How To Maintain Company Culture During Business Growth

maintain company culture during business growth marketing masterminds

Startup company culture is a unique mindset that is coveted and emulated by businesses around the world. It’s the lifeblood of a company defined by core values such as transparency, openness and high risk-taking turned into innovation. What sets smaller startups apart from big corporations is not just their size, but the focus on an organic team structure and creative problem-solving rather than a rigid hierarchy. This is the case for any business whether they are in marketing, tech or even retail. 

In the beginning, startups come with no set identity, no legacy or predetermined understanding of what the company should be. Airtame started as a 5-man mission in 2014. Since then, we’ve grown both in manpower and capacity. We are now over 75 people across several offices in different countries, we employ people from all nationalities and backgrounds, and in all of that, we try to maintain the mindset we started out with. 

We’re acutely aware that some of the adaptability gets lost if the company culture isn’t built to withstand the transition from small startup to scale-up and beyond. In essence, we should never forget where we came from to stay on the right path. That’s why we keep these core values in mind as we go forward. 

Care Deeply For The People You Bring Onboard 

The cultural fit is and will always be the defining factor when bringing new people onboard. We would rather cultivate a particular set of skills than try to establish the right, cultural fit after employment. But recruitment is one thing, maintaining and developing talents is another. We’ve developed a rigorous onboarding process that ensures all employees are aligned around a unified set of goals and company values. 

New employees are encouraged to draft out their job descriptions and tasks involved for the job, and that creates a certain sense of autonomy from the very beginning. Part of our on-boarding process includes mandatory customer success training as well as a thorough technical walk-through of the product. It ensures a general understanding of where we come from, the challenges that lie ahead and what we should focus on to reach our goals. But besides a practical upside, it helps employees understand other areas of expertise and knowledge they may then apply or rely on. Should their knowledge not suffice, team members know that there are other employees ready to aid them. 

Over-Invest In Relationships 

What does “over-invest in relationships” mean? In short, it means that Airtame cares. You often hear that startups see themselves as “one big family”. We aren’t that. We consider ourselves a sports team. The best sports teams in the world have warmth between them, but focus on performance and winning together. Families fight. We don’t have time for that

Having well-established relationships with the team allows for better relationship-building with customers. Every employee is encouraged to take time out and chat with customers that might be having troubleshooting issues, or potential customers that want to figure out if Airtame is right for them. We wouldn’t be able to do this so effectively if it weren’t for the open and supportive approach we build our internal team on. 

Focus On Outcome And Not Time Spent 

Top talent won’t stay for long if working conditions aren’t to their liking. We offer fluid work hours and remote working opportunities, and we set aside time for hobby projects. Overall, we spent a lot of time and engagement on socializing. We host hackathons once per quarter and encourage time spent on other things not company-related. We also arrange a workathon every year in a different (preferably sunny) location for a change of scenery and the chance to bring everyone together. 

We currently have people permanently located and moving to offices in 8 countries all over the world. The different time zones and perspectives help drive our global focus and keep us on our toes with development work. 

To optimize our working environment, we are in the process of reconsidering our whole employee package and ask upon the wider team for input on what we can do to better their experience working at Airtame, and continued employee loyalty. 

Be Ambitious Without Sacrificing The Culture 

We want to maximize growth and expand our brand, but only as long as our culture can withstand it. The obvious objective for us is to continue to sell more Airtame solutions, but for us, success is not only measured by the number of products sold. We set aggressive growth goals, but only if we can use it to drive employees. 

Last year, we doubled our revenue, and our strategy for 2021 and 2022 is to do the same. It will be tough to accomplish, but that sets the bar high for our ambitions and keeps the team motivated. We never lose sight of the cultural fit to keep churn rate low and ensure that the strong company culture is still able to absorb new team members. 

There is no correct answer to how fast-scaling startups stay nimble and agile, while staying true to their roots. We find that staying open to change, and helping shape it, keeps us prepared for the many challenges ahead.

I hope you enjoyed this article about how to maintain company culture during times of rapid lean startup growth and expansion.

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