Get All Access for $5/mo

How To Maintain A Startup Culture In A Rapidly Expanding Company Here are some points to consider when you want to keep your startup culture alive and kicking.

By Jawanna Sawalha Edited by Tamara Pupic

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

You're reading Entrepreneur Middle East, an international franchise of Entrepreneur Media.


Anyone who worked in a startup and then moved to an established corporate will tell you that they might not be missing the lower salary, the crunch periods, or the fast-paced environment, but they'll definitely tell you these things were nothing to moan about when you consider the other aspects of a startup culture.

These include things like the social atmosphere, or the more relaxed working hours, which are what often keep people happy with their work at the enterprise. But once these dedicated employees feel that the family environment they grew to love is gradually changing to a corporate one, there may be a perception that the company is starting to lose its soul, and with that, its good and creative employees as well.

So, here are a couple of things to consider when you want to keep your startup culture alive and kicking, even while the company is growing and expanding:

1. Transparency and honesty
One of the truly beautiful things about startups is that every single milestone the company reaches –be it big or small– reflects the success of each one working in the company, and is celebrated as such, of course. This strong emotion among both the employees and employers can only be genuinely felt when these people see the actual numbers their company is spending and making, and in some instances, question it. This lets everyone feel a bit like a CEO, and with it, shoulder part of the responsibility. This will incentivize them to think and work more to achieve better numbers in the next quarter or milestone. So, be proactive. Share these numbers, and make everyone feel their presence is important, and that their voice is heard.

2. Continuous learning
What startups distinctly recognize is that new information and studies don't simply stop because you're not keeping up. Startups know that the market is swift and brutal, the entire dynamics of platforms we use on a daily basis can change in an instant, and such, it falls upon us to stay up-to-date and remain abreast of all these changes around us. That's why you often see startups offering a range of free online and offline courses, trainings, and workshops for all of their employees, in order to make sure that everyone is continuously growing and reaching new heights at what they do. Don't let things go stale at your office, and make sure each employee can hold their own in any event.

3. Celebrations and social activities
Startups are known to throw awesome parties and celebrations for their employees. Awesome in this case doesn't translate to lavish or luxurious. You can have a party in the fanciest hotel you can book, but that doesn't mean your people wantto be there. The essential difference that would make or break your company activity is: what is your employees' perception? Are they hanging out with friends or colleagues? And that's what startup culture is all about. It creates a mixture between family and friends, where everyone feels safe to express themselves, ask questions, interact, and make jokes with one another. This can also be watered down and applied to a lesser degree for special occasions. Whether it is a birthday, or someone just finished their master's, you should make sure the whole company is in on the celebration and happiness.To create a comprehensive atmosphere of socially comfortable engagement, and build that familial and friendly environment, it is also a good idea to have normal company activities, where employees can interact more extensively together in different ways than just talking. You can arrange for everyone to go out and have a friendly game of laser tag, karting, or any other competitive sport, so they can build a strong bond with one another, while having fun at the same time. This is important for people working together, because they will feel that more people have their back– both literally and figuratively, if you choose the right game.

4. Lead by example
This might be a widespread cliché that you'll hear from everyone in every sector, but it still holds water. Startup culture is the place where employees watch managers and mirror their actions in one way or another. When your employees see your commitment and hard work, they're just going to be more motivated to do the same. Your actions convey your orders better than any set of emails and speeches. It's an easy formula really- you want your company to shine, make sure your people want that, and that they are working tirelessly to achieve it. If you want them to work tirelessly, then you need to start by showing them the true meaning of that word.

Related: Five Things To Remember When Hiring Your Startup's First Few Employees

Jawanna Sawalha

Independent journalist

Jawanna Sawalha is an independent journalist from Amman, Jordan. 


Growth Strategies

With A Goal To Fully Decarbonize The Last-Mile Industry, UAE-Based One Moto Secures US$40 Million In Lease Financing

With a goal to fully decarbonize the last-mile industry, the startup aims to introduce 50,000 electric delivery vehicles in the UAE by 2025.

Growing a Business

This Nurse-Turned-Entrepreneur Saw the Needs of Underserved Communities Firsthand. Now, His Company Uses AI to Help Them.

Kwamane Liddell, the innovative founder behind ThriveLink, shares his entrepreneurial journey.

Starting a Business

I Just Hit 1 Million Customers. This Is the 2-Step Approach That Got Me There.

Some think a massive marketing budget is the key to getting a large number of customers, but in reality, it's much simpler than that.

Growing a Business

He Immigrated to the U.S. and Got a Job at McDonald's — Then His Aversion to Being 'Too Comfortable' Led to a Fast-Growing Company That's Hard to Miss

Voyo Popovic launched his moving and storage company in 2018 — and he's been innovating in the industry ever since.

Side Hustle

The Side Hustle He Started in His College Apartment Turned Into a $70,000-a-Month Income Stream — Then Earned Nearly $2 Million Last Year

Kyle Morrand and his college roommates loved playing retro video games — and the pastime would help launch his career.

Business Plans

7 Steps To A Winning Business Proposal

Seven essential steps to guarantee you get the contract.