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The 3-Step Process to Scale Your Company Culture Without Losing All Your Employees

Mismanagement of company culture leads to employee turnover–so think about it intentionally.

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BY Adam Robinson - 06 Apr 2018

PHOTO CREDIT: Getty Images

Lots of companies say they have a great company culture -- but can they scale it? We often hear the number one reason someone leaves a high-growth company is because of how much the culture has changed from when they started.

When you're 30, 50, 100 people -- culture scales naturally. Once you hit 100 employees, you have to start being intentional. Without proper management and maintenance, it will get away from you and it's nearly impossible to get your culture back once it's out of your control.

At my company, we've put in several processes to help us manage our company culture and make sure that it scales with us through our growth. Here are three things you can take to your company to scale your culture:

1. Align on vision.

Once my company hired about 20 people, we started doing monthly town halls to make sure that we had a forum for employees to be updated on major company initiatives and ask questions. As we've grown, these have become a more formal way to make sure we're all aligned on our vision and where the company is headed.

We also host an all-company retreat each year to make sure we have dedicated time to get focused and clear on our goals for the year and why we all come into work every day.

Our employees name these two things as what they love most about our company because these communication cadences offer them transparency into the business. They're excited to go to work every day because they know we're all going somewhere great, together.

2. Reinforce your core values.

Our core values are as critical to our company as our name. We live and breathe those values every single day. They drive our decision-making. They drive how we treat our customers and each other.

We make them real for our employees in a few ways. Every week, for example, during our all-company huddle, our employees will give each other core value shout-outs.

Recently, one employee gave their coworker an "Eager to Improve" shout-out for teaching their team a new skill. The whole company heard and recognized this value being lived in real life. These peer-nominated shout-outs happen every single week and culminate in awards at our all-company retreat for those that receive the most shout-outs throughout the year.

3. Create opportunities for organic interaction.

When we were less than 100 people, every Friday you would find a large group hanging out in the kitchen after work or folks would go out together as a team. As we've gotten larger, we can no longer assume that those events will happen.

To ensure that teams are getting to know one another, we've budgeted $100 each month for departments to use at their discretion -- be it a bowling outing, a dinner, or anything in between. They can use it in whatever manner they see fit to build trust on their team.

When you're a small company, it's easy to know everyone's name and story. As we've grown and our departments have become more specialized, we're reaching across the aisle less often. To help facilitate cross-department trust and communication, we spend a week together as a company in winter and in summer and focus on getting to know one another through cross-functional projects as well as charity events and team activities.

We manage our culture intentionally by putting in processes for communicating our vision, our core values, and creating opportunities for organic interactions. You can, too.