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At our company, culture is the most important part of who we are. We grew more than 300% in headcount last year and plan to double the team this year. As we’ve scaled, we’ve learned some best practices that work in our attempts to preserve our culture as we get bigger.
Here are some of the ways we work to preserve our company culture as we scale our growing team.
It Starts At The Hiring Table
Interviewing job candidates is your first opportunity to determine if they’ll be a good fit for your organization. Our internal motto is “Bring it, Push it, Own it,” so we look for people who will exemplify this in their work.
Our talent team has created an interview where we test for specific behaviors. This is not just a “chat,” but more of test that is structured to look for evidence of how a candidate exemplifies the bring, push and ownership characteristics. For example, we look for a candidate who:
• Is a good communicator
• Is inclusive
• Takes ownership
• Is curious
• Is data-driven
If a strong candidate fails the culture interview, that doesn’t mean they are ruled out. Dig deeper and ask yourself: If they failed, is it because of the leadership at their current company? Can we create an environment for them to succeed?
You want to create an environment where your employees thrive, but you have to make sure the environment doesn’t compromise the culture you are working to build and refine.
Create A Warm Welcome
Everyone wants to feel a warm welcome when they join a new organization. After all, this is where they are spending their time when they’re not with their friends and family.
We strive to connect new hires with each member of the company. For those at our larger offices, we give new team members a box of chocolate to distribute to each team member as they introduce themselves. The chocolate acts as an icebreaker and a nice afternoon snack.
Beyond chocolate, we set up virtual team meetings so new employees can meet with other team members around the globe and ask initial questions. Additionally, new hires at our larger offices are assigned “buddies” on their first day so they have someone to discuss insider office tips, social practices, company culture, the best lunch spots and more.
The more formalized this onboarding process becomes, the more your company team members feel they can make an impact on guiding and welcoming a new team member.
Make Opportunities For Team Activities
We make an effort to schedule fun activities for our teams around the globe. We emphasize activities that break down team barriers and create an opportunity for discussion and reflection of individual personalities and interests.
Our champions of these activities are our regional teams called the “Ministry of Fun.” The goal of the Ministry of Fun is to create events once a month with their regional office. Some of our past events include a hotpot dinner, wine and cheese happy hour and virtual golf competitions.
Events like these bring people together outside of their normal team environment and build cross-functional relationships and a sense of community.
Global Meetings And Learning Opportunities
Across our organization, we practice daily stand-up meetings and regular training sessions. We are in constant discussion about what we are working on, what is happening in the global landscape of regulations and sanctions and where our products fit across the various markets.
Transparency Is A Given
Operating transparently may seem uncomfortable, but it’s an important way to build trust with your team members.
For example, in our company, all briefings and documents are published for the team to access. This is driven from the top down. Our CEO shares everything with our global teams. Innundated with questions about what he was thinking, reading and doing, he created his own Slack channel for the team to peruse. Online or offline, we never feel like we’re left in the dark as far as what’s on his mind and what’s important to him.
Finally, to measure performance, set objectives and key results (OKRs) to help with goal-setting and tracking. Used by Amazon and Google, OKRs help teams understand why certain goals are important and will help move the company forward.
OKRs consist of two parts. First, the objective: Ask what you want to achieve. Second, the key results: List the desired results and outcome when your goal is met. For example, an OKR might look like this:
• Objective: Build and develop a great team.
• Key results: 95% of our team can list our mission and values, 90% engage with our surveys and 85% of respondents state that they are generally happy with the direction of the company.
Building a great team that enhances your company culture as you scale can be difficult. While each company has its own unique culture and activities that support it, this framework can help you continue to grow your culture as you expand across the globe. Try it out for yourself and see if it allows for a consensus in feeling pride, belonging and commitment to the company mission.
May 6, 2019 at 08:18AM
Forbes – Entrepreneurs