When your company is growing fast, it’s a good thing. The other exciting part of a growing company is watching your team grow from around 2 people to over 30 people within a particular time frame. The sad part however is that at the point where you have already hired over 100 people, it is very easy to lose the grip on your company’s startup culture because there are just too many people and you cannot micromanage them to keep the startup mentality. The following 11 tips will show you what to do to maintain a startup culture in a growing company;
1. Arrive early and leave after everyone has left
In big corporations, you realize that the bosses get in late and leave really early, sometimes before anyone has left the office. To maintain a startup culture in your growing company, you need to show the same zeal that you had when you first started. One of the best ways to do that is by coming to work really early, and leaving after everyone has left.
That way, your employees know that no matter how hard they work, there is always somebody working harder and more committed to the job than them. It maintains the hustle mentality that startups usually have. Your employees will never want be late because they know they’ll always find you in the office. Even when they leave earlier than you in the evening, they know that the struggle is still on.
2. Team-building events
Organizing team building events outside the office is a very good way to maintain a startup culture. In huge companies that have lost the startup mojo, team building events are rare. Apart from providing leave days in your startup, organize for events where your employees can get involved outdoors and interact with each other without the constant pressure of deadlines hovering over them.
Encouraging your employees to know each other outside the office creates strong bonds between them. This also enhances communication across the company. When people are communicating well, few things can go wrong. Startups tend to have better interpersonal communication as a result of such outdoor meetups, and you can implement this as your company grows.
3. Praise people who live up to the company’s core values
Each company has its core values. When starting a company, core values are drilled into the employees’ systems and they learn to abide by them. However, once the company is really growing and more people are being added, founders face the added challenge of ensuring that these core values are still driving the company.
To ensure that employees continue to live by the values that are the foundation of your company, it’s important to praise and award the employees who follow the values to the letter. This encourages other employees to stick to the brand principles.
4. Let the office be a source of laughter
The typical journey of most companies is from startups where people used to have a lot of fun together to corporations that become boring, dull and gloomy after a few years. To avoid this, you should continue to fill the offices with laughter because that’s something huge corporations do not have.
As the CEO or the founder, maintaining an uplifting atmosphere at work is one of your top jobs if you want to maintain the startup culture. Laughter keeps employees happy, and you don’t really have to be the one cracking the jokes, just make sure you create the environment that encourages employees to have fun, while still getting the work done.
5. Hire right
In the hiring sessions and interviews, it’s important to watch out for the employees that like to start small and move fast. Those are the type of employees who will drive you to new levels of success. These kinds of employees are not looking to work for a ready-made company, they are looking to grow with the company and will go above and beyond to ensure the company grows.
Some employees are not meant for the startup environment and won’t buy into the startup culture. Hiring these types of employees will do a lot of disservice to your company.
6. Know your employees better
The more a company grows, the more employees are needed to move things forward. Sometimes founders and CEOs find themselves in situations where they don’t know the first names of their employees, let alone anything about their lives.
Startups are the direct opposite. Founders and CEOs always know their employees by name. To make this even better, they go the extra mile to know more about them. Employees love it when the head of a company tries to know them better and it creates an important connection on a personal level.
Maintaining such interest in your employees, even as they increase in number, retains the startup culture. Over time, you will probably have too many employees to get to know each of them. When this happens, you should still strive to know a bit about everyone, even if it’s just their first name. After all, employees who feel seen are more likely to remain with you for a long time.
7. Involve employees in shaping culture
Sometimes the best way to keep a startup culture in a growing company is by involving the employees in shaping that culture. Every month, you can task an employee with ensuring that a certain part of your startup traditions is maintained. By doing this, the culture becomes an intricate part of your employees. Since they helped shape it, they are probably more likely to follow it.
8. Maintain the efficiency of startups (eliminate bottlenecks that slow down work)
Startups are typically very effective in completing work and meeting client demands. Big companies tend to develop bottlenecks and bureaucracies that hinder faster completion of work and service provision.
To keep the startup culture intact when you are growing very fast, you need to eliminate the bottlenecks and any other unnecessary hindrances that slow down service provision and ruin client satisfaction. Startup culture is based on moving swiftly and fast, meeting or superseding clients’ requirements and moving on fast from past mistakes.
9. Continue innovating
Look at a company like Google. It was viewed as a startup for several years because of the startup culture that was cultivated in the firm. The company retained its culture by continuing to be innovative. Even today, while they test the Google Glasses and try out the space balloons and driverless cars, it’s clear that despite being the most valuable company in the world, they continue to create and dream of new things.
The ability to do that is magnificent. That is why your growing company should never stop being innovative and leading the pack.
10. Listen to your employees
Startup founders listen a lot to the employees because they are also just trying to figure things out as they go. When the your company starts growing, you have to fight the assumption that as the head of the company you already know it all. However, the process of learning never ends. As a founder, you need to listen to your employees a lot and talk less. You will discover how many gems they hold within them that could propel your company to the next level.
The mere act of listening to employees develops and grows the startup culture. CEOs to big corporations don’t tend to listen to employees at all.
11. Open various small branches
When the company’s headquarters is growing really fast into a huge company, sometimes opening various branches of the company ensures that at each location the team is small, easily manageable and embodies the startup culture you desire. This might present challenges for you, including a lot of travelling, but it allows your teams at various locations to maintain a startup culture due to the low numbers.
For many entrepreneurs, the winning startup culture is one of the reasons they enjoy running a business so much. While maintaining that culture as your business grows might seem complicated, the above tips should help you build an environment that both you and your employees love.
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