When I started ABS the first association with the word culture that came to mind was cell culture. Cell Culture continues to be a major part of our business. Today, however, the culture of ABS is a significant focus of my attention. This is especially the case as
This post addresses the challenges of growth and maintaining our company’s culture. It is a recognition of those challenges and how we are approaching them rather than a list of answers. In some respects, the continual creation of a meaningful culture is a Sisyphean task in that there are no final answers.
ABS was founded to create a caring and flexible workplace where individuals are respected, heard, and rewarded for their contributions. These values can easily become platitudes as growth accelerates the demands for one’s time. What was once a family type atmosphere can readily succumb to the need for increasing structure and compartmentalization of duties and responsibilities.
These challenges are not unique to ABS. It is something that confronts most growing companies. Sometimes the culture evolves by default and an organization may drift for its’ intended course. We are making the effort to guide that process in accordance with our values.
Adding new people with different backgrounds and perspectives can create diversity and enrich an organization. It can also disrupt an organization’s culture. Disruption has both positive and negative consequences. New perspectives and challenges to the status quo can create new opportunities. They can also derail progress. It is our collective challenge to ensure that we reap the benefits of new perspectives without damaging our core values and progress.
When we interview candidates, in addition to the essentials of intelligence and enthusiasm for growth, we look for individuals who seem to be a good fit for our culture. However, once we hire someone, actualizing that fit is another challenge. In a small company where everyone knows everyone else, this is a simpler matter. We are looking for ways to make this still happen as we add more and more staff. Otherwise, alienation and lack of collective purpose can occur.
Improving our orientation and onboarding processes may help to better share our vision of what makes ABS a meaningful workplace. We are also working to create more clarity with respect to defining our collective roles in moving us all forward.
As we grow, we will continue to engage with one another to evaluate the impact that growth has upon our culture and values. We are beginning that process by regularly meeting as a company and in smaller groups. The goal of these meeting is to maintain and evolve our culture so that we continue to create value for each other and our clients. In the end, that is only way in which we all will benefit. We are all in this together.
If you would like to learn more about ABS or become a part of ABS, please review the position listings on this website. If your organization has had successfully grown while maintaining a vibrant and meaningful culture, we would also like to hear and learn from you.