One of the biggest dangers a field service company can face as it grows is losing a grip on company culture. Even if you’ve spent time cultivating a culture that’s centered around your values as a leader, that culture can become diluted as you merge or as you pursue new business models or services. However, by embracing an exponential mindset and taking a few proactive steps, you can transform an accidental culture into a purposeful culture—one that’s poised for exponential growth.
How to Build the Right Culture for Your Field Service Company
In the field service industry, your company’s culture is undeniably valuable. One Prodigy Resources study found 91 percent of managers believe a candidate's alignment with company culture is of the same importance or more important than skills and experience. There are a few ways to build and maintain a company culture that advances your business:
1. Make culture your hiring centerpiece.
Culture is so important that it needs to be a priority during the hiring process. As the CEO or leader of a field service organization, you’re the culture keeper. That means your primary job is to protect the culture. That also means that you’re in charge of hiring for culture, promoting culture, and firing for culture. Skills can be taught, but without the right mindset—one that’s visible in the hiring process—it’s nearly impossible to teach culture.
2 Anticipate and recognize shifts in culture right away.
The first step in recognizing whether your culture is shifting in the wrong direction is understanding that changes in culture are slow. A cultural correction of any significance often takes 2-3 years. In the same way, bad elements of a culture are difficult to undo. That doesn’t mean crafting a positive culture shouldn’t be your priority; it just means that it will require patience and tenacity to stay the course.
Second, to ensure you’re nurturing a culture that’s aligned with the company’s values, you need to lay out a clearly defined vision of your ideal company culture. Often, when there is a cultural issue, it surfaces because you either haven’t clearly defined what the culture you want looks like or you have forgotten to stay anchored to the cultural values that you created. That’s why it’s critical to solidify your vision and set cultural ground rules.
Finally, connect your teams with field service data that measures whether or not you’re successfully correcting the course. When your team members love to come to work and love the people they work with as well as the mission they work for, success follows. You can see how much your employees enjoy work by measuring your Employee Net Promoter Score. These scores fall somewhere between -100-100, with scores above zero usually considered healthy and results in the 10-30 range generally viewed as good.
3. Get the whole team on board.
Another critical piece to building an intentional culture within the field service industry, or keeping it consistent during growth, is assembling buy-in. Getting everyone on board with your vision requires a clear picture of that vision, and it must be backed by communication. A culture needs to be something that the leaders of the business embrace and can relate to.
How to Control Culture Following a Merger or Large-Scale Change
Anytime there’s company-wide change, such as a merger, your culture is at risk of shifting in the wrong direction. When merging companies, there are a few ways to sculpt and keep the culture you want:
- Settle cultural differences. Define and compare the value statements from each culture and work with your team to define the new one.
- Engage and drive inclusion. Engage people from all levels in the business as well as both the new and old business to make sure that the entire organization feels included in the new culture—not a victim of the new culture.
- Define cultural expectations. Clearly define how you want your culture to look as your company merges, changes, or grows.
- Encourage adoption. Once you’ve nailed down your cultural direction, it’s up to you and your leadership team to encourage adoption and abolish noncompliance.
Throughout the process, watch out for unhealthy competition. Make sure that all members of your team feel as though they’re contributing to the new culture, not that the culture of the business they’re joining is driving all decision-making. This is especially important when your business is merging with a previous competitor.
Use Exponentiality to Grow in Any Environment
As your company grows, you can craft and maintain the culture you want by being proactive and intentional—even amid adversity.
In the wake of COVID-19, it’s worth considering a popular quote often attributed to James Lane Allen: “Adversity does not build character, it reveals it.” As a leader, consider what you’ve learned from the pandemic. Dig into your culture and ask yourself what the crisis has revealed, good or bad, about your company’s culture. From there, you’ll be on your way to completing the first steps in promoting an intentional culture and spreading an exponential mindset company-wide.