These Companies Are Sustaining Culture as They Scale

Five leaders at rapidly expanding companies share their secrets for sustaining a supportive workplace culture.

Written by Isaac Feldberg
Published on Jan. 14, 2022
These Companies Are Sustaining Culture as They Scale
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Scaling up is an exciting phase for any company, but growing fast while staying true to your roots can be challenging — and not only in terms of expanding the reach of a specific team or service area. 

During any hyper-growth period, the key to setting your company up for long-term success is a commitment to scaling your culture alongside the business. It’s an underlying truth of the professional world that organizational culture means everything to a company’s sustainability. Although aligning employees with a company’s core values can be easier in the early days, cultivating a culture that can continuously harness their creativity and momentum is an essential part of growth. 

Just ask Joseph Simmons, director of talent and diversity at All Campus. Amid the pandemic, the need for quality online education has been understood like never before — and this Chicago-based organization has been in demand as a result. Strengthening its partnerships with top universities, through which it launches and maintains online programs, All Campus has also worked to ensure its own rapidly growing team is empowered by a strong, empathetic culture.   

“The All Campus culture is one of support,” Simmons says. “Our employees love what they do, and this is essential to our success. That atmosphere is felt in a meaningful way by the students we help and by the university partners we support.”  

We asked Simmons and four other tech leaders how they’re strengthening their workplace cultures in times of rapid expansion, to prepare their businesses for a bright future.  
 

 

Joaquin Fonte (he/him/his)
Senior Vice President, Human Resources • Everspring

 

Everspring is reimagining online education, partnering with leading educational institutions to strategically design and scale high-quality virtual programs.

 

Tell us about the growth your company has been experiencing recently. 

We’ve seen tremendous growth over the course of 2021. We started the year with just over 100 employees and are ending it with about 180! That’s a lot of bright and talented individuals we’ve added to our ranks. We’ve grown strategically to help support our existing portfolio of partnerships, as well as to support future growth in our business. Our marketing and technology teams have seen the most growth, but we’ve also made investments in some of our support functions, like human resources, to ensure we can maximize our employee value proposition and provide an employee experience that drives employee retention.

 

How would you describe your company culture? 

We have a mission-based culture that helps all employees focus on why we are here and why we do what we do. This focus has been a part of Everspring since day one and continues to be the cornerstone of our culture today. Education is a key element in helping people discover new opportunities or growth. We believe in the transformative power of education and apply this energy to everything we do. Just as education can lead to advancement, our company culture is focused on maximizing the potential of each of our employees. We are a welcoming, inclusive, collaborative and hard-working group of professionals full of curiosity and commitment to deliver the best results for our partners.

Just as education can lead to advancement, our company culture is focused on maximizing the potential of each of our employees.”

 

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

Maintaining a strong culture for any organization is challenging during times of growth, but even more so when your growth happens during a pandemic. The shift to functioning as a primarily remote organization certainly requires creativity to be able to keep your culture thriving. Culture represents such a large reason why people work for an organization. For us, like many organizations, technology has been instrumental in keeping the Everspring culture alive and thriving within a virtual environment. Yes, we use Zoom for meetings and Slack for quick conversations, but it’s more than that at Everspring. We use these communication vehicles formally and informally. For example, employees have created themed channels in Slack focused on travel or baking. We share photos of baking successes or solicit travel tips when going to new locations. We recently ran a fundraiser for the Greater Chicago Food Depository and leveraged Slack to update employees and encourage donations. Thanks to our efforts we raised over $25,000, making us third among organizations that held fundraisers for GCFD this holiday season.

 

 

Priti Patel (she/her/hers)
Chief People Officer • G2

 

G2 is a software marketplace, helping 5.5 million people every month make smarter software decisions based on authentic peer reviews.

 

Tell us about the growth your company has been experiencing recently.

2021 was an extraordinary year at G2. We are now the No.1 software review platform, with a community of over 60 million software buyers and nearly 1.5 million trusted reviews. And in June, we were thrilled to announce that we received $157 million in Series D funding at a $1.1 billion valuation.

G2 would not be where it is today without the talent, hard work and dedication of our people. I’m grateful and humbled by this amazing group that has achieved so much, especially considering the global challenges we’ve had to weather together these past few years. 

This is why our employees will be G2’s No.1 strategic priority in 2022. Our Series D funding will allow us to accelerate our climb to the peak by adding more talent and growing our headcount. In 2021, we hired almost 250 new G2ers, and our headcount is now over 520 around the world. Our goal for 2022 is to reach 850 G2ers globally, with a focus on sales and product research and development roles, as well as roles based in Europe, the Middle East and Africa (EMEA) and the Asia-Pacific region (APAC). 

We will also be investing more in learning and development opportunities for our employees, as well as continuing to focus on our diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) efforts. We are approaching our tenth anniversary, and we’ve never been stronger or more optimistic.

 

How would you describe your company culture? 

Our culture has always been based on our PEAK values: performance, entrepreneurial spirit, authenticity and kindness. These values are at the heart of who we are and drive everything we do. 

Through performance, everyone at G2 has the opportunity to build and be part of something bigger than themselves. Entrepreneurial spirit is how it all started, and we keep this innovative and creative ethos alive. Our business relies on authenticity and honesty, and we want that for our workforce too. And kindness is just the way we work. We are a global team, so we work with kindness, empathy and respect to bridge our cultural differences.

For the past few years, our leadership team has practiced conscious leadership. It requires authenticity to be who you really are and to focus on “we” rather than “me.” We also just launched new leadership principles, many of which are based around the core principles of conscious leadership. 

It requires authenticity to be who you really are and to focus on “we” rather than “me.”

 

We are now mostly remote, but our culture has grown stronger, more vibrant — and we have our employee resource groups (ERGs) to thank for that. Our ERGs hosted holiday celebrations, roundtable discussions, fireside chats and trivia sessions, to name a few events. Moreover, they’ve created a space in which all of us can connect authentically.

 

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

We have ambitious goals, and we believe the best way to get there is through supporting our strong culture and investing in our people. This will be our No.1 strategic priority in the new year. 

We plan to support our people and keep teammates connected with hybrid kick-off events, for example. Twice a year, we host a companywide gathering to mark the first and second halves of the fiscal year. We celebrate our successes, discuss strategy, brainstorm for the future and spend time with one another. With our new remote world, we will continue to hold kickoff events but in a hybrid format so everyone can participate. 

Weekly online new hire orientations are also essential. Our team is growing fast, so a weekly online orientation is important to get everybody up to speed, as well as to make sure that everyone feels welcome and that they belong. We just started a mentorship program to preserve strong connections and support from leaders. The program originated with our G2 Ebony and Allies ERG, and we hope to eventually implement it across the company. 

We’re also stepping up our DEI work. Our new partnership with DEI experts Quarter Five will take our DEI efforts to the next level and keep us accountable to our workplace commitments.  

 

 

Joseph Simmons (he/him/his)
Director, Talent and Diversity • AllCampus

 

All Campus works with colleges and universities to create value for their students and online programs. Through course design, retention services and innovative technology, the company provides institutions with creative and customized solutions.

 

Tell us about the growth your company has been experiencing recently.

All Campus has experienced a tremendous amount of growth in the past two years. As you can imagine, the pandemic has certainly highlighted the importance of online education. We have added more than 50 new colleagues in the past 18 months, increasing our headcount by close to 50 percent since the start of the pandemic. While scaling our business, multiple departments have seen significant growth, including marketing, finance, engineering and enrollment services. This growth has allowed us to take advantage of an amazing opportunity to develop and promote talent from within the organization as well.

 

How would you describe your company culture?

At All Campus, we are proud to be an organization that supports the professional development of our employees. We have always, and will continue to, offer annual professional development credit to our employees. Professional development is an ongoing process throughout an employee’s career, and we are glad to support that effort. In addition to professional development credit, we have recently offered additional company-sponsored opportunities, such as Excel training, professional speaking clubs, and sensitivity and bias training. 

Professional development is an ongoing process throughout an employee’s career, and we are glad to support that effort.”

 

The All Campus culture is one of support. Our employees love what they do, and this is essential to our success. That atmosphere is felt in a meaningful way by the students we help and by the university partners we support. By listening to our employees, exercising empathy, making adjustments when necessary and showing resilience along the way during a difficult year, we’ve been able to make sure All Campus remains one of the best places to work in Chicago.

 

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

Over the past year, All Campus has expanded its work-life benefits to align with employee needs amid a tumultuous year of change within and outside of the workplace. We provided staff with bonus PTO to alleviate burnout and to ensure they would have ample time off in case of illness. All Campus also introduced additional DEI programming and training. 

We launched ERGs: Rainbow Campus (LGBTQIA+), Unity in We (BIPOC) and Strength in She (women), and we are extremely proud of the work that has come from them. These are employee-led initiatives and seeing the results of collaboration between those involved has been amazing. These groups lead discussions on inclusive language, unconscious bias and other issues not often addressed in a typical work setting.  

We’ve always been an organization that likes to have fun as well. Before the pandemic, we often had company happy hours, a summer fun fest and our coveted All Campus Christmas party (and after-party). These and other events typically keep us engaged throughout the year, and we’ve found ways to keep those traditions alive in the virtual space.

 

 

Alban Mehmeti (he/him/his)
CEO and Co-Founder • Inspire11

 

Inspire11 is a digital and analytics consulting company that leverages cloud architecture, machine learning, and AI solutions to revamp technology, operations and company structure.

 

Tell us about the growth your company has been experiencing recently. 

We’ve been fortunate to maintain strong growth and momentum in 2021, and there are no signs of that stopping in 2022. This means connecting our people to meaningful work opportunities while helping them grow and develop in their careers and lives along the way. We added 100 team members in 2021 and plan to grow our headcount by 23 percent in 2022. While we have strong growth across all areas of our business, our engineering, data and digital teams are growing fastest. In addition, we are increasing investments and growth of our corporate functions to enable our people and business to scale.

 

How would you describe your company culture?

I would describe our company culture as sticky — there are a lot of fingerprints on this place as every team member has the opportunity and the support to leave a lasting mark. An example of this would be the opportunity to design new products, services or business models — or to change the way we deliver existing ones to make an even bolder impact. Over the years, we’ve loved to see the culture evolve as we’ve welcomed new team members who bring greater diversity in terms of their cultures, backgrounds, perspectives and experiences. What we haven’t let go of is the scrappy startup mindset, one that is super supportive and encouraging of others, ultimately contributing to Inspire11 being the best place to work.

 

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

Simply put: we are listening to our people. We find that listening not only builds trust into the culture, but it also enables us to approach opportunities with a wide variety of perspectives. Doing so creates the most impactful outcomes. As we listen more, we empower our people to share their voices and create a more inclusive environment for all

 As we listen more, we empower our people to share their voices and create a more inclusive environment for all.”

 

We pair listening with increasing our levels of communication and transparency around our business and where we are headed. Our team members are hands-on in defining our future state vision and long-term strategic plan to help us prioritize and then take action to realize that vision. In 2022, we are implementing new pathways for all employees to have ownership in Inspire11. It’s one thing to create opportunity and stability for your employees today — it’s another to set them up for this success in the future. As we expand, the “owner mentality” our employees have will help us truly grow as a team.

 

 

 

Revantage is a high-growth service provider serving the investment portfolio of Blackstone, one of the world’s largest real estate private equity investment managers.

 

Tell us about the growth your company has been experiencing recently. 

Since August of 2017, the U.S. Revantage team has grown to support over 5,500 assets generating $215 billion in total enterprise value, and $16 billion in revenue for Blackstone’s real estate portfolio companies.   

Revantage became a global company in September, integrating with offices in Amsterdam, London, Luxembourg,and Singapore to support partners in more than 50 countries. We grew from approximately 100 U.S. employees in early 2018, to 950 employees globally. Due to the unprecedented growth of alternative investments, Revantage plans to hire approximately 300 people globally this year, including 200 team members dedicated to supporting the U.S. Revantage team. This growth is providing new opportunities for our team members, further building engaged employees and our unique company culture. 

Right now, we’re hiring for approximately 100 roles in Chicago alone, many of them on our technology, finance, and business transformation teams. Revantage is committed to Chicago, including growing the local economy by creating jobs, giving back to our community and championing diversity, equity and inclusion.

 

How would you describe your company culture? 

While Revantage is uniquely supported by one of the world’s leading alternative investment firms, we hold on to our startup spirit and agility. Our partners expect significant, tangible results, so our teams are adaptive and always in pursuit of betterment. 

Revantage’s culture is built on five core values and commitments. Together, we are achievers who encourage and reward ambition, enthusiasts who face down challenges with optimism, leaders continuously improving performance for ourselves and our teams, learners taking away lessons to drive us forward, and good partners who provide positive impact for coworkers as well as for the companies we support. 

We’re also an incredibly diverse company. Worldwide, we have employees who speak over 80 languages, from over 70 countries. That diversity is a vital part of our high-performing, inclusive, courageous culture. 

Our offices, technologies and teams have changed over time. We’ve grown incredibly in just the last two years. But many who formed the foundation for Revantage are still with us, and our values remain central to everything we do. As we grow, we’ll continue to be connected by a culture of excellence and celebrating successes.

As we grow, we’ll continue to be connected by a culture of excellence and celebrating successes.”

 

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

We have multiple initiatives that nurture our community-focused culture through recognition, learning and giving back.

Our “Who We R” Awards is a quarterly program to reward individuals and teams who are living our values. Recipients get a small gift and are recognized during our global town halls.

Revantage prioritizes learning with biweekly companywide updates, a speaker series that shares insights from business leaders, mentorship programs championed by executive leadership, and a collaborative diversity program that fosters meaningful conversations around topics such as Juneteenth and International Women’s Day.

We’re committed to making the world a better place, focusing on education, employment and supporting our community. Revatage supports several local 501(c)(3) organizations, including sitting on the board of directors and participating in CoreGiving, an organization fighting child hunger. Last year, CoreGiving provided over 7.5 million meals nationwide. Initiatives like these make me proud, because I know Revantage is honoring a true commitment to the communities in which we work.

These efforts help keep our core values front and center, and our culture strong, even as we scale.

 

 

Responses have been edited for length and clarity. Images via listed companies and Shutterstock.

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