Rapid growth means dealing with lots of change! If you regularly read our blog or subscribe to our social media accounts, you probably already know that we’ve gone from 3 to 80 employees in less than four years. We’re really proud of that achievement, so we don’t mind mentioning it every chance we get! 😇
So, how did we grow so fast? Turns out there was an increasing need in the IT sector, one that led us to undertake several exciting projects. We’re not going to lie, such as sustained boom also introduced a host of challenges, some of them simple, some of them complex. Good thing we never met a problem we couldn’t overcome, so we knock it out of the park! After all, facing challenges head on is one of our core values. 💪
We have to admit that it hasn’t been a smooth ride. The need for structure and for the implementation of various policies and procedures quickly became apparent. Things moved at such a rapid pace that we could’ve easily gotten sidetracked. So how did we handle the amount of change required to maintain a healthy, sustainable expansion when we hit the 50-employee mark in February 2022?
Unfortunately, there’s no magic formula, but our journey has allowed us to guide you through the challenges that lie ahead. In this article, Érika, Director of Human Resources and Marketing, and Sarah, HR Consultant, will share some of the major struggles that Uzinakod has had to face in recent years. (And that we’ve been able to successfully overcome!)
The survival of corporate culture
It’s no secret that corporate culture allows you to differentiate yourself and create a strong sense of belonging within your team. It covers several elements such as your identity, values, and modus operandi.
As a general rule, it’s not enough to boast about having a great corporate culture; it must also be built and maintained over time. This is especially true in today’s fast-paced job market. More and more, people want to feel invested at work, and that means working for a company that shares and reflects their values. This is true regardless of whether you have 5 or 80 employees!
So, how do you ensure the survival of your corporate culture when experiencing rapid growth? According to our seasoned HR duo, this is one of the first major challenges facing companies today. Main concerns include:
- Maintaining adherence to corporate culture over time for new and long-term employees.
- Preserving its core values and passing them on.
- Knowing how to develop and build a corporate culture in hybrid mode, which is an integral part of the 2023 labour market reality.
These elements require a good dose of organization, adaptability, and constant effort. At Uzinakod, we’ve taken a number of initiatives that helped us uphold our company culture! Among other things, we’ve set up a series of measures to enhance the employee experience from day 1 to the end of the probation period. We also promote the engagement of our long-time employees by allowing them to go beyond the scope of their usual assignments. Thanks
Smooth internal communication
Communication has a significant impact on employee engagement and productivity. Fostering open dialogue among employees leads to results and goal attainment.
When a company experiences rapid growth, there can no longer be any expectation that important messages will be passed on among employees while hanging out around the proverbial water cooler. It’s now necessary to organize and share information, keeping everyone in the loop at all times and without oversight to avoid possible negative impacts. No more top-down communication; bottom-up communication is now front and centre. It must be consistent and enabled, hence the importance of choosing the right channels!
How do you maintain clear communication lines when the number of employees has almost tripled? For our part, we decided to give a whole new meaning to internal communication by using a variety of channels and messages. It stands to reason that communication methods differ according to the number of employees.
When your company counts 80 employees, communication has a much more significant impact, but it obviously requires a great deal of preparation and organization beforehand. It’s important to be clear and concise. You also have to consider which channel is best suited to your message; sometimes it’s just better to communicate in person. A happy-hour invitation isn’t passed on in the same way as a formal message from management. 😉
Successful growth is only possible when officers and visionary captains are on board. While you need people to set the course, you also need competent and specialized sailors. Without them, you could quickly find yourself at the helm of a sinking boat.
While captains always know where they’re going and are in charge of determining the route, it’s important for them to surround themselves with the right crew and assign roles and responsibilities to each person. Every team member has a strategic role to play and must follow directives in order to steer the ship forward and ensure smooth sailing.
Companies should follow the same principles. You have to make sure your teams are well organized and provide clear written rules that specify correct methods and procedures. This will help avoid mistakes!
Once you reach 50 employees, you need to rethink your structure. The roles and missions of each person must be gradually defined while you continue to move forward. You need to do both to keep your projects on track. It’s also necessary to transfer and document your knowledge without neglecting to provide adequate tools to your collaborators.
At Uzinakod, each department now has its own pillars and tools to help them navigate in the right direction! While our structure is here to stay, it will obviously be improved and adapted to future changes.
Making the right decisions
Since new situations tend to emerge from all angles, decision-making should be part of your new daily routine. You must pay attention and try to anticipate new problems and priorities that may arise at any given time.
Continue to monitor the market, follow the news, set measurable targets, and anticipate possible exceptions. Operating on a case-by-case basis is no longer an option. When situations arise, you need to make choices that are sustainable over time.
You need a long-term vision that allows you to overcome whatever challenge comes your way. Every decision you make sets the stage for the next one. By making the right decisions from the get-go, you can avoid having to revisit them in the future.
Let’s face it, it’s kind of tricky to change a well-established procedure when you have numerous employees, especially if it affects most of them. Indeed, compliance could prove difficult and may even lead to feelings of discontent. Gone is the old habit of wanting to manage situations in a timely manner; decisions are now made in anticipation of future issues and, above all, on behalf of the majority!
What are the benefits?
As you can see, business growth is no small matter. It brings its own set of challenges and therefore requires a real strategy. This can be difficult to deal with, but you can always be one step ahead if you plan accordingly.
Easier said than done, right? It might actually be easier than you think — just be well prepared and make sure you have a solid change-management approach. As you’ve probably guessed, 2022 has been a real turning point in the history of Uzinakod. Want to know more? Don’t worry, we tell you all about it in our very first blog post of 2023.
So, are you ready to set sail?
Did you know…
During the Stratégies PME event, Érika and Sarah gave a conference titled “Vivre la croissance de votre entreprise: Quels grands défis vous attendent à l’étape de 50 employés(e)s?” on this very topic! We’re very proud to have been selected as Top SMB Experts by event organizers.