Maintaining Start-Up Culture as Your Business Grows.

In recent years, there has been a notable increase in hypergrowth start-up companies across the globe. Since they are growing so fast, these organisations, more than most, need to ensure that they have the right people and systems in place to maintain the speed at which they are growing. If not, the organisation can quickly fall apart.

While there are many challenges these organisations face, research shows that talent is their primary growth challenge. And one of the biggest talent priorities is how to scale and maintain culture.

Your company culture is what makes your business great and it's the starting personalities that create your goals and vision.

Anyone who worked in a startup before moving to a corporate business will likely tell you that they might not be missing the lower salary or the fast-paced environment, but they’ll definitely tell you these things were nothing to moan about when you consider the other aspects of a startup culture such as social atmosphere and relaxed working hours.

Half the fun of starting your own business is creating your ideal work culture. But as you grow and scale, it can be difficult to maintain. So how do you make sure that the start-up culture remains as your company grows?

Here are a few things to consider:

  • Define company values clearly into observable behaviours
    For example, define ‘respect’ as ‘listening to others’. Creating a clear list of observable behaviours ensures everyone is working from the same cultural definitions and helps to display abstract values in concrete and actionable ways. This way, employees can more easily learn and reinforce values. It’s also important to offer recognition to team members who live up to values and enforce them well.
  • Think carefully about who you hire
    Hire right. You can train someone to have the skills necessary to do his or her job, but you can never change someone’s attitude. Make sure the people you hire fit your culture and long-term vision for the organisation. At 4zero, we believe that mission and value alignment are essential for successfully recruiting and retaining talent. When employees feel connected to your mission and your values, they feel inspired to contribute their best efforts. We are pioneering a new approach to sourcing talent that focuses on identifying and aligning value drivers overlooked by traditional methods. By aligning people and companies based on shared values and drivers, we leverage the power of purpose and engagement to help companies hire better, create phenomenal cultures, be more profitable and become stronger businesses. 
  • Use blended methods of learning for culture training
    As headcount increases, it’s natural to invest more resources into employee training. Usually, in-person workshops are offered as the ideal solution to help employees learn culture-related skills. While in-person training has strong benefits, it can also be very difficult to scale quickly. Employee training should match the speed at which the team is growing. To do this, use blended learning programs, which combine both online and offline delivery formats to scale learning. This can be anything from web-based seminars to self-paced offline learning.
  • Keep employees interested
    The best way to keep your team effective and motivated is to keep them interested in their work. People who connect with a project work harder, faster, and better - they believe in what they are doing. It’s easy for an employee to get stuck in a routine which ultimately leads to lower productivity and disinterest. Help your employees develop, and allow them to grow in their position.
  • Ensure management are reinforcing target behaviours
    Managers are crucial at times of hypergrowth. Employees look to their managers for direction and approval, especially during times of change. In the dizzying times of hypergrowth, it’s easy for managers to forget that they have a powerful behaviour shaping tool at their disposal: recognition. Highly personalised recognition is vital in enforcing desired behaviours, studies show. Remind all managers to use this tool continuously because recognition can be frequent, immediate and personalised whilst resulting in strong, lasting impact.

Clear values and a good hiring process combined are critical for an early stage business, as your core team and will undoubtedly have a significant impact on your culture. Hypergrowth comes with its fair share of challenges, especially when it comes to maintaining culture. But it’s not impossible to preserve culture during rapid growth.

If you’d like to hear how we can give you the edge in the hunt for the talent that can help define and set the pace for your work culture, please get in touch with a member of the team today:

UK & Europe: +44208 089 8300
US: +1(929) 566 2860

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