Scaling Your Teams for Success? Don’t Leave Company Culture Behind.

Expanding your business is an exciting endeavor, but it’s crucial to bring company culture along for continued wins.

Written by Tyler Holmes
Published on Jan. 13, 2022
Scaling Your Teams for Success? Don’t Leave Company Culture Behind.
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Before leaving for work, Amanda Wells goes through a mental checklist: Does she have her phone, keys and wallet? Check, check, check. Ego? According to A2Z Sync’s office manager, that can get left at the door.

That’s because A2Z Sync’s culture has always been based on humility. Born out of an auto dealership, the company gradually expanded over the years, diversifying its talent pool from many different backgrounds. But no matter the team’s size or national reach, A2Z Sync remained united behind the mission to improve the automotive retail process, together.

“Our culture at A2Z Sync is one of our most valuable assets and we want it to continue being a high priority as we scale — not something that gets left behind because we got too busy along the way,” Wells said.

Employees at Reserve Trust feel similarly. By implementing a culture committee composed of leaders scattered across the organization, it’s been easy to not only initiate new hires into the existing company culture as the company goes fully remote, but continually improve it.

“It’s truly invigorating to see how much we appreciate each other and how much we collaborate across teams,” said Director of People and Culture Krystal Cooper.

Embracing new scaling opportunities doesn’t necessarily mean having to let go of the culture that made teams great in the first place. That’s why Built In Colorado caught up with Wells, Cooper and two other seasoned people leaders to learn more about the exciting growth they’ve recently experienced and how they’ve made sure their company cultures will continue evolving for the better.

 

Vertafore office with arcade
Vertafore

 

Kristin Nease
Vice President, Human Resources • Vertafore

 

First, tell us about the growth your company has been experiencing recently.

Vertafore hired almost 850 employees in 2021 across all departments and global locations. Over 557 employees were promoted or moved into new positions in 2021 as well — this is something we’re very excited about! Giving opportunities for professional development and career growth is one of our promises to employees and we’re so proud to see these amazing numbers year over year.

As the world and industry evolve around us, our teammates prove there are more and new ways that the Vertafore Way really is who we are.”

 

How would you describe your company culture? What’s changed since the early days and what’s stayed the same?

Our culture is best described as the Vertafore Way – which is our set of six guiding principles, including “Customer Success is Our Success” and “Show Up Curious.” These six principles define how we serve our customers and industry, and how we work together every day. Our culture is our strength and it stays true as we grow. It’s so special because, as the world and industry evolve around us, our teammates prove there are more and new ways that the Vertafore Way really is who we are.

 

What are you doing to keep company culture strong through this period of rapid growth?

Our people and culture are some of our greatest differentiators so our culture is always front and center. We create special programs like mentoring and unique experiences — like our recent “Better Together” 4-week challenge centered on teamwork — which are opportunities for our teammates to participate and demonstrate who we are and continue to be every single day.

 

 

Amanda Wells
Office Manager • A2Z Sync

 

First, tell us about the growth your company has been experiencing recently.

A2Z Sync has been very fortunate to experience significant growth over the last few years. In 2021, we hired 40 employees and have expanded our employee base to 15 other states outside of Colorado. We started 2022 with 70 employees and plan to add more than 30 new hires within the year.

To ensure we can meet the needs of our projected growth, we have a full-time recruiter who actively works to fill our open positions. While we are adding new team members throughout all departments, our current focus is on our sales, engineering and training teams. To accommodate our current and future employees, we’ve recently relocated to a new space that is nearly five times as big as our previous office and we can’t wait to grow into it!

We view our company culture as our personality and want to give off the best first impression.”

 

How would you describe your company culture? What’s changed since the early days and what’s stayed the same?

We view our company culture as our personality and want to give off the best first impression, whether it’s to prospective employees, clients or vendors. Our culture is defined by our teamwork, collaboration, productivity and friendliness.

One of the most noticeable changes since our early days has been the cultivation of a more collaborative environment. Our company was born out of an auto dealer, so we naturally have a lot of employees with extensive experience in the auto industry. Throughout the years we’ve added team members with diverse backgrounds from many different industries which allows us to have more perspectives on all aspects of our business. We welcome diversity in our approach to everything we do.

A2Z Sync has always prided itself on our humble beginnings. In fact, one of our unofficial mottos around the office is to “Check your ego at the door,” which reminds us that we’re all here for a common purpose of improving upon the traditional and archaic automotive retail process. Whether someone is employee number one or number 71, it’s obvious that we all share the same goal of building a product that will greatly impact the future of the auto industry.

 

What are you doing to keep company culture strong through this period of rapid growth?

Our culture at A2Z Sync is one of our most valuable assets and we want it to continue being a high priority as we scale — not something that gets left behind because we got too busy along the way. Our executive team has instituted a lot of ways to preserve our culture as we grow.

Feedback is a vital component to the company’s success. We demonstrate that on an individual basis through regular one-on-one meetings for all managers and their direct reports, as well as in group settings by having daily stand ups within our many different teams.

We’re big proponents of celebrating all wins and acknowledging the efforts of our employees. Celebrating the accomplishments of individuals and teams is a powerful motivator and reminds us that we’re on the path to success. Creating a sense of community is important since we operate on a hybrid model of local and remote employees. During our quarterly town hall meetings, leadership can share important information and updates and ensure everyone understands the goals of the company.

One of my favorite benefits we offer is unlimited PTO. Employees are encouraged to take the time when they need to promote a healthy work-life balance.

 

 

Jocelyn Ruby
Human Resources Manager • Hotel Engine

 

First, tell us about the growth your company has been experiencing recently.

We hired 216 associates in 2021. We are planning to hire 450 associates in 2022. Sales, member support and engineering are the teams that will be growing the most in terms of headcount in 2022.

No associate is afraid to roll up their sleeves and get down to the root of a problem.”

 

How would you describe your company culture? What’s changed since the early days and what’s stayed the same?

At Hotel Engine, we live by our DNA. We’re customer obsessed, willing to win and we think big. We’re efficient and results-focused, we insist on high standards, we’re biased for action and we act with ownership. We deep dive with curiosity, simplify for scale, thrive together, and master our craft. We’re in high-growth mode and act with an extreme sense of urgency. No associate is afraid to roll up their sleeves and get down to the root of a problem. We work as a team, embrace new ideas and celebrate the wins.

 

What are you doing to keep company culture strong through this period of rapid growth?

We have a strong focus on our onboarding program, extended onboarding program, daily team stand ups, weekly all-hands meetings, quarterly town hall meetings, department gatherings virtual and in person, wellness initiatives, and a strong emphasis on internal mobility and promoting from within.

 

 

Krystal Cooper
Director of People & Culture • Reserve Trust

 

First, tell us about the growth your company has been experiencing recently.

Over the last year our company has rapidly grown from 19 to over 80 team members across 25 states. Our plan is to continue to scale at this pace across the entire organization, including engineering, product, risk and compliance, and operations.

Our leadership team is focused on fostering a positive culture that aligns with our business needs but also cares for our team members.”

 

How would you describe your company culture? What’s changed since the early days and what’s stayed the same?

Our company culture has obviously had to evolve over the last year as we scaled up the organization in a fully remote environment. With a continued focus on strong communication and collaboration, each team member has had an opportunity to positively impact on the organization’s build and success. In addition, our culture of appreciation has been something that all team members have been integral in keeping alive through our Cheers for Peers Slack channel, as well as our #10DaysOfAppreciation that we recently ran.

Our leadership team is focused on fostering a positive culture that aligns with our business needs but also cares for our team members, and we are actually in the process of rolling out some new company values that reflect more where our organization is today and where we want to be in the future.

 

What are you doing to keep company culture strong through this period of rapid growth?

The people and culture team is constantly looking at ways that we can improve the employee experience, no matter where each team member is located. We use our Cheers for Peers Slack channel to give each other shout-outs for projects accomplished, going above and beyond or simply lending a helping hand. It’s truly invigorating to see how much we appreciate each other and how much we collaborate across teams.

Our culture committee is a group comprised of several team members across the organization who are passionate about fostering the culture of our organization and finding ways to improve it. The culture committee greets all new hires within their first two weeks and we encourage all new hires to stay connected with the committee members, provide feedback on how we can improve the employee experience, and use them as stewards of the organization.

Lastly, we were able to safely gather much of the company together in Denver for our monthly business review, holiday party and local volunteering events. This was a great opportunity to meet in person and form bonds that are sometimes difficult to create when fully remote.

 

 

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