10 Signs your scale up is crushing your culture

Introduction: Scaling up a company can bring about exciting growth opportunities and increased success. However, as organizations expand rapidly, it’s crucial to pay attention to the impact on the company’s culture. A scale-up can inadvertently crack or damage the culture that once thrived within the organization. In this blog post, we’ll explore ten signs that your scale-up has negatively affected your company culture.

  1. Loss of Core Values: When a company scales up quickly, there’s a risk of diluting or losing sight of its core values. If employees no longer prioritize or embody these values, it’s a clear sign that the culture has been compromised. https://www.forbes.com/sites/curtsteinhorst/2019/10/17/rethinking-the-value-of-core-values/?sh=37505231a042
  2. Increased Politics and Bureaucracy: As organizations grow, layers of bureaucracy can develop, leading to a rise in office politics. If decision-making becomes convoluted, and employees spend more time navigating internal politics rather than focusing on their work, it indicates a culture shift. https://sloanreview.mit.edu/article/politics-in-the-workplace-how-can-managers-keep-the-peace/
  3. Lack of Communication and Transparency: In a healthy company culture, open communication and transparency are essential. If there is a noticeable decline in the flow of information, frequent miscommunications, or secretive decision-making processes, it suggests that the culture has suffered as a result of scaling up. https://extension.psu.edu/effective-communication-in-the-workplace
  4. Decreased Employee Engagement and Satisfaction – & Higher staff turnover: A positive culture fosters high employee engagement and satisfaction. However, if you observe a decline in enthusiasm, increased employee turnover, or decreased morale, it’s a sign that the scale-up has negatively impacted the working environment. https://kleboejardine.com/employee-turnover-web-calculator/
  5. Decline in Innovation and Creativity: A cracked culture may stifle innovation and creativity within the organization. When employees feel overwhelmed by increased workload or restricted by rigid processes, they may hesitate to propose new ideas or take risks.
  6. Fragmented Teams and Siloed Departments: In a scale-up, teams and departments may become isolated from one another, hindering collaboration and creating silos. If communication and cooperation between teams have deteriorated, it indicates a cultural breakdown.
  7. Resistance to Change: Change is an inevitable part of scaling up, but a damaged culture may result in resistance to change from employees. If there is a prevailing reluctance to embrace new initiatives or adapt to evolving market conditions, it suggests that the culture has been negatively impacted. https://www.forbes.com/sites/forbescoachescouncil/2017/12/11/12-ways-to-overcome-your-resistance-to-change/?sh=74f34a7f5833
  8. Erosion of Trust: Trust is the foundation of a healthy work culture. If trust levels decline, employees may become suspicious or hesitant to rely on their colleagues or leadership. Lack of trust can lead to decreased productivity, increased conflicts, and overall dissatisfaction.
  9. Misalignment of Goals and Priorities: As a company grows, the alignment of goals and priorities can become misaligned. If different departments or teams pursue conflicting objectives, it creates a fragmented culture and hinders collective progress.
  10. Leadership Vacuum: When an organization scales up rapidly, there is a risk of a leadership vacuum. If leaders fail to adapt to the changing needs of the organization or are unable to effectively communicate the company’s vision, it can lead to confusion and a breakdown in the culture. https://www.news24.com/fin24/opinion/opinion-leadership-vacuum-holding-out-for-a-hero-is-part-of-the-problem-20230514

Recognizing the signs that your scale-up has cracked your culture is crucial for addressing and rectifying the issues at hand. By proactively focusing on strengthening your company’s culture during the growth phase, you can ensure that the organization retains its core values and provides a supportive environment for employees to thrive. Remember, a healthy culture is vital for long-term success, and it requires continuous attention and investment.

When you need some help in scaling your business, look no further than Kleboe Jardine. We’re experts in Life Sciences & Tech Scale up. Ewan – ej@kleboejardine.com or 07958 676 202