Virtustream Blog

Maintaining Culture While Scaling Your Business

in Business, Working Here


Culture is critical to the success of any company. From early-stage startups to the Fortune 500, culture is what brings teams together and drives them to achieve their goals. But culture isn't always easy to build and maintain – especially when a company undergoes rapid growth and expansion.

Here at Virtustream, we’ve been through it all: In the past eight years, we have scaled from a scrappy startup to a market leader in cloud and later joined the Dell Technologies family of businesses. We have learned a lot through these transitions and I’m proud to say we have succeeded in maintaining our unique culture through every growth spurt.

How did we do it? Here are a few key strategies that helped us maintain our sense of “us” through each stage:

Define your culture and get specific

While culture is something that happens organically, maintaining it while your company scales takes work. It’s important for senior leaders to get strategic and define exactly what the company’s culture is – and what it isn’t. Where do you start? Think about the specific qualities that employees are already embodying to support the overarching mission. Understanding the mission statement and how everyone has agreed to get there is your blueprint for defining the culture. 

At Virtustream, our culture is informed by our mission to deliver the strongest advantages and efficiencies in cloud computing on the market, meaning our culture is defined by people who are highly motivated, tech-savvy and ready-to-learn.

Lead by example

Culture has to start at the top and trickle its way down through the rest of the team. Executives need to buy into the culture and demonstrate its values consistently throughout every victory and every loss.

At Virtustream, our culture has always been driven by our co-founders, Rodney Rogers, Kevin Reid, Matthew Theurer and Sean Jennings. They are a force to be reckoned with and their passion is infectious. Their mission to provide the best cloud computing services has remained unchanged since 2009 when we were first getting started all the way up to today as a major player in the cloud space. Their continuous drive is the source of our culture and the energy they bring has spread widely throughout the company as we have scaled from a dozen employees to nearly 3,000.

Be proactive

Culture is not a part time priority – it takes senior leaders who consciously instill their values into their day-to-day activities, and a team that is always seeking out new ways to contribute. Culture won’t fall into your lap, so it’s important to cultivate it proactively, which can take many forms, such as quarterly happy hours for new hires and designated committees to engage people outside of their specific roles. It’s also important to keep an eye out for when the culture might be veering off track; recognizing when you need to self-correct is equally important.

At Virtustream, we strive to ensure every employee feels empowered to ask questions, be bold and take risks. That means actively training managers to deploy an open-door policy and giving employees the opportunity to explore the broader industry beyond their immediate role and responsibilities. We also rely on our employees to keep us honest when things might be shifting off-course and have set up an email alias where employees can reach out with any concerns, and a member from our senior leadership will personally respond.

Culture is powerful, but it's not always easy. Be sure to keep these tips in mind to maintain a strong culture as your company scales. While this is by no means an exhaustive list, it's a good starting point. Have you gone through a similar experience at your company? I would love you hear your personal experience and best practices on Twitter at @VirtustreamJobs

Want to learn more about our day-to-day culture? Follow us on Twitter at @VirtustreamJobs and @Virtustream

Interested in joining the Virtustream family? Check out our open positions and send us your resume today.