Article | Employers

The Impact of Company Growth on Culture

When companies grow, it's important to celebrate new opportunities.

Typically, most companies start out with just a handful of people. Everyone knows everyone else, usually quite intimately. These small enterprises don’t have a rigid structure. They are flexible, agile and possess a flatter hierarchy than bigger firms. This leads to a very intimate and personal culture that’s acknowledged and understood by everyone that works there.

As companies grow, inevitably this leads to cultural change. The personal element begins to become fade, especially as newcomers join the organisation with different values and mind-sets. At the same time, you may see some original personnel leave and move on.

As businesses evolve, so too does company culture

The beliefs, values and behaviours that make up company culture are situational. The culture of any company, while shaped by its founding members, evolves in response to the history and development of the company and is also sculpted by the challenges it meets along the way.

You certainly can’t run a company of five people the same way as you run a company of 100, and this directly impacts on culture. Whereas you can change the way you work at a moment’s notice in the small firm, there’s too many other parties involved in a big company to do that without causing issues elsewhere.

The importance of talent management as your venture grows

Certainly, the more people you add to a firm, the more difficult it becomes to manage. The organisation and the hierarchy becomes more complex. That’s why, as a company expands and prepares to take on new employees, it can useful, if not essential, to carry out periodic talent management reviews in order to reassess and recalibrate work roles and responsibilities. By doing so, you’re able accurately define what workers are needed where and why. You also get the opportunity to make best use of the people available to you now in this new phase of the company’s development.

Keeping core company values…

Of course, most business owners don’t want to lose all the spirit and values of the company they put so much effort into founding. These entrepreneurs will have invested time, money and effort into defining and creating a culture they’re happy with. They will want to keep the core values at the centre of that vision intact.

That’s something we can help with at Eximium. We have years of experience in helping companies scale their human resources, yet still retain the fundamental values that exist at the centre of company culture. To begin with, it’s important to hire people who share those values. This can be done by revisiting the company mission and reinforcing those important values at each stage of the recruitment process. Be transparent and recommunicate those values to existing employees too. Provide feedback channels so they can offer input too.

Ensure the new environment reflects the firm’s culture and that company traditions – a great tool for unifying staff – continue.

…while adding new ones

At the same time, expanding the business should also be seen as an opportunity for company culture. Bringing new people in can bring new vibrancy, enriching your culture and making it more diverse, so it’s important not to try to hold onto every element of your old culture. As companies grow, inevitably this leads to cultural change. Of course, there will be key elements you want to keep. You’ll want to stay true to your brand, your history and your values. The way you express them may change, but these can and should remain intact. After all, you’re looking to grow your company, not create a new one.

When companies grow, they change, but it should be viewed as positive change and celebrated as a real opportunity. It’s a chance to be creative, innovative and to re-invest in your people and your vision.

Start by getting in touch with Eximium for a talent management review before taking your business to the next stage of its growth.

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