Create a cohesive, diverse growth culture that thrives in a distributed setup

It’s no secret that rapid business growth comes with its own set of HR complications, not least aligning an expanding team towards a common goal.

Couple this with the myriad challenges companies face when working in a distributed setup model, where employees are based in different physical locations, creating a cohesive culture can certainly seem daunting. We focus on two fundamentals which can help in creating a diverse and collegiate culture that doesn’t just survive but thrives with expansion and growth.

Harness the benefits of diversity

Attracting and retaining talent from a diverse range of backgrounds should be a priority for HR professionals due to the competitive advantage this can bring to a firm. Multicultural teams promote diversity of thought, inspire creativity and drive inclusion. McKinsey’s latest Diversity Matters report found that companies in the top quartile of ethnic representation showed a 39% increased likelihood of outperformance versus those in the bottom quartile. So clearly, diversity isn’t just the right thing to do, it’s also good for business.

Fostering diversity and inclusion in a remote environment

At Inpay, our global workforce comprises more than 45 different nationalities. Even in our Copenhagen headquarters, 70% of employees are non-Danes. The team’s diversity means that we benefit from different perspectives, which in turn encourages reflection and innovative thinking. Our diverse team enhances the business’ cultural awareness, which is crucial for navigating customer relations with our global clientele.

Maintain team cohesion as you grow

HR professionals face new difficulties in building a unified work culture in the modern workplace, which is frequently characterised by hybrid and global work. Communication is the key to building camaraderie, particularly when teams aren’t in the same room, or even the same continent. Encouraging open communication and organising regular check ins are great ways to overcome distance and ensure people feel that they are part of a team.

What do inclusive cultures really look like?

It’s also vital that corporate culture is more than just words and is instead integrated into daily operations. This must start with the recruitment process. When a business undergoes a period of rapid growth, its HR function will likely be managing a strong talent pipeline. What is vital is that HR professionals have a firm grasp of the company’s values and communicate these clearly to prospective candidates. This is essential in identifying cultural fit, where a candidate’s values align with the business’ own, so integration is as smooth as possible. Research from Harvard Business School indicates that core values are essential in boosting employee engagement and inspiring pride in employees.

At Inpay, we’ve made it a priority to retain a strong startup people culture, even as we scale up, as it helps foster teamwork and a sense of community. We introduce new hires to our values, which include trust, accountability, responsibility and passion.

We also cultivate a sense of belonging among our teams by organising in-person events that combine work and social aspects, such as our 'Product and commercial offsites' in Sweden, team-building walking trip in Morocco as well as our quarterly 'Big room planning' sessions for product and development in Denmark. We’ve found that getting out of the office is a great way to unplug, and encourages organic conversations and bonding employees then take back to the office.

Rethinking workplace diversity

Harnessing diversity and ensuring that company values are reflected throughout an organisation should be key areas of focus for any HR leader who is serious about building a cohesive work culture that can meet the demands of the modern business landscape. To succeed in a global economy, companies should leverage diversity, but this can only be achieved if HR practitioners promote well-defined core values that foster employee engagement and camaraderie.

By Anja Ellegaard Dahl, chief people and product officer at international payments business Inpay