We’ve seen a huge rise in smaller RNG businesses appearing across the US over the last 12 months. It’s inevitable right? There’s an increasing need for alternative energy sources and RNG is a rapidly evolving industry.
Obviously, this is a great thing for the market. However, as businesses grow they tend to forget where they started and what made them so special to work for. The importance of maintaining your company culture has never been more important in a market experiencing so much movement.
Now some companies ‘think’ they’re still the same but my question to you is, are you really? At AD Energy, we’re not just recruiters, we’re consultants. Unfortunately, I think in our industry we often forget that part of the title. We specialise in guiding clients through choppy waters and bringing new recruitment solutions to the table, while also helping them maintain their unique culture and character.
Culture vs Mentality
The clash between small company culture and big company mentality is a topic of growing importance in the RNG space. As organisations expand and evolve, they often grapple with how to preserve the entrepreneurial spirit and tight-knit community that characterises a small business while also harnessing the efficiencies and scale that come with growth.
While it’s important for businesses to adopt a big company mentality for expansion, the benefits of a small company culture can have an immediate impact on the day-to-day operation of a business. This can bring up unique challenges but also unique opportunities, which we’ve identified below.
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Small Company Culture: The Essence
Small companies in the RNG space are often celebrated for their unique cultures and I know because I work with some of them. These environments typically prioritize tight-knit teams, open communication, adaptability, and a strong sense of purpose.
Employees in smaller companies tend to wear many hats, allowing for a deep sense of ownership over their work. Decision-making processes are often swift, and innovation flourishes as employees feel a direct connection to the company’s mission and vision.
Big Company Mentality: The Necessity
On the flip side, larger companies have their own set of advantages. They often have greater resources, access to top talent, the ability to expand into new markets more easily and of course, the potential for spending some serious cash!
However, these advantages can sometimes lead to bureaucracy, hierarchical structures and a more impersonal work environment. This “big company mentality” can create challenges for maintaining the unique culture that small companies cherish.
Balancing Act: Navigating the Challenges
So what are the challenges that you might face as you grow?
Maintaining Communication: In small companies, communication flows freely, and employees often have direct access to leadership. In larger organizations, maintaining open lines of communication is key. Regular town halls, feedback mechanisms, and transparent internal communications can help bridge the gap.
Nurturing Innovation: Large companies – particularly in RNG – often struggle with encouraging innovation as they adopt more complex decision-making processes. The bigger the company, the more stakeholders it’s likely to have, which is counter-productive for building an agile environment. To counter this, many businesses look to adopt more agile methodologies such as the ‘sprint’ concept or develop innovation labs within the company to foster a more entrepreneurial spirit.
Preserving Autonomy: Small company culture thrives on autonomy. In larger organizations, it’s crucial to empower employees and teams with autonomy within their domains. This allows them to take ownership of their work and feel more connected to the company’s mission.
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Maintaining a Sense of Community: Smaller companies often have close-knit teams that feel like family. In larger organizations, creating smaller cross-functional teams or departments with their own unique identities can help replicate this sense of community. It’s important to avoid ‘siloing’ in larger companies, as this can impact the workflow of the company and create tension.
Cultivating Leadership: Leadership sets the tone for company culture. Leaders in big companies must actively champion the values and principles that define the small company culture they want to preserve. This includes leading by example, fostering innovation, and promoting open communication. You hire people because they are great. If that’s the case, let them be great and don’t make them feel inferior to decision-making.
Opportunities in Synergy
While challenges exist, the marriage of small company culture with a big company mentality can yield significant benefits. Having a big company mentality in a small business can lead to more resources for scaling innovation, expansion into new markets and a general increase in productivity. Conversely, a smaller company culture can infuse a big organisation with fresh perspective, entrepreneurial zeal and agility.
The diversity of thought and experience that emerges from a collaboration such as this can lead to groundbreaking solutions and products that may not have been possible within the confines of a strictly ‘small’ or ‘big’ company environment.
So where does that leave you?
I know I might of left you with more questions than answers or a really great to-do list, but remember navigating the balance between small company culture and big company mentality is no small feat.
However, it’s a challenge that many organizations are embracing as they recognize the value in preserving the best aspects of their roots while capitalizing on the strengths that come with growth.
By fostering open communication, nurturing innovation, preserving autonomy, cultivating a sense of community, and championing leadership that embodies these principles, businesses can thrive in a world where culture and mentality need not be at odds but can instead coexist harmoniously, driving success in the ever-evolving marketplace.
We wanted to speak on this as it’s a process that we’ve experienced here at AD Energy. We’ve looked to adopt a big company mentality during our expansion into the US but we’re always striving to maintain the culture that made us great. Now, we want to help other businesses do the same via our own unique recruitment consultancy approach.