Evolving Your Culture To Scale

Written by
Ryan McGrory
August 4, 2022

When your team is small, it’s a little easier to create and maintain the vibe. But, as your business grows, it could be a struggle to scale your culture, and hold-on to the positive dynamic you’ve built as a smaller team.

Have you heard about the 'Two Pizza Rule?'

Growth is an exciting stage - you're becoming more successful and that's awesome. Though, as you grow, you might you start lose that sense of community you had. With more people, there’s more dynamics – new styles and ways of working. Often, communication becomes more complex too. And, it’s harder to share two pizzas!

But, it’s okay. Many businesses have been here before. And, if you’re reading this article – then that’s a good sign. You probably want to do something about it!

So, whilst you’re here, here’s a few strategies to consider that will help you keep that sense of community and grow (not lose) your culture:

1.        Listen to your people

Culture relates to the behaviours, mindsets and social patterns of people. And, you need a great culture and great people to execute a great strategy. So, whether you’re shaping or creating your culture, it’s important to understand your people’s needs – and observe how you can influence and manage a culture that aims for success and takes care of your people.

2.       Figure out what your culture is, and where it’s going

Some businesses have never defined their culture. Without defining it, it’s hard to tell where it’s at, and if it’s going in the right direction. A good place to start is to reflect on what your company culture is, and how it has evolved. And then, think about your ideal or desired culture – and the values and behaviours you’ll need to get you there. This will help you define what you have, and what you want … and give you some awesome ideas to help get you there!

3.       Communicate it

People observe cultural cues (the things that help them understand what the culture is) by interpreting the signs and symbols you have around. In your business it’s likely your policies, procedures, benefits, systems, office/s, etc. Being deliberate in your communications helps your people understand the culture – what it is, and how they can contribute to it. Yes, this prevents misunderstanding and misinterpretation – but, more importantly, it allows people to connect to your culture in the right way … a way that ensures your culture fosters (not festers) with growth.

4.       Find ways to reinforce it

A few sentences on your website won’t cut it. Thinking carefully about the employee experience and lifecycle will help you embed your culture into your key practices – the stages of hiring, onboarding, recognising, promoting, performing, etc. Your culture should be seen, heard and valued everywhere – and employees who feel connected to it, will become ambassadors for the company. If they see the culture embedded in the lifecycle, it will be reinforced throughout their journey with you.

5.       Empower your leaders

Your direct influence on culture only extends to a limited number of people. It’s essential that your leaders not only spread the message, but feel responsible and trusted in doing so.  Empowerment not only helps with trust and respect, but it creates a shared responsibility with culture – and this collective commitment is critical.

6.       Recognise and celebrate it

Your people will contribute to your culture on a daily basis. It’s great to call-out your stars every quarter or year at your company awards. Though, to really embed you culture with impact – think about ways to recognise great contributions to your culture, and tell these stories. If someone embodies the culture – tell them, let them know in-the-moment. And then share the story with others … often. These celebrations of your culture can be big or small - but they should happen often. Also, people connect to stories, and before long - they'll start finding their own to share.

7.       Measure and refine

As your business evolves, so will your culture. But, whilst change it’s an inevitable part of growth, it can also be healthy ... if it’s managed well. It’s important to measure your culture, and understand the state it’s in and the direction it’s headed. Without measuring it, it's a guessing game ... and that it makes it difficult to address your culture, or change/ improve it. Though, it's not only an opportunity to uncover insights and understand opportunity areas - it's a chance to hold yourself and your leaders accountable ... and show your people that you take the culture seriously!  

Do you need some pointers on how to scale your culture? Contact us!

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