Maintaining a great culture is harder than building one in the first place.

Alice Hanna - Head of People and Culture 

In August 2022, Kapitol Group were named #1 Best Place to Work in Australia in the Wrk+ Best Places to Work study. This came off the back of 2 years of strategy, innovation, sheer hard work, and dedication to addressing our team’s feedback. I thought that was a mammoth effort, but what I have learned since is that it’s harder to maintain a great culture than it is to build one in the first place. 

Implementing new initiatives requires a range of creativity, innovation, and change management. Yet, sustaining these initiatives necessitates discipline and ongoing commitment, a far less glamorous aspect of the journey. Below are key challenges in maintaining a high-performing culture: 

The Pitfalls of Complacency 

It’s easy for complacency to set in. When organisations experience success can become too comfortable, assuming the culture will thrive on its own. This is a mistake. Leaders must consistently reinforce the values and behaviors that initially built the great culture. At Kapitol Group, we achieve this through regular check-ins and by integrating these initiatives into our daily operations. It means baking those initiatives into BAU, so they’re not forgotten or getting distracted by the shiny new initiatives we want to implement. 

Changing Dynamics and Growth 

As companies evolve and grow, the dynamics naturally shift. New employees join and structures change, bringing new perspectives and behaviours that can challenge the cultural status quo. Culture SHOULD evolve and grow as companies do. Sometimes trying to maintain exactly what got you to a great culture does not suit the next phase of growth as a company.  Trying to hold on too tight to what was, can hamper you from growing it into something even better. 

Leaders must ensure that the core cultural values remain intact while adapting to the changing business landscape. At Kapitol Group, we accomplish this by seeking ongoing feedback and ensuring that our initiatives are scalable with our growth. 

Communication and Transparency 

As companies expand, communication channels become more intricate, and information flow may become restricted. Maintaining a great culture relies on continually gathering feedback and acting on it. This requires discipline and the humility to accept that you can't assume what constitutes a great culture for your employees. 

At Kapitol Group, we’ve had to stay really disciplined with continuing the feedback forums that we implemented when we were a small company that gave us the insights that drove our #1 ranking. Yes, surveys are great, but nothing beats getting people face to face. We run Quarterly Forums, Offsite Retreats, Vision and Values Workshops and more – doing this at the size we are now is hard, but we’re committed to them as the feedback is too valuable to drop, or to switch to an automated survey from an online tool. 

Small wins are huge. 

Once the ‘low hanging fruit’ of new initiatives are implemented or big cultural issues are addressed, the work becomes continual small tweaks. That’s a shift in focus for the leadership team and People & Culture team and means finding ways to celebrate the small wins. 

The journey since coming #1 at Kapitol Group has been interesting, challenging, hard but also rewarding. We were lucky enough that our staff voted us in at #4 in this year’s Best Places to Work, showing our efforts to not let the ball drop and stay disciplined to what got us there in the first place is paying off. 

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