Over the past few years, there has been a marked increase in “hypergrowth” companies across the globe. “Hypergrowth” refers to the steep part of the S-curve, where industries and firms grow at an explosive pace. Human capital also grows dramatically, as employee count steeply rises to support business growth.
While hypergrowth companies face many obstacles, research shows that talent is their primary growth challenge. And one of their biggest talent priorities is how to scale and maintain culture. Culture, or the underlying beliefs and values that shape an organization, can indeed be difficult to manage when a company scales from 10 to 1,000 employees. But it is possible.
Here are a few tips for hypergrowth firms that want to scale their culture to hundreds (or thousands) of employees across the globe:
Define culture in terms of a few clear, observable behaviors. This ensures that everyone is working from the same cultural definitions, and that abstract values can be seen in concrete ways. Thus, employees can more easily learn, measure and reinforce values.
Build an accessible digital library of learning content. Ask yourself: What knowledge, skills and attitudes are needed to produce each behavior? What content could help employees learn these, and how can it be accessible to all?
Use blended learning programs to scale culture training. For hypergrowth companies, blended learning — via electronic and online media as well as traditional face-to-face teaching — expands employee reach dramatically, which is especially helpful if head count is quickly skyrocketing, and lowers training costs over time, which helps preserve valuable resources during rapid growth.
Ensure managers relentlessly reinforce target behaviors. Studies show that highly personalized recognition is crucial in reinforcing desired behaviors. It is especially valuable for hypergrowth firms because it requires little to no resources to execute: It is free, very easy to implement and highly effective in shaping employee behavior.
What’s important is that recognition is immediate, frequent and highly personalized. It takes only a few seconds, but it can make a strong and lasting impact on institutionalizing target behaviors.
Written by Jordana Valencia, who works with startups in Southeast Asia.