How do you preserve culture at a growing company? According to Reed Hastings, CEO of Netflix, the answer is simple: You don’t. At Netflix, Hastings says, “We encourage employees to figure out how to improve the culture, not how to preserve it.” Of course, that’s easier said than done. At a growing company, there are more personalities than before, people are likely no longer all in the same building, and the company itself may have a different overall mission than it did years ago. But, if you adopt a mindset of empowerment and an expectation that everyone is responsible for driving a healthy team culture, it has the potential to grow and evolve with your company.
What worked yesterday probably won’t work today.
Companies with the best cultures recognize that culture is ever-evolving and fluid. Especially for growing organizations, the culture that worked for a company of 10 employees won’t be—and shouldn’t be—identical to that same company culture at 100 employees.
While it does at times become more difficult to ensure everyone feels involved, especially as more workers become remote, incorporating everyone’s fresh ideas and perspectives will positively impact the culture. To do that, you first have to ask for them.
Acknowledge when your culture has room to grow.
Sometimes the hardest part about creating a healthy team culture is first acknowledging when it has room to improve.
About a year ago at SiteHawk, we used the word “culture” loosely. We wanted a healthy team culture and a great work environment, but what exactly did that mean? Without a clear definition of how we viewed our ideal team culture, how could we possibly all demonstrate that culture?
We recognized it was imperative to define the type of culture we wanted, and as a result, we created a cross-departmental team with a mission to define culture at SiteHawk. Over the next several months, the team created our company values, ensuring they truly represented who we were as a company.
We also knew that these values would be meaningless if we didn’t celebrate employees who brought them to life, so our DevOps Solution Architect, Moe Abualrob, created the Recognize app, where employees can thank others for showcasing our values.
Finally, we used input from the entire company to create an all-inclusive document outlining who we are and what makes our culture different: The SiteHawk SDS. The time-stamped Revision Date at the bottom indicates that we recognize culture—just like chemical regulations—will change over time, and this document should be updated as we grow.
Culture should be owned by your employees.
After the Being SiteHawk team laid the foundation for culture at SiteHawk, our Culture Committee has taken the reigns for continuing to drive the best possible culture.
Miranda Lee, Data Implementation Analyst, serves on our Culture Committee and says that company culture is “the whole experience you have from the time you clock in till the time you clock out. It is the common principles you aspire toward: attitudes, behaviors, beliefs, purposes, standards, and values. Company culture is ultimately how we treat each other, how people within the company interact with each other and work together.”
The Culture Committee not only coordinates team-building events and giving back to the local Smyrna community; we also have honest discussions about the current state of the culture and where we need to focus. We recognize that culture at SiteHawk is not owned by the committee itself; culture is owned by everyone, and everyone’s voice matters.
Let people run.
Farrah Moore, Data Processing Specialist at SiteHawk, serves on our Culture Committee and feels that a successful culture is based on employee empowerment: “The culture of any company reflects a lot of things such as the company—employees are the “company”—values, their vision, their goals, their ethics, and what they expect from each other. It is vital for the success of a company for everyone to know and feel empowered to contribute their part of the culture. It’s one big picture, and we all fit together.”
One example of this empowerment at SiteHawk is that our Culture Committee reviews our quarterly Employee Engagement Survey and then decides the most appropriate course of action in maintaining or course correcting our culture based on the feedback.
One of our favorite phrases at SiteHawk is “Let people run.” This motto refers back to our commitment to empowerment, exhibiting a growth mindset, and being okay with making mistakes. This idea of empowerment is at the heart of what culture means to us: Employees are empowered to drive culture, challenge one another, and speak up when they have a suggestion for improvement.
In short, empowered employees don’t just preserve the existing company culture; they ensure it grows with the company.