Creating the Right Office Culture

Michael Feig | Capital Logistics

When a company experiences a period of accelerated growth, there are many challenges to overcome. A major issue is maintaining your organization’s culture during this growth phase. Yet, during times of rapid growth, the internal health of the organization is forgotten. Often times, the organization is so focused on properly servicing their customers, they often forget to take care of their own team during the scaling process.

This lack of focus on your own team and culture will end up causing disruptions in your customer service. This can ultimately sabotage the robust growth the organization is experiencing.

At Capital Logistics, we work diligently every day to maintain a positive, sustainable culture. We view our culture as the foundation for all we do, our identity. It is who we are. Therefore, for our leadership, there is no excuse for not working on and driving forward our culture.

One of the biggest challenges we all face is communicating within a larger team. What was once easily conveyed to a small group is no longer such an easy task. This creates an enormous challenge as you more than likely want to maintain the methodology and processes that got your organization where it is today. However, using those methods may no longer be possible with a larger team. This is why it is so difficult for an organization to maintain its identity during these periods of growth.

Here are five ideas to help you as you face these challenges. Every organization is different, yet applying the techniques discussed below can help regardless of your organization’s particular culture.

Promote from Within

Promoting high-performing employees helps motivate and focus your team members. It is exciting to know there is upward mobility if you have earned it. It also avoids having an abrupt shift in the dynamic of one of the departments of your company. If you bring in an outsider, they may attempt to instill a value system that is not in line with yours. This will, in all likelihood, have a negative impact. It takes a great deal of time and effort to shape and build this positive environment, but in the wrong hands, it can turn bad quickly.

Hire the Right Fit for Your Company, Not the Job

Creating the right culture starts immediately when hiring a new team member. We are of the belief you need to hire the right fit, first and foremost. Regardless of the talent or experience, if they don’t fit into your organization culturally it is all meaningless. Toxic team members cause major problems. It is important not to lose sight of this when hiring. Do not be tempted to “fill the role” at the expense of the greater good of the entire organization. In fact, it is easier to find the right role for the right person. It is much harder to undo the harm a toxic player has done to the office atmosphere.

Creating the right culture starts immediately when hiring a new team member. We are of the belief you need to hire the right fit, first and foremost. Regardless of the talent or experience, if they don’t fit into your organization culturally it is all meaningless.

The Little Things Make a Big Difference

Companies should have some traditions and events that are a part of the fabric of who they are. Whether it is holiday parties, milestone celebrations or birthdays, these events and traditions are a key component of creating an encouraging culture. If you honored everyone’s birthday with a cake in the office when you had 10 people, do NOT stop doing so because you have 40 or 50 employees. Those little things go a long way in creating an inviting environment. At Capital Logistics, we spend a great deal of time making sure our office still has the feel of a tight-knit family. This is even more important the more we grow. As a leader, it is your duty to make sure your team is maintaining these traditions, regardless of how big the company gets.

Let Go

You must trust your management team. If they are homegrown and promoted from within, they should already be well versed in your company’s culture. The reason you have promoted them to a leadership role is because they have succeeded in prior roles. If you are going to give them a leadership role, let them lead. Let them instill the values in newer team members that you’ve all worked so hard to build.

Listen First

Always keep an open-door policy with your team, and this is more important as you grow in size. Every member of your team, regardless of their role or title, has a unique perspective that can add value to the organization. If you miss out on listening to their thoughts, visions and ideas, then you could be missing some of the most important data you can gather. We have found that our best ideas and processes have come from within.

A healthy culture takes a wealth of resources to build and maintain. It is critical for the leadership to be working on and instilling this culture in your team, all day, every day. Your culture is a large part of who you are and how successful you have become. Therefore, you should take care to never forget it, especially during a time of rapid
scale change.      

Michael Feig is the COO of Capital Logistics, a non-asset based third-party logistics firm located in White Plains, NY. He may be reached at [email protected] or 914-202-4979.

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