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How to keep culture strong as your company evolves

Written on May 1, 2020

By Jessica Salerno, OSCPA senior content manager

A strong culture is the goal of many businesses, but it needs to have the flexibility to grow and develop in step with the organization.

“Culture is not a static thing, culture is constantly changing,” said Steve Black, human resource manager at Brixey & Meyer, an Ohio CPA Proud organization. “It's a living, breathing thing.”

While organizations work to achieve a strong, positive culture that stands out, they also need to be prepared to allow the culture to develop as time goes on without losing what they built. Black said this can be done by focusing on the company’s core values and basing the culture off of that. As the company develops, certain things might change but the core values should remain the same.

“We were founded in 2002,” Black said. “And we've grown a lot since there. But our core mission is not really that different.”

Black compared it to a growing family. When a family has young children, the focus might be on play dates and schoolwork and as the children grow older it might shift, but core values of trust and support are constant throughout.

As you’re allowing the culture to evolve, he said it’s crucial to create an environment where individuals feel empowered to voice questions and concerns without worry of backlash from others. This might mean having some uncomfortable conversations at times, but that’s part of the growth process.

“You need to make sure people have the courage to ask those kinds of questions and then be able to talk through it together,” Black said.

Another part of allowing culture to evolve is continuing to choose the right people for your organization. Making sure new hires and everyone else on the team stays true to those core values will help promote retention and welcome new staff into the fold.

“You've never arrived with your culture,” Black said. “It's something that will always have to be assessed and evaluated.”