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Often, the smaller your business, the more interconnected your staff and team members are. One of the selling points for working at a smaller company for many people is that smaller companies tend to have more close-knit cultures. When there’s just five or 10 people working for a business, it’s easy for people to feel as though they are working with friends or family, not just with a group of colleagues.

But as a business grows, it’s common for some of that culture to wear off.  It’s easy to schedule a weekly breakfast for a team of five, but much more difficult to do so for a team of 50, especially when some of those team members work remotely or work in an office in another city or state.

Your business doesn’t have to lose its culture as it grows, though. There are a few ways you can work to maintain a feeling of camaraderie and a sense that you’re all working towards the same goal, whether your business has one location or several, a team of 10 or a team of 200.

Commit to Team-Building Programs

One way to keep your company culture even as you add new employees and open new locations is to keep the focus on building and maintaining teams and to keep the focus on recognizing the contributions people make to your company. You can start an employee of the month program or give out rewards to employees who hit certain quotas or who go above and beyond for a particular quarter.

Another option is to have an employee recommendation program. With this type of program, co-workers are encouraged to nominate a member of their team who’s done something particularly great or a co-worker who’s always ready to help out. Implementing a program that encourages others to see the good in their team members and that encourages people to work hard to help their colleagues will help your business maintain its culture, no matter how many people you have on staff.

Make Smart Hiring Decisions

When companies are just starting out, it’s common for the people doing the hiring to look at a candidate’s fit with the culture of the company more than his or her skill set. Skills matter, but many business owners recognize that you can always train someone or teach skills. You can’t really teach someone to fit in.

As businesses grow, that focus on fit and culture tends to fall away during hiring decisions, which can create some stress among co-workers. A new employee might be great doing the work, but might have a management style or approach to work that rubs other team members the wrong way.

Although you do want to have top-level, talented employees as your business grows, don’t sacrifice fit for skill set. Use the same criteria for hiring that you did when your company had just a handful of employees.

Establish and Maintain Traditions

Just because your company has gone from a team of five to a team of 50 doesn’t mean you can maintain traditions or participate in team-building exercises together. While it’s harder to get a group of 50 in a room all at once than a group of five, it can be done.

There are a few ways you can establish company-wide traditions to help your business maintain its culture. If your team regularly ate lunch together when there were just five of you, keep the employee lunch, but have it be more flexible. For example, you can have a group lunch every Thursday in one of your conference rooms. Don’t make attendance mandatory, but invite everyone and let them know that the invitation is open. If someone can’t make it one week, they can always try again the next.

Listen to Your Team

One last way to keep your company culture as your business grows: Keep an open door policy between executives and other employees. Few people want to work for a faceless boss or want to feel that their needs aren’t being met or that their concerns aren’t listened to. Invite your employees to schedule meetings with you to discuss concerns. You can also have an anonymous feedback box, for people who want to share concerns confidentially.

Do you want more advice or guidance to help your business as it grows? New Direction Capital offers virtual CFO services and strategic planning to help your company. To learn more, contact us today.

Image courtesy of Ambro at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

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