The culture you develop in the early days of your company is what makes you unique. Initially, it is what will give you a chance against the major players in your industry, and as such, it’s essential you work to keep it a part of your company as you grow. But culture isn’t easy to manage and if you’re not careful, it can take on a life of its own. As your business expands and hiring ramps up, that’s when your culture is most at risk. Staying true to your culture has to be a thoughtful process; to avoid weakening it, follow these three strategies.
To create and maintain a strong company culture, you should have a clearly defined mission along with some core values. Your mission shouldn’t be something that is mentioned once in your first meeting with a client or touched on during an interview with a potential new hire. It should become an everyday practice throughout all levels of the organization, whether you’re in a team meeting or at a company outing.
Here at QPS, our six beliefs have been the guiding force in our actions since beginning back in 1985. By having your values front and center, it will give everyone that interacts with your company a clear picture of what makes you different than the rest.
In a time where the unemployment numbers continue to drop, it can be easy to settle when making hiring decisions. However, bringing a mismatched candidate on comes with the possibility of disrupting the culture. This is why you shouldn’t budge on your hiring standards. In times like these, you should consider dropping some of the more skill-based requirements before compromising on cultural fit. It will be better in the long run to train someone that matches your company instead of hiring a worker that has the necessary skillset but can’t get along with their co-workers. That difficult worker will either end up quitting, or even worse, they will stick around and cause your other employees to leave.
An excellent way to hire based on culture is to use a team approach. When progressing through the interview process, have the candidate talk with multiple people they would be interacting with once hired. From there, you’ll get multiple opinions and see how they act in a variety of environments. Referrals are another great way to maintain your culture. Your current employees know how things work, so if they recommend someone for the job, you can assume this person has a higher likelihood to be a solid fit.
As the company grows, it may become more difficult for employees to give feedback and feel heard. This is why it is critical that leadership still be accessible and continue to have methods of communication available. Your employees play an active role in developing the company culture. If you neglect them, the ideas that you built the company will be forgotten and change will be inevitable. So, get out of the office and talk with employees in a variety of rules. You’ll not only show that you still care but you’ll also pick up valuable insights, ones that will let you know if the company is heading in the right direction.
This should make it clear why culture is so important to successful businesses. When you have management that cares about the bigger picture, you’ll have engaged employees that are proud to work there. By having company culture as a top priority, you’ll be at the top of your industry, both in acquiring customers and recruiting talent, for years to come.