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When companies grow, they cannot always employ the same management strategies that previously guided them. Not adjusting your administrative approach during expansion can result in growing pains. Team dysfunction, inefficiencies and stress are some of the adverse outcomes of failing to recalibrate management style and implementation.
Avoid these growing pains and reap smart business growth with these four strategies for managing a growing team.
1. Nurture Company Culture
Company culture matters. Did you know that the turnover rate for companies with poor culture is nearly 50%? While companies with exceptional culture have a mere 14% turnover rate?
Company culture influences every aspect of business, and when done right, facilitates teamwork. Communicate to employees and new hires what your company stands for via a clear mission and vision statement. Of course, your company's actions need to align with these statements.
For example, if learning is a core value, then be sure to have an employee learning program with features like in-office training and a stipend for continued learning.
Despite having well-defined goals, company culture may be watered down during a period of expansion. Nurture your company culture while managing a growing team by:
● Hire for company culture - keep your company’s values in mind during the hiring process to ensure new employees fit in seamlessly.
● Maintain traditions - favourite activities, like monthly happy hours, can fall by the wayside as a company evolves. Work to keep these routines, which give cohesion to existing employees and help establish culture for new hires.
● Create a mentorship program - match up newbies with seasoned employees so they have a better understanding of how your company operates and the unsaid rules and routines of company workings.
2. Establish Organizational Hierarchies
Many businesses have adopted a flattened company organization in recent years, particularly among smaller businesses. In general, this is a great development. A flattening of company culture helps subordinates feel like their voices are heard, and fosters camaraderie and creativity. However, in larger companies, or as smaller companies grow, this egalitarianism needs to be balanced with clear hierarchies and lines of reporting.
You can strike this balance of showing that employees are valued and heard without the stiffness of a rigid hierarchical system, while fermenting clear organizational processes and rankings. Simply create a hierarchical organizational chart that delineates who employees report to, who makes final decisions, and who takes responsibility for teamwork and outcomes.
An organizational document is necessary when managing a growing team because it makes roles crystal clear. It avoids the potential disorganization and employee resentment that comes with undefined responsibilities and boundaries. Create a counterpoint to your new hierarchical structure by incorporating inclusive culture elements. One simple way to do this is to encourage employee feedback and ideas in team decision-making processes.
3. Create Processes Documents
Be proactive in developing documents regarding process systems and workflows. These documents will ideally be created for separate teams and individual positions. This may be challenging for positions that do not yet exist, but should be straightforward for existing positions. People already working these jobs, and in some cases, their supervisors can help with document creation.
For example, salespeople can create documents that show workflows and outline which applications are used for different aspects of the job. Essentially these documents should create a road map for achieving success at the position.
Finally, these documents should be housed in an easily retrievable location that any team member can reference. In addition to being a starting point for new hires, these process documents of course also serve as a reminder for best practices among all employees. In short, process documents keep everyone on the same page during a period of growth and beyond.
4. Develop a Recognition System
Recognition in the workplace is not just about pleasantries; it has a significant effect on employee morale. Studies indicate that employees who do feel adequately recognized are twice as likely to leave their positions within the year than employees who feel appreciated for their efforts.
It is typically easier to recognize employees in smaller teams given the immediacy in which people work with one another. As a team expands, applauding wins can be more difficult.
Work to put a reward system in place that ensures employees are celebrated for a job well done. It can be as simple as sending out team congratulatory emails, or putting some memento or small gift on a person’s desk. A regular team outing where successes are announced and praised is another effective option. Whichever method you develop, keep it simple so you can perform it consistently, and ensure that it aligns with company culture.
Showing Leadership When Managing a Growing Team
Company expansion and team growth are exciting times for executives and company owners. Make the best of this by showing true leadership. Effective leaders set the example for all staff, influencing and motivating them towards success. Trust in the employees chosen for shepherding and managing a growing team, and as their leader, give them the tools to be successful. Consider outside management or communications training to fill in any skills gaps and check in with them regularly to ensure their and the company’s success.