Growth is one of the top concerns of new businesses. As a startup, you want to scale your business and find success. It can be tempting to focus solely on your business strategy and leave culture in the dust. But culture isn’t something you can put off or avoid. Culture needs to scale and grow along with your company.
Brian Chesky, co-founder and CEO of Airbnb, has written on Twitter, “A company’s culture is the foundation for future innovation. An entrepreneur’s job is to build the foundation.” Your company’s growth and success is dependent on culture, but shouldn’t be hindered by it. If you grow too fast and neglect culture, you risk losing touch with your employees and crumbling from the inside out.
For true success, you need to commit to both business growth and company culture. Here are six steps to scale your culture along with your company:
1. Be purposeful.
In an article on LinkedIn, Dharmesh Shah, CTO and founder of HubSpot, wrote, “The best companies are deliberate about culture. They design it and defend it.” So, like Shah, you can’t expect culture to just figure itself out. You need a strategy and initiatives in place to build the culture you want for your company.
Make it a core focus of your business and understand why you’re doing it. What do you want your company to be, and why? Once you know the answer, get a plan in place for how to build, scale and improve.
2. Define your values.
Your culture will grow from your company’s values. They will be the foundation for your culture. Your values will also help you build a team that is focused on the same goals and shares the same beliefs.
Pinpoint what is most important to your company. What are your goals? These will be the driving force of not only your culture but your company overall. Your values will help you steer your business, build your brand and gather the right team members.
3. Implement strong leadership.
Glassdoor has found through surveys that 87 percent of organizations see culture and engagement as their top challenges. But what those companies may not be dwelling on is that a strong culture starts at the top.
Your leadership team needs to set a strong example for the rest of your employees. They are the ones that your employees will look to to lead the way. Establish a strong culture among your leadership, and make sure they communicate that culture and let it trickle down through the entire company.
4. Hire the right people.
That means ensuring that the people you bring on board are a good fit for your culture. When you’re hiring someone new for your team, make sure you do more than just assess their skills. The right skills can be learned, but “character” cannot. Character is what will tell you if someone is a good cultural fit or not.
Companies with a strong culture can expect employees to be more loyal, more productive and happier — all of which are better for business.
5. Practice honesty.
Your employees want you to be as open and honest with them as possible. That’s why having an authentic culture is so important.
You can’t simply state that you have a fun culture and not do anything about it. Show how fun your culture is by hosting events, having a bright and colorful office and providing great perks. But if you don’t do anything like that, how can you call your culture fun?
Most importantly, be true to your company values and who you are. Don’t just say what your values are — show them.
6. Measure it.
Most see culture as an abstract concept that can’t be quantified. But there are ways to measure how effective your culture is and how happy your employees are. In an article for Zenefits, Katie Burke, chief people officer at HubSpot, said,“You have to make a business case for culture. Explain why it actually matters to the business and show how it ties to core business objectives.”
Try sending out an annual employee happiness survey. Ask employees what they like about your company culture and how you can improve. Take their suggestions to heart and let them mold future initiatives and projects. Then, track the results of the survey and compare year over year to see how successful your culture is over time.
How has your culture grown along with your business? What types of initiatives do you have in place? Let me know in the comments below: