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Maintaining culture through high growth - Celebrating 200 Employees!

1 March 2021
Overview

In summary, know what defines your company, let your people run your business, know where you’re heading and act quickly when you get derailed.

So, here we are - 200 employees and growing! As any fast growing company will tell you we’ve been through our ups and downs; 

  • Strategic shift? Done.
  • Wrong hires? Been there.
  • Global pandemic? Check.
  • But fun filled celebrations? Always.

There’s one thing that we’ve never let waiver; our culture.

It’s a debatable point, right? Those of us who have seen companies through significant growth might be used to hearing “It’s not like the old days” or the dreaded “we’re becoming too corporate”. It’s unavoidable, an inalienable truth;  As companies grow they need more structure in order to be fair and compliant. But the “why” isn’t always clearly explained, and change can be scary for a lot of people. So, yes - As companies grow they do have more processes, but let me be clear on this one; process isn’t culture.

So here are my thoughts on how to maintain culture as a fast growing business; 

Define who you are

One thing that people do wrong when they’re defining their culture is that they think about what they want to be. Whilst it’s right to have ambitions and goals, something for us to all aim towards, it’s a clearly different thought process. So, before you grab a few employees, create a focus group to define your values, jot down “Innovative. Collaborative. Authentic.” and then write them on a wall to remind everyone to live by them. Why not flip it? Why not ask; what have we been doing that has got us to where we are? 

We started our journey of defining who we are on a beach in Malaga, on a company-wide trip. With everyones’ words about the company collected, we condensed it down to key themes. From the key themes we found the ones that really got us to where we are today. So, because these values came from our people and are built into how we work we don’t need to put them on a wall or remind ourselves to do them. It’s already who we are. 

You can read our values here

Maintain the entrepreneurial spirit

Ask anyone who has worked in a smaller organisation (and enjoyed it…) - What is the one thing people love about working in a place like this? Time and time again you’ll hear the answer; “I can have an impact”. These places attract people who want to be heard, be given responsibility, be held accountable. Budding entrepreneurs who want to feel like they are part of building a business. Your success is their success. 

So, let it happen. 

To do that, you’ll have to give your people the information they need to make smart decisions. We let people know where we want to go and how we’re doing on that journey. We give transparent monthly financial updates to all of our employees. And we encourage feedback and let people be heard. Our leadership team leave their (metaphorical) doors open for discussion. We let people “crack on”. 

Care about employee engagement

But really, actually care about it. It’s not about having the team with the best score. It’s not about justifying why your score has dropped. And it definitely isn’t about working out who entered low scores.

Employee engagement scores - especially when layered against other company data - will tell you how your people feel about strategic changes, new ways of working, changes in the leadership team... maybe your employees are seeing something that you’re not? 

Firstly, design an engagement survey that fits you. Engagement and culture are different, I won’t get into that here. But we designed our engagement survey to also check that our values are being held up across the business, and we find that when they aren’t it slows us down. So when our engagement scores drop after a significant change, we act fast. 

Acting fast doesn’t mean that we go back on our decisions though. Sometimes it means that we haven’t communicated a change well enough. Other times it means that we haven’t seen an issue that it causes for a small number of people. But there’s always a solution. 

Simple, eh?

So, want to help us make it to 300 people? Our fabulous talent acquisition team know what’s what. Chat to them at careers@cts.co.  

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