Your company has come a long way from and the time has come to expand your horizons. There’s a full to-do list: hire new staff, implement new protocols and increase standards.
Most likely, you have a solid core of employees who will stick with you every step of the way — through thick and thin. However, with growth comes change, and change can worry your staff. Moreover, with a growing staff, how can you ensure your new hires are joining the team and integrating into your company culture? It’s a delicate balance, to say the least: too much focus on integration may strain your dedicated core of employees, but a resistance to adapt could keep new team members in the dark.
Below are three tactics for exploring the tricky terrain between old and new while keeping your company's culture intact.
Communication, Communication, Communication
Company culture is typically top-down: key leaders are the ones who set the tone and common practices. With you or your management team holding all the cards and knowing what the company’s future plans are, it’s vital to keep your employees in the loop both before, during and after expansion. Your internal communications strategy is key to peacefully integrating the old with the new — and the less formal the procedure, the better.
Instituting an open door policy along the chain of command is among the best ways that you can help your staff realize that they are part of the team and that their insight is valued. Equally as important is the critical intelligence on staff morale you can cultivate by listening to the men and woman who are in your business's trenches every day.
Be Adaptable and Look for Pain-Points
Let’s face it: we don’t always get things right the first time and it’s embarrassing to admit your mistakes. However, being nimble in your management style and adapting to changing dynamics is pivotal. Practically, the operations your company has in place for 30 employees will, in most cases, not work for a company of 300. No processes are infinitely scalable and managers can be strained as their pool of subordinates grow. Quickly identifying issues, addressing them and reevaluating can save hours of headaches down the line both with HR and business operations.
Have Some Fun!
The integration of new employees into your existing staff is not always organic. Sure, lunch hours may be the prime opportunity for your employees to interact on a more personal level, but sometimes this isn’t enough. Something as simple as a staff happy hour or team barbecue can truly jumpstart the integration process. The idea is to try and have your employees to talk about anything other than work in a setting that isn’t dominated by timelines, deliverables, and quotas. Half the battle of integrating staff is developing positive working relationships internally, not just keeping the corporate trains running on time.
At the end of the day, expansion and growth will impact your corporate culture either positively or negatively. Keeping an open mind and an open door are the best ways to ensure that your staff is well adjusted and productivity stays high.