As your startup grows, inevitably things change as you hire additional staff and take new directions. Work at keeping your small business culture intact to continue reaping the benefits it brings, such as cohesiveness, higher employee morale, and flexibility.
Lead by Example
As the business owner, you have considerable influence over the way things get done at your company. Consider designing an induction package for your new employees that reinforces your business beliefs and values. For example, if your small company believes strongly in innovation, you could provide an exercise that encourages creative thinking. In team meetings, reiterate your founding principles, and consider introducing an incentive program that rewards employees who consistently exhibit traits that your business values; this reinforces key aspects of your culture.
Hold Company Events
Try to organize events to help keep a small business culture thriving. Rallying your team together to participate in an event builds camaraderie and encourages communication at a more personal level. For instance, if you own an accounting business, you could organize a family softball day. Order some caps and T-shirts with your company name printed on them to add a feeling of cohesion. Use novelty days during the year to organize themed office parties. For instance, you could have a Halloween party for your staff each year, and award a prize for the best costume to create some fun among your team. Your reserved employees may feel more comfortable approaching you at events that take place outside an office environment.
As your business grows, you may increase the layers of management; this could result in less communication with lower-level employees as they no longer directly report to you. Let your staff know you are always approachable and happy to address their concerns. Actions speak louder than words; show you remain approachable by scheduling regular meetings with your team. For example, you could organize a weekly catch-up in the boardroom where each employee is encouraged to raise a concern. If you have opened multiple offices, remain accessible to your staff by conducting virtual meetings via a video conference call.
Include Your Team in Decision Making
Keep a close-knit culture by involving your team in the decision-making process. Employees are more likely to feel a connection with your business if they feel their ideas are valued and make a difference. Consider delegating decision making in areas where your staff has expertise. For instance, if you operate an online store, you could transfer the decision of selecting a supplier to your marketing manager who has extensive experience as a professional buyer. A simple, yet effective way to show your team you respect its ideas is to have a suggestion box; ask every employee to make at least one recommendation a month. Keeping your startup culture brings numerous benefits to your business as it grows. You can help preserve your startup culture by leading from the top, holding team events, remaining approachable, and involving your employees in the decision-making process.