Maintaining Your Culture as You Grow

maintain culture growthAs you should know by now, I’m a firm believer in the power of a strong corporate culture. One of the sessions I looked forward to the most before I arrived at SHRM was the “Maintaining Your Culture As You Grow” session. I picked up some great ideas and wanted to share them here. If you are interested in more content like this, I have another post rattling around in my brain that I can write on the topic…

Some takeaways

  • Don’t let people tell you that you have to change everything as you scale up. Yes, you might have to make some changes, but they should be operationally, not at the core of what your company believes in. You might have to change processes or procedures that used to work flawlessly. Bottom line: what got you here won’t necessarily get you to where you want to be.
  • Springboarding off of that concept, there are times when it becomes necessary to remove long-time employees simply because they are unable to grow and scale with the organization. It’s painful. It’s unpleasant. But it has to be done or they’ll remain a weak link in the growth structure. The process for removing the person is simple (not easy!): respectfully acknowledge their significant contributions and then kindly and gently help them leave. That’s it.
  • Give hiring managers final say in all hiring decisions. Everyone on the interview team can vote, but when the hiring manager makes the call, everyone else needs to get on board with the decision immediately. No hemming, hawing, or “that’s not who I wanted.” Either give them your support or leave. Many companies rot from the inside out when too much finger-pointing becomes the common culture vs. organizational excellence.
  • Have your interview team members reach out to the new hire before their start date with encouraging comments and helpful tips. Many of us wait until day 1 to help them build those connections, but the sooner they start getting comfortable, the faster they will be productive employees.
  • One concept I’m not sure I really like, but I think it’s intriguing: only do performance evaluations on your highest performers. It’s a burdensome process otherwise, so make sure you get the most bang for your buck by only evaluating the best people. Make your strengths stronger instead of focusing on your weaknesses. [Again, not sure I like this, but worth discussing. My issue is that it’s a demotivator for employees who want to be great but don’t have enough coaching or communication to do well. This is going to further deepen those rifts until the potentially great B players walk out the door.]

I have other notes, but as I went through them I realized I already have started writing other blog posts about the specific bullet points. I have some good ideas here and hope to actually do a training session with some of our team to help them understand the implications for maintaining culture for the long haul.

What questions do you have surrounding culture or growth? What would you like me to cover in the future?

One thought on “Maintaining Your Culture as You Grow

  1. Cari

    The third bullet is really interesting: “Give hiring managers final say in all hiring decisions.” Of course they should have final say! If not, what exactly are you paying them for? Too often, I’ve seen hiring decisions devolve into popularity contests, when the hiring manager–who isn’t as influenced by personality, because he/she won’t work closely with the candidate–wanted to hire based on actual qualifications. I’d like to see more on that topic.

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