Six steps to growing your business with a strong company culture
Updated: Nov 15, 2022
Let’s talk about company culture. That is, your business’s personality, values, and beliefs.
It’s the glue that keeps your people together and moving in the same direction. It shapes the atmosphere in your workplace and sets the tone for how your employees behave. And it’s just as big a draw for potential new recruits as its benefits, its salary brackets, and its industry reputation.
Not to mention that according to Forbes, companies with strong cultures see a four-times increase in revenue growth.
If you’re looking to scale up, improve retention and become an employer of choice, it’s never been more vital to build and maintain an engaging – and engaged – company culture.
But before you rush out and buy that table-tennis table, gold-star reward chart or office dog, take a look at these six quick tips for fast-growing businesses:
Have a well-defined set of company values
Strong cultures are built on strong values. Outlining yours early on can make a big difference as you grow your team.
First, engage your people, including those in leadership positions. Run surveys and focus groups, asking employees to consider what makes the company unique and what behaviours and stories support their ideas. By co-creating this way, your team will feel they have something relatable to stand behind.
Once you’ve collated and narrowed down common thoughts, these can be refined into your values. Weave them into every aspect of the employee experience and lifecycle.
A fabulous example of a company that’s got it right is Zappos. Their 10 core values provide a beacon and foundation for members of the team to shape their decisions, processes, and strategies, and as result their unique culture has scaled with the company.
Create a ‘value fit’ recruitment and selection process
Maintaining your culture with every recruit can be challenging. Accounts And Legal say that an average employee costs SMEs £12,000 to replace, so getting the recruitment and selection process right is critical.
By providing the best possible brand experience, you’re creating ‘brand ambassadors’ who will naturally improve people’s perception of your business and increase the number of applicants applying directly.
Crafting interview questions aligned to your values and behaviours will help make sure new hires’ working styles and personal ethics align with your business’s.
Revamp your employer branding
Articulate your company values through your career’s website, social media strategy and job adverts.
Not only does this help your employer brand to stand out – it also sets clear expectations and provides an opportunity for candidates to decide if your company’s culture will be right for them.
As Hubspot began to scale, its leadership team was focused on making sure its culture didn’t derail – believing that “culture is to recruiting as product is to marketing”. To keep themselves on track, the company created a beautiful ‘culture code deck’.
This document is accessible for anyone to read, which aligns with one of Hubspot’s key values: transparency.
Onboard with a difference
It’s critical that once hired, especially remotely, your new recruits feel welcome and part of the fold as soon as possible. They’ll need time to acclimatise to your company culture, especially as according to Forbes, up to 20% of employee turnover happens in the first 45 days.
Managers who are onboarded without this will probably default and act according to their previous experience, which will be passed into their teams – diluting your culture.
Virtual reality gives you the opportunity to thrill and excite new employees with a rich, immersive experience remotely. Whether it’s conveying your company’s mission and vision directly, hosting interactive sessions to get employees up to speed, or giving a realistic feel of company culture, an immersive VR experience can go a long way to making new employees feel like they belong at your company.
A standardised Virtual Reality onboarding process also dramatically reduces the workload of HR managers by automating monotonous onboarding practices.
Using VR for employee onboarding is already showing great promise. Honeygrow , a Philadelphia-based restaurant chain, reported that within 30 days of implementing VR training for employee onboarding, the number of team members fully certified on culture and training soared from 50 to 77 percent. With costs to purchase VR equipment going down, it will likely continue to be adopted by more companies. Could yours be next?
(Honeygrow VR training program)
Design a value-based reward and recognition programme
It’s simple: when people are rewarded, they’re motivated. When they’re motivated, they stay. Find a way to recognise all your people, from the office cleaner to your leadership team, using your values as a benchmark.
During my time as Chief People Officer , I had the opportunity to reimagine the way the business recognised those who went above and beyond. The key to its success was complete clarity on what was being rewarded and the behaviours the business wanted to foster.
We implemented Glimpses of Brilliance (GOBs) and quarterly V Awards. GOBs empowered anyone in the business to say “thank you” to a colleague instantly.
Accessed through the bespoke internal comms platform, this peer-to-peer recognition system allowed for values and behaviours to be celebrated, and positivity in the workplace grew organically.
Each quarter, employees were given the opportunity to submit their ‘culture champion’ and the rest of the business voted on who they believed most aligned to the company’s ethos. Prizes were then presented at an informal, social event called The V Awards. This two-pronged approach successfully helped keep values at the forefront of everyone’s minds.
Keith Rabois – investor at PayPal, LinkedIn and Square – said: “If you want people to make the same decisions that you would make, but in a more scalable way, you have to give them the same information you have.”
Communicate real-life, value-based stories through a carefully crafted communications strategy across platforms, such as company meetings, intranets, face-to-face meetings, and social media.
This is a sure-fire way of ensuring values don’t just stay as words on walls. Framing announcement and decisions in the context of the company values make sure that you and your teams are aligned.
Although your core values may stay the same as your company grows from a team of five to a team of 500, some will inevitably need adapting. Staying open to those changes, and involving your teams in that process, will allow you to scale in a way that allows you to preserve the most important aspects of your culture.
Creating an honest, open culture and checking in with your employees using anonymous engagement surveys means you can pinpoint areas for focus and constant improvement. From my experience of acquiring, scaling and pivoting teams, it’s important to seek out feedback regularly, especially if your company is growing at a fast pace.
Want some help successfully scaling your team? Experiencing disengagement in your workplace? Get in touch today for your Culturehood Define and Discovery Phase, which – using an engagement framework – identifies areas for improvement and ensures your whole business is pulling in the same direction.
(That new office dog of yours is welcome to join us, too!)