Growth is often the #1 goal of any business. In the early days of a business, we often measure success by observing the growth trajectory of the employee headcount.
With every new hire a growing business makes, there may be a slight shift in the culture. Added up over time, leaders can often find themselves adrift from the culture they wanted to create.
There may also come a point where too much success can actually become a challenge. Hypergrowth is when a company matures extremely quickly. It struggles to hold onto the ideals and processes that made it successful in the first place.
This is where engagement and culture can be a huge challenge and toxicity can often creep in.
Growing the team
When growing a team, it’s important to put plans into action early, so that as you grow you do so in a healthy way. Adopting this approach ensures that employee engagement isn’t at risk and you are less likely to face the huge challenge that many businesses face, high employee turnover.
Did you know? The average turnover of a medium-sized business in the UK is £20,228,523.
There are huge benefits to having a strong focus on employee engagement from day one - starting with the end in mind. Companies with a highly engaged workforce have 21% higher profitability. They also have 17% higher productivity than companies with a disengaged workforce.
There’s no such thing as a one-size-fits-all employee engagement strategy. All businesses are unique so one strategy may be effective for some but not for others. Find your strategy and adapt it as you grow. Here are a few things to consider when building an engagement strategy for a growing business:
Establish strong core values
Rapid business growth creates rapid change. It’s often difficult for companies to maintain the culture that directed them as a start-up. Every organisation needs a foundation. One that defines what it, and its employee’s value and stand for.
Recognition is a great way to reinforce your values to long-term employees. It also enables you to define them for newcomers. When you recognise employees for their achievements, you’re publicly backing their actions for other employees to see. This encourages the employee to act similarly in the future. It also sets a standard among their co-workers.
We’ve done our own research on recognition and its effects on employee engagement. 70% of our panel strongly agreed that recognition had a positive effect on engagement. Check out the rest of our findings.
Be specific and tell detailed stories of high performance. By displaying what company values look like in action, the more likely they are to be repeated.
Create clear, aligned goals
As an organisation grows, leadership will inevitably need to adjust goals. There will be changes in strategy and new benchmarks based on previous success. Goals are a great way to communicate changes. They ensure all employees are up to date with current initiatives.
All employees should have a clear understanding of how their individual goals and day-to-day work affect the team and organisation. Employees who see their work contributing to larger goals will be driven and engaged. Inspire commitment by setting SMART targets. This empowers individuals to achieve their goals. Encouraging employees to set these goals helps push performance and serves as a motivator for ongoing development.
Encourage growth & change in employees
There can be times when the employees who have been there from the start are affected by the hypergrowth. This can lead to some difficult conversations. To prevent this, ingrain changes into the company. They have to change and evolve along with the company, a process that isn’t always easy. They will become used to a certain standard. Keeping up with adjustments in strategies and goals can be difficult. To make this process easier, support them throughout.
One-on-one meetings can be beneficial to employees struggling with the change of a growing business. Managers should ask employees what they think of the changes and what can be done to help the employee adjust. Companies that give feedback consistently report turnover rates that are 14.9% lower than for employees who receive no feedback.
Feedback allows managers to instruct employees and employees to voice concerns or wins back to managers. It also allows for a more thorough performance evaluation, as managers can’t stay up-to-date on every single employee.
By giving employees goals to shoot for, you set an expectation for what matters to the organisation. As things change over time, the bullseye of employee goals shifts and helps them understand expectations.
Connect leaders and employees
Small companies have little problem communicating ideas from organisational leaders to employees. But that gap expands as more and more employees are added. Leadership will lose its connection with employees. This leaves employees unheard and management without the correct information to step in and help.
Leaders set the tone and shape the culture more than anyone else in a business. Research shows that the reasons people quit jobs are often due to their managers. Making sure that your leaders are engaged with their teams ensures that your business’ culture is a healthy one. You can build a stronger leadership team with employee feedback. It’s a great way of targeting what support your leaders might need. Any teams that might be at risk if they haven’t got strong leadership can be identified as well.
Some types of leadership that might ‘persuade’ talented employees to quit their jobs:
managers who don’t offer feedback
managers who don’t know their employees’ strengths
managers who micromanage
managers who encourage a toxic workplace
managers who are bad at managing.
As your team continues to grow, you may find it useful to introduce an anonymous employee feedback survey. This can provide a safe way for employees to share how they are feeling at that moment in time.
It can be a great way to identify risk and emerging issues in a fast growing team. Done regularly, it creates a clear “voice” for your teams, which we know is a key element of a highly engaged team.
Employee engagement needs to be a critical focus in any workplace, especially those that are undergoing big changes during explosive growth. To see how Ten Space can help, go to www.tenspace.co.uk or email firstname.lastname@example.org and one of our team will be in touch.