If you know much about PayLease, you know that we have a great culture. We thrive on excellent Client service, solving problems, teamwork, ‘no excuses’ and having a fantastic time. We have a dynamic and engaging CEO, numerous social events, a vibrant office, and wonderful traditions like the annual PayLease Olympics.
In 2015, our employee headcount grew from 130 to 250. This was partially through the acquisition of a Chicago-based convergent billing company, and partially through organic growth.
As we have grown, one of our pressing questions has been, “How do we maintain our culture?” In addition to the change in size, our business has changed too. We now have two locations – San Diego and Chicago; we have a broader product suite; we have new sales strategies; and we are maturing our business practices to match our evolution. All of this again raises the question, “How do we maintain our culture?”
To help answer this, we recently attended Culturati, a summit targeted at c-suite executives who place a priority on culture and employee engagement. This very question was posed to one of the seasoned panelists. When asked, “After an acquisition, how do you maintain your culture?” the immediate response was, “You don’t.”
Let’s pause and digest that for a moment. You don’t.
The panel went on to explain. Culture is organic, dynamic, living, evolving and just like anything else that is alive it is constantly growing, changing and morphing. Every new employee changes the culture. Every iteration of the org structure changes the culture. Every new business process changes the culture.
Culture should always change but Values should not. Your corporate values should remain constant because they describe ‘who you are’ and what you hold dear. The culture is an ever-evolving manifestation of your values given the current environment.
When put that way, it makes total sense. Culture changes, values do not.
That leads to the next provocative question – do we know our corporate values at PayLease? We have a pretty good idea, but it’s worth making sure they are clearly articulated and woven into our day-to-day dialogue and interactions. We should hire to our values, we should complete employee goals and reviews relative to our values, and we should hold everyone accountable for our values. And if we do that, we will maintain our awesome culture. It won’t be the same culture year-over-year, and that is ok. PayLease’s culture will still be awesome because our values, our people, our leadership and our Clients are awesome.