Scaling up your business is a good thing. It means you're growing and thriving. It means greater opportunities, not just for you, but for your expanding team. It means you'll be able to do more for your customers and clients.
One problem faced by small business owners is how to maintain your company culture when you are growing. Rapid expansion can sneak up on you, and make you feel like the spirit and values of your company have been lost. While you longed to grow your business, you may find yourself nostalgic for the "old days" when things were smaller, more intimate, and your core values and culture were more ingrained in the daily life of your company. Take it from someone who went from a couple of employees to 50 in a matter a few weeks; you can manage the process if you prepare ahead of time.
Five Ways To Maintain Your Culture During Growth Spurts
1. Rigorous Hiring Practices
One of the best ways to preserve company culture is to hire carefully. Be sure that your new hires aren't just qualified -- make sure they are a good fit. Use a team approach when interviewing. Make sure they fit in with the people they will be working with on a daily basis. I always find it valuable to see how they act with potential colleagues versus how they interact with me.
2. Talk About Your Values
During the hiring process, be sure that your company culture and values are front and center, this helps your candidates make their decision, too. But don't stop talking about your company values and culture during the interview process. Be sure that company onboarding practices set clear expectations so that those joining the team understand your culture from the beginning. Ask interview question based on your company values.
3. Develop And Maintain Traditions
When your company consists of just a handful of employees, small traditions tend to develop but might get lost as you grow. Don't let this happen. Be sure to continue your traditions no matter how big your business gets.
4. Recognize Employee Achievements And Contributions
This should always be a part of your company culture, and it helps foster loyalty and satisfaction among employees. Recognize birthdays, anniversaries and significant milestones in your people's lives. It says to the employee that you care. I make it practice to do small things on a more regular basis than big rewards. People, in general, need recognition and to feel appreciated more than once a year at the Christmas party.
5. Keep Lines Of Communication Open
One sure way to lose that tight-knit feel and culture is to stop getting feedback from employees. Maintaining an open-door policy helps your business stay grounded. Get out of the office. Work a day on your production line or ride along with the delivery driver. You will learn valuable things, and people will see that you still care.
These are some ideas to get your started. Keeping your company culture intact during a growth spurt is doable, but you must make the conscious effort. It won't happen by itself.