone involved. – Brian Greenberg, Insurist
8. Seek Your Team’s Help
To build a company culture from the ground up, you have to ensure that it’s “for the people, by the people.” So, when designing your company values, it’s essential that you consult with the trusted members of your team who were with you when you started your journey. Culture is a representation of people, so it would be unfair to keep them out when setting the ground rules. The suggestions from trusted members of your team will pave the way for you to come up with a flexible and refined set of policies that breed a sustainable company culture as you grow. – Chris Klosowski, Easy Digital Downloads