Company culture at a large scale #1 – The Challenges

company culture

First off, we’re not going to take up too much of your precious time by talking about how important company culture is. You know it, we know it, everyone knows it. The important point is that employees who embrace the culture of their company are often happier, less stressed and more productive.

With job turnover at organisations with a “rich company culture” at only 13.9%, compared to 48.4% at one with a “poor culture”, it pays to embrace culture.

But, knowing it matters doesn’t mean it’s easy to achieve. Just because you’ve paid for an annual subscription to the gym doesn’t make going any easier now, does it?

For larger companies, there are a multitude of challenges that can make achieving that dream company culture harder than running a marathon after not going to the gym all year.

Now, with that gym metaphor officially overused, here’s our look at the challenges facing larger companies and how to start to get over them.

Challenge #1 – “We’re in lots of different places!”

Whether your offices are scattered across the city, the country or the globe, one of the biggest challenges facing larger companies is to have a consistent culture across them all.

But it’s easy, right? “If we make all the offices look the same, then we’re OK.” Perhaps, until you add into the equation a team of remote workers.

A culture isn’t defined by your surroundings, it’s defined by your core values. Take Buffer. Their team embraces remote working better than most, but their culture is one of their priorities. They keep their culture consistent across all their employees by making their “10 values” clear to each of them from day 1.

If they embrace the same values, they embrace the culture, wherever they may be.

Challenge #2 – “We’re too big to agree!”

But what if you don’t really know what your values are? For a startup, founders and founding team members set the values and the cultural tone and establish the processes that keep them in place as the company grows. However, as you grow, it becomes more and more difficult to let your employees have a direct impact on the culture of their own company.

The solution comes through collaboration. Don’t limit yourself to having a small team at the top dictating what culture should be. The founding team should work on what their values are, but culture is something that evolves through collaboration amongst employees all the time.

And trust us, you’re never too big. Even at Google, employees describe it as having “a small-company feel where no one hesitates to “spike a volleyball across the net at a corporate officer”.”

Challenge #3 – “We’re too complex!”

BUT what if your team is so complex, so large, and so varied that creating a company culture just doesn’t seem viable?

Remember, company culture is “a blend of the values, beliefs, taboos, symbols, rituals and myths all companies develop over time”. So, even if you don’t feel like you have a company culture set-in-stone at your company, you do, it just may not be a good one.

It’s not easy, but the only way to introduce a company culture you’re proud of is to work on it. Introduce ways to get your whole team collaborating. Get every employee to feel like they make a difference to the company, not just to the company’s results.

Unfortunately, this is probably the hardest part. But don’t panic, we’ll be back with some seriously handy advice on how to evolve your company culture through collaboration very soon.


If you just can’t wait, whet your appetite with our free ebook that explains the 3 practical steps for employee engagement. Take a look!

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