How to Grow Your Workforce without Sacrificing Your Culture

How to Grow Your Workforce without Sacrificing Your Culture
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Is Sacrificing Your Culture an Option?
Recently, a CEO asked me, “How can we grow our workforce without sacrificing our Culture?”  For any leader, the risk of sacrificing your culture is real.  If your strategic success depends on growing your workforce fast, the good news is that you do not have to sacrifice your culture on the altar of speed.

Strategic Clarity Comes First
In our twenty-five years of culture change and change management consulting we have learned that a clear business strategy must come first. In fact, our organizational alignment research found that strategic clarity accounts for 31% of the difference between high and low performing organizations.  But your workforce growth strategy will likely not survive or succeed if you do not have your talent and your corporate culture aligned with your overall talent management plan for the future.

Strategy Must Go Through Culture and People
Why?  Because a strategy, any strategy, must go through your culture and your people to get successfully executed.  And when it comes to strategy execution, typically that means changing the way you recruit and hire when your workforce needs to grow fast to make sure you are not sacrificing your culture.

Hiring for Your Desired Culture
Let’s say you have thoughtfully crafted and communicated your growth strategy. It involves adding a lot more people across the organization.  And you know the behavioral competencies that make sense for your desired future. Now is when you must not only articulate your desired workplace culture but also hire directly for it.

Three Areas to Reduce the Risk of Sacrificing Your Culture
To reduce the risk of sacrificing your culture, make sure that you:

  1. Know What High Performers Value Most
    Know what your current high performing employees value most about the way your organization operates.  Is your environment more structured or informal?  Hierarchical or flat?  Team- or individual-oriented?  Traditional or innovative?

    Clearly define what makes your corporate culture tick in terms of what keeps your employees happy and engaged in their work in a way that will move your business strategy forward.  Do not underestimate this step.

    Culture accounts for 40% of the difference between high and low performing organizations and companies who align their culture with their strategy report 286% more value to stakeholders and have employees that are 2-4 times more productive.

  2. Agree Upon the Core Values that You Want to Hire
    For instance, will high performing employees be more content working on their own or as part of a collaborative team? Don’t hire a lone wolf if you need them to cooperate with team mates to get the job done.

    To get this right, dig beneath the corporate slogans and posters by identifying what corporate values matter most in terms of Being – “how things get done” and Doing – “the expected results”.

    Then do what it takes to attract, hire, develop, engage and retain people who match.  Unfortunately, too many companies are not clear enough about where they want employees to be  in terms of “doing it the right way” versus “delivering results.”  What makes sense to best execute your strategy?

  3. Create a Plan to Stay in Touch with Employees
    Change is hard for many people. Stay connected. Reach out often to know what they are thinking and feeling so you can handle any issues that arise before they become overwhelming.  Create easy paths for a two-way dialogue of open and honest communication.

The Bottom Line
Sacrificing your culture should not be an option when you seek to grow or change direction.  Follow these three tips to keep what matters most so that you can grow gracefully in a way that makes sense for all.

Want to learn more about changing or protecting you corporate culture?  Download The 4 Do’s and 3 Don’ts of Culture Change Now

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