Culture is one of the most vaunted buzzwords in the startup ecosystem today. It has been hailed as the single greatest thing that sets new age businesses apart from their soulless counterparts – the multinational national corporations. And many startups do boast of a phenomenal culture that motivates and inspires their employees to give it their all at work day in day out. However, this culture, which is built around the core values of the company's founders, is difficult to maintain as the company grows and starts recruiting more employees. It's easy to inculcate a common set of values and ethics when only 10 or 20 people are in the team. But as a company starts scaling up and the number of employees crosses the triple digit mark, differences are bound to arise. And unless these differences are sorted out with haste, the delicate ecosystem in the office will be thrown into jeopardy and the company's culture will soon deteriorate. There are a few strategies companies can employ to make sure that this doesn't happen to them and four of the most important ones are listed here:
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Companies should always strive to hire those people who are a natural fit to the prevalent culture. No matter how impressive their resume is or how well the interview went, never hire a person whom you know won't gel with the rest of the employees. A single recruit who's a cultural mismatch can throw the entire work environment into imbalance. This standard may be hard to maintain as a company is scaling up and requires more hires, but it remains crucial nonetheless.
Informing new employees about what is expected of them in the company is easy when they're among the first few hires, but it gets considerably harder when they're the 100th recruit. Companies should maintain a detailed onboarding process wherein the leaders make sure that new employees are introduced to the rest of the team and are brought up to speed about how things are done in the office.
Open communication is an important part of maintaining a company's culture. There should be two-way communication channels between the executives and the employees which allows the exchange of feedback and suggestions. This allows new recruits to feel more included and will boost their interest in working at a new company. Also, the early employees should make an active effort to instil their company's culture in the new recruits.
A company with a good culture is one where its employees look forward to coming to work every day. This involves identifying their problems and actively working towards finding a solution. The leadership should also make sure that their employees are being recognised and appreciated for their work. A company's culture can only be maintained if every single employee has a high morale and enjoys working there.
The onus of maintaining a company's culture doesn't lie solely on the leadership and executives, but on every single person employed there. An alignment of the company's vision, from the leaders to the newest employees, is vital if a company's culture is to survive the tumultuous process of scaling up.