Building a positive growth culture

Creating a positive culture to scale a business

So you’ve hired some exceptional employees and you’ve put an effective management framework in place, but how do you make sure that these bright, brilliant people will stay with you? How can you persuade them to accompany you along the (sometimes) bumpy road of business growth?

The answer: develop a positive company culture. Data gathered by CultureIQ demonstrates that employees’ ratings of their company’s qualities (collaboration, work environment, etc.) are 20% higher at companies with strong cultures.

The idea of “company culture” often seems quite nebulous – impossible to describe in definite terms. But essentially culture is formed of the prevailing values in your company, whether positive and constructive or the opposite. I set out below some of the key attributes of a successful company culture.

Recruiting great talent

People really want to work for you! They’ve heard you’re a great company to be part of and they’d love to participate in your brand mission.

Happy employees

Your employees are happy to come to work each day. They have high job satisfaction and are loyal to the company.


Happy employees are generally more motivated and aim to produce great results for their employers.


In a company with a strong positive culture, employees feel closely connected to their colleagues and work together more effectively.

Talking to your employees at all levels and listening to their views can give you a good indication of the strengths and weaknesses in your company culture. A survey by Deloitte found that: “Executives have an inflated sense of their workplace culture when compared to employees…” You might have the best intentions, but are they being translated to the company as a whole? 

Even companies with a strong company culture can benefit from evaluating their culture and constantly looking for ways to improve. As a company expands, it becomes all the more important to maintain the strong culture that helped you to grow in the first place. Here are a few suggested approaches to developing a positive culture in your business:

Lead by example

As the leader of the company, employees will look to you to demonstrate the company’s values. If you are seen to work hard, have a clear vision, respect others, and value your employees’ achievements, this behaviour should cascade down through the workforce.

Conversely, if you are seen acting with disrespect, aggression, or a lack of concern for customers and employees, you could see correspondingly negative behaviour in your employees. “The fish rots from the head”, as they say. Positive company culture can only flourish under proactive, positive leadership.

Tackle your UGRs

Every business will have its unwritten ground rules (UGRs); your task as leader is to uncover these rules and check they are consistent with the culture you are trying to nurture.

Is an employee judged harshly for taking time off or not working a 12-hour day? You may have a UGR that threatens work–life balance, leading to decreased employee wellbeing, leading to poor company culture. Can an employee expect to be praised and/or rewarded for a job well done? You clearly have a UGR that ensures managers show appreciation, leading to increased employee wellbeing, leading to positive company culture.

Conduct research amongst your team to uncover your UGRs; replace those that are destructive with more positive rules; then combine these with your existing positive UGRs to create a set of written rules. Finally, the leadership team should commit to comply with these rules.

If you repeat the process of uncovering UGRs regularly, you can weed out repressive or destructive rules before they become too deeply ingrained in the company culture.

Good communication 

As your company grows, perhaps expanding into different countries, it can become increasingly difficult to maintain a consistent company culture across all locations. 

Good communication between the head office – the nerve centre of the operation – and other company locations will help to sustain commitment to the company culture.

You could also encourage your head office team, who have a strong sense of the culture, to socialise with employees in different locations – whether in person or online – so that they can act as “culture ambassadors”.

Recruit for company culture

When interviewing candidates for jobs in your company, keep your written rules for a positive culture in mind. Is this a person who stands for the same values as the company? Observing the candidate in an informal setting can bring their values to light more effectively.

Hiring a candidate who is a good fit for the company culture is simpler than attempting to instil the culture into a person not naturally inclined to it. If you fill new posts in your expanding business with people who already embody much of your company culture, the culture will be more likely to persevere through the growth period. Remember, this shouldn’t prevent diversity; 

People management conclusion

Your employees are the lifeblood of your organisation. Making sure you attract, manage, and retain the right people is crucial to the company’s success. Businesses are increasingly technology-dependent, but as business leaders it is still the people that need our attention. If you can recruit people who embrace the company’s values and vision, manage employees effectively for productivity and job satisfaction, and build a positive company culture that inspires your workforce, you will establish a firm foundation for your business. Prioritise your people: you won’t regret it.