When your business is facing rapid growth, it is easy to become excited and focus on the bigger picture. While all good business advice encourages business owners to look to the future, don’t lose sight of how you got to where you are today — with your current employees.
So, how do you maintain your relationships with current employees and create an open culture as your business grows? Here are five tips.
Develop and maintain traditions
If you have always gone out for after-work drinks on a Friday night, continue to do so. If you don’t feel that you have the budget to pay for everybody’s drink, take them to the local pub or bar and have everyone buy their own drink. What is important is that you continue the laid-back Friday afternoon culture and allow your employees to get to know one another.
The same can be applied to employee achievements and contributions. If you have always recognised and rewarded an employee for their hard work, continue to do so.
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Know how different personalities have different preferences for being recognised and nail it.
You may wish to consider hosting morning teas to publicly congratulate an individual or team for their efforts, their commitment, their high-quality work, the way they are organised in a timely manner, or just because they are wonderful team members and are an asset to the company.
This shows your employees that despite your growth you still have time for the cultural aspects that drew them to the company in the first place.
Keep lines of communication open
As your business grows, you may find yourself implementing middle management and team leaders. This can assist to reduce your amount of direct reports and to keep the company moving forward.
But, be sure to keep lines of communication open.
Not only between yourself and the middle managers, but with all employees. There was a time when even the most junior of staff members could speak with you. Ensure that trust and rapport are not lost by implementing an open-door policy.
Any staff member can drop in and speak with you if your office door is open. This means if it is closed, this is your time to work on projects or more challenging tasks.
Encourage and welcome feedback
This goes hand-in-hand with keeping communication lines open. As you grow, ensure that you and your business operation is kept down to earth and in tune with what is happening in the business. This means allowing positive and negative feedback from all employees. As you grow, employee feedback will give valuable insight into what is working within the company and what is not.
There can sometimes be the temptation to give certain information to select individuals based on their role and pay grade. This might include information on budgets, the implementation of processes and much more. However, for the development of strong company culture, being transparent about new policies and any change that may occur is important for all employees.
Again, remember that some have been with you from the start, and have been privy to certain information in the past. Don’t let the ‘there is no time argument’ suck you in. Any time invested initially will save you a lot of time in the long term.
If you change this, a culture of mistrust may grow and whispers may start to emerge about the information you are not willing to share with everyone.
Transparency builds respect and respect builds engaged employees who will more than likely keep any information private if need be as they value the honesty and openness you have afforded them.
This can relate to transparency. A challenge shared is a challenge halved. Your employee may have problem-solving skills, which are outside of their everyday role, to help you move past any issues. Build their competence and confidence by allowing them to implement skills to assist with problem-solving.
Similarly, as you grow, value the importance of professional development, especially in the communication area. For fast-growing organisations, this may not be achievable outside the workplace, but mentoring with longer-serving employees to newer ones, or even vice-versa, grows the competence of your expanding team.
Acknowledging how things may change as your company grows is the first step in creating an open, resourceful and accountable culture as this will allow you to determine what elements of your culture can remain the same and what may need updating to make way for your growing team.