By YEC CommunityVoice Entrepreneurs
Adding new team members is an important and exciting time for any business. Not only is it indicative of success, but it is also an excellent opportunity to further focus the direction of the company. Hiring new players to the team means that new ideas and backgrounds come along as well — a benefit that can greatly add to a company’s creativity and perspective.
Yet, with new people coming in as a company scales, it can be challenging to maintain a cohesive company culture. To help you scale with ease, eight members of Young Entrepreneur Council share their own experiences.
1. Keep Remote Workers Engaged
We’ve expanded from a team of four to almost 100 in only four years. We try and keep all of our team at HQ as much as we can and have a very limited remote workforce. However, even if you’re a remote worker, you still come to HQ at least once a quarter. We have every meeting on video via Zoom — not just over the phone — so they may be virtual workers, but they are still as face-to-face as it can get. We include remote workers in our weekly company all-hands meetings as well and ensure they can participate in fun office activities, even from afar. – Suneera Madhani, Fattmerchant
2. Create And Maintain Company Traditions
Early on in your company, you may have created company traditions that bring the team together — and if you haven’t created any company traditions, I suggest you do. Having unique company traditions is important to building a great company culture, and it’s important not to lose those little traditions when your company starts to grow.
Whether your company tradition is to not wear shoes at the office, to have a yearly costume contest or to encourage workers to take a nap after lunch, company traditions bring about greater connections with your team members. So make sure new employees know about your company traditions and encourage them to participate. – John Turner, SeedProd LLC
3. Lead By Example
You and your leaders need to set the visual example of your core values all the time. Remind people of them through your own actions. One of our values is team pride. My business partner and I jump in when we’re needed — no matter what the work.
If account directors take maternity or paternity leave, we take their place for those three months. We’ve also instilled our values in our managers so they lead by example, too. When they take a vacation, they are sure to shut completely off. They take all their vacation days. When their kids are sick they work when they can but show their family is the priority. If you have values you’re not living by, how is the rest of your company supposed to? – Kerry Guard, MKG Marketing
4. Choose The Right People And Set Clear Expectations
You need to hire the right people. Anyone that creates drama will not fit within your corporate culture — unless that is your culture. If someone does not fit well, you should terminate quickly, otherwise, team morale can slag as they deal with the ineptitude of employees who are underperforming.
Clear expectations need to be put into place for all new team members. This can start with the mundane, such as when to show up, how to dress, how quickly answers are expected, what to do in situation “X” and so on. This can all be covered in an employee handbook. You should also assign all new hires to a buddy — someone who has been at the company for a while — to teach them the corporate and work ethic that is needed. Otherwise, you will end up with all new people teaching each other. – Peter Boyd, PaperStreet Web Design
5. Remember Your Team Members Have Goals, Too
I have noticed that when I have allowed people to work from all over the world and remotely, it has actually indirectly created a more inclusive culture. People get along well with one another, they get what they need to get the work done and they are self-starters. I like to encourage others to have a side hustle, and this will keep everyone connected.
Also, it doesn’t always have to be about your company and your goals. When you focus on your team members and their personal goals, your company will grow and scale indirectly. This is the strategy that I’ve seen work with many of the startups I have worked with. The CEOs are able to see more of the team members in the joyful state versus the shrug of just being “happy.” – Sweta Patel, Silicon Valley Startup Marketing
6. Set Culture-Driven Performance Indicators
We set key performance indicators (KPIs) per role or a skill all the time. Why leave culture out of the equation? Culture-driven KPIs helped us reduce turnover by over 30%.
As we already have our traits defined, an exemplary scenario helps to assess culture fit over the first weeks. Think of what really matters for your culture. Is it teamwork? Or hard work? Volunteering? Count how many colleagues your new hire has bonded with. Poll them and ask for the added feedback. Or schedule a couple interim reviews with a new hire, asking when was the last time they took care of their volunteering cause. Setting measurable, albeit small, goals for new hires related to your culture will help retain top players without losing committed long-term employees. – Mario Peshev, DevriX
7. Make Onboarding An Immersive Process
We recently added half a dozen folks to our team this summer, which is a big jump for us as we need to keep up with the growth of business. We now have an onboarding process that spans three weeks and includes in-person onboarding for a week with human resources and our head of talent at our headquarters, even for our East Coast team members.
In addition, we have each new team member meet for a lunch, coffee, walk or whatnot with every current team member (which is feasible, as we’re a team of under 50 employees). Culture is built and added to by every individual of an organization; it doesn’t live on a poster or get talked about just by the CEO. The long onboarding, in addition to the individual meetings, helps to showcase this. – Beck Bamberger, BAM Communications
8. Don’t Compromise Your Core Values
As your company grows, it is very easy for quality controls to loosen, particularly around hiring. In the early days, hiring people who fit seamlessly within your company culture is second nature. When you are in growth mode and need to hire more aggressively, you will often have to sacrifice something in considering imperfect candidates.
You must not sacrifice your company culture. The best way to make sure that your company culture stays intact is by only hiring people who will fit in well within your environment. One bad apple can spoil the bunch, and we have had bad experiences hiring people who did not embody our culture. We moved on and learned the hard way just how important it is to put company culture first. – Adam Mendler, Beverly Hills Chairs
As published in http://www.forbes.com