It’s a problem that many scaleups face; how do you maintain your company culture as your business grows? Startups and scaling tech businesses are renowned for having a company culture that draws in a lot of talent, particularly millennials and Gen Z. As a rule, these businesses tend to be more fun, relaxed and friendly and provide great opportunities for growth and development. However, it’s their unique approach to culture which makes them an attractive proposition. Therefore for many, it’s vital to maintain this culture as they hire more people and scale into new markets.
Growing businesses need to lay down protocols and have a cemented EVP to ensure that their mission and vision are reciprocated across the organisation. These core pillars will form the basis of a company culture and the workplace atmosphere. However, inevitably as you hire more people, the company culture will shift. New voices, attitudes, and work ethics take over and impact the rest of the brand, plus there will be more leaders and management styles to contend with.
Therefore, we’re asking if the secret to scaling your company culture actually lies in the talent you hire.
Set the tone
The people in your organisation set the tone for new hires; they ultimately define your business. Of course, it may be your overall product or mission statement that lures them into your organisation. Still, the initial hires within your business will play a huge role in defining your company culture and maintaining it as you grow, whether that’s scaling within your existing market or expanding globally. We all know that the people you work with day in, day out have a considerable impact on how you feel about the company you work for.
You may be excited about the business and what it’s trying to achieve but getting on with the people you work with is what will drive you into the office and can be the difference between enjoying your work and not. It’s the people around you that will determine the workplace atmosphere. Will they be chatty and offer to make a few cups of tea? Will they stick to rigid protocols? Will you go out and socialise after work, or will it remain strictly professional? Some of these things are out of the organisation’s control but rely on individual people to carry them forward.
Enthusiasm spreads like wildfire, and excitement is contagious. Having the right talent who are passionate about your business will help this to echo across your organisation.
Responsible for hiring
Your initial hires will be the ones that hire new recruits as your company grows. They’ll be responsible for deciding who joins your growing team, which will impact your culture further. Therefore having the right people initially will help to hire like-minded and similar people. These are the people who are passionate about your purpose and dedicated to the mission. Of course, the argument for hiring for skills or cultural fit rages on, and everyone will have their own opinions. However, if you’re trying to grow your business and maintaining your culture is one of your biggest priorities, asking your people to hire for cultural fit and add will never be a bad idea. This doesn’t mean hiring people who are exactly the same as your existing team, but those they feel they can work well with and will add a new dimension to the company culture.
Ultimately, you need to rely on your team to convey your company culture in the interview and hiring process if you wish to portray an accurate employer brand image to recruits. This will, in turn, allow them to self-select whether the company is the right fit for them and their attitudes to work. Remember, skills can be taught, attitude to work cannot.
Onboard new hires
Your people are also responsible for training and onboarding new talent that comes through your organisation and helping them to become familiar with your processes, software and ways of working. Therefore, they’ll help to introduce them to your business. The right talent will create a positive image and showcase your authentic company culture to new hires. In contrast, a poor onboarding experience may reflect how they feel about your organisation and harm your employer brand. Within the initial few weeks, the tone for the workplace will become apparent, so having passionate, engaging people delivering your onboarding and training will make all the difference in showcasing your company culture and employer brand. Maintain this through all new hires as you scale, embed your values from your EVP into the onboarding process, and all new hires will likely share your vision and attitude.
Prevent culture dilution
As your company grows, you’re also more at risk of culture dilution. Without making a conscious effort to grow your culture as you expand your team, the core aspects and values can get lost in the excitement of growth and new hires. With the rise in remote work, company culture dilution is becoming more of a concern. It’s hard to preserve the office culture when everyone is now working remotely and even more so if your employees work across different time zones. Therefore it’s up to your management and team leaders to keep this culture alive and go the extra mile to ensure teams feel united and engaged. As more and more teams join your business, you’ll need to think about how they can feel like part of the wider organisation and how this culture will translate through different management styles.
Create a culture of transparency
If you have honest and open people around you, it will influence your company culture positively. Growing companies can often find it difficult to keep open communication between leadership and team members. Staying transparent becomes an even more significant challenge once your business scales into global markets and locations. However, your culture will not have the same positive impact and employer brand if employees aren’t kept in the loop about new developments and initiatives. Therefore, you need to surround yourself with talented people who believe in being transparent if your company culture will scale successfully. In small businesses, there is simply no room for secrets; word will spread. Communication is key to engaging your teams, and you need people who will encourage this and find tools to ensure everyone is involved no matter where they’re working from.
Inform your EVP
A well-rounded EVP takes your existing people into account. What becomes a vital document for scaling businesses, outlining their priorities, goals, and expectations, should be built around your people and their perceptions of your business. To create a successful EVP, you need to talk to your people and understand your business’s strengths and weaknesses and what makes you a unique workplace. Your people’s opinion matters and using them to inform one of the core aspects of talent attraction for scaling businesses will also influence your employer brand and future acquisition rates. They know your business better than anyone. After all, they are your business. So use them to your advantage and cement your company culture in your EVP, which will become the lifeblood of your organisation.
Talent Works specialise in building an EVP and employer brand communications for scaling tech businesses. As an RPO provider with offices in Manchester, Northampton and Boston, US, we’re uniquely positioned to help the world’s most exciting companies scale into both local and global markets. With a focus on talent attraction, employer branding and EVPs, and digital talent attraction and employer brand awareness.
To find out more about how our services can help you celebrate what makes you a unique employer, contact our team today.