How Company Values Protect Culture in Times of Growth

Sharlyn Lauby  

Blog - Sharlyn Lauby - February 1, 2017

How Company Values Protect Culture in Times of Growth

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A common theme during the 2016 Great Place to Work Small and Medium Business Conference was managing growth. Not just growth in terms of products, services, and customers. But growth in terms of employees and morale.

The key to successful growth is organizational values. Great places to work are built on values and how they are defined. They come to life when they are being lived and breathed in the organization. Organizations must figure out how to grow and, at the same time, maintain their values.

4 Business Activities that Impact Business Growth

The answer to this question would be easy if organizations were stable and never changed. But they’re changing all the time. Michael C. Bush, Chief Executive Officer at Great Place to Work, says there are four actions that have a major impact on company culture. You’ll notice that they do have a direct or indirect relationship with business growth:

  • CEO leaving or transitioning
  • Organizational merger and acquisition
  • Rapid growth within the company
  • Employee layoffs

Michael added that organizations need to be concerned when faced with major change. “Our research shows that cultures are vulnerable during periods of tremendous change. It can weaken organizational culture - first around fairness, then credibility, and finally respect.” And we all know that once respect is lost, it’s very difficult to recover.

Before being faced with challenges, organizations should ask themselves, “What kind of culture do we have?” and “As we grow, what kind of culture are we moving toward?” There needs to be a clear line of sight between the two. 

It totally makes sense that company culture will evolve as the organization grows. That doesn’t mean organizations can’t continue to have terrific relationships with their employees. It is possible to discuss fiscal responsibility and innovative opportunities while the business expands. The key is building a culture based on trust and transparency.

Organizations that want to excel in today’s competitive business environment must build cultures based on their values. They need to live those values and protect them as the business grows. That doesn’t mean that telling employees about the challenges associated with growing the organization is bad. It’s truth. Employees respect the truth. Letting employees know that the company’s values will not be compromised as the business expands is the ultimate demonstration of transparency.

Sharlyn Lauby
Sharlyn Lauby

Sharlyn Lauby is an author, writer, speaker and consultant. She has been named a Top HR Digital Influencer and is best-known for her work on  HR Bartender, a friendly place to talk about workplace issues. Sharlyn recently published her second book, Manager Onboarding: 5 Steps for Setting New Leaders Up for Success. And her personal goal in life is to find the best cheeseburger on the planet.