Creating an environment of collaboration, motivation, and efficiency can be tough, but it’s vital to the success of any startup. Without the right culture in place, you can never grow your business into the company you want it to be, no matter how talented your employees are or how innovative your products are.
Here are effective approaches you can utilize to build a culture that will help your startup grow and your employees thrive.
Define Your Core Values and Put Them Into Action
Empathy, communication, and inclusivity should be the foundation of the company rather than words on paper. A culture that encompasses these values and ethics will surely build a strong foundation for the growth of your startup.
- Consider implementing your core values into processes and procedures. When you are planning a project, or post-project, discuss goals that relate to your core values and how we can achieve them or how we can improve next time. Normalize identifying core values as the backbone of every project, practicing demonstrable actions, aligning with them regularly, and taking pride in them.
- Model core values in your own works to showcase to the team that you believe in them and want to provide examples of positive workplace culture. If employees see upper management taking the values seriously, it will naturally encourage them to practice them.
Hiring People Who Share Those Values
It is key that everyone is on the same page and working towards the same goals. Employees who share similar values, morals, and ethics with the company are assets to your startup. Moreover, potential or existing employees who can enrich and add positive cultures to your team are helpful for long-term growth. To successfully seek out these talents, your startup should not solely consider their competencies. Instead, overall characteristics which include values and cultures that the job candidates uphold are also imperative.
- Create a value-centric hiring process that enables you to understand their behaviours and tendencies towards specific topics and scenarios. Behaviour and performance are far better indicators of success than titles and job descriptions.
- Promote your values in all your messaging, job postings, and social media platforms. The organizational values and cultures should be highlighted in every communication in order to attract like-minded talents to contribute to your business.
Encourage Feedback From Your Employees
Feedback allows you to see what's working well and what needs improvement. Being open to feedback from your employees will create a culture that encourages growth within your startup. That will let your employees know that their voices are heard, their works are appreciated, and you're investing in their success. At the bottom line, trust is built and it is paramount to build a strategic partnership.
- New employee surveys are a great way to gain insights about your company and how successfully you are onboarding each new hire. Ask how they are feeling about the role, how they are settling in, what they would like to learn, and what has interested them most since their start date.
- Interview your top performers to better understand what makes them do the great work they do. You want them to discuss key aspects of the company's growth, and how you can support them to advance and thrive within the business.
Allow For Workday Flexibility
A recent study by the Harvard Business Review found that workday flexibility is the key to attracting and retaining top talent. And it makes sense – who wouldn’t want to work for a company that allows them to have a say in their structure? It allows employees to design their day around their other commitments, whether that's family, school, or side projects. Plus, flexible and results-oriented workdays also demonstrate the trust within the team, speaking well for a healthy and supportive workplace environment.
- Some of your employees may appreciate working 10-hour days throughout the week in order to receive a 3-day weekend. As long as the work gets done on time, and they meet expectations for their assigned tasks, their productivity will be identical to a full work week.
- Depending on how your organization structure operates, implementing flexible working hours for your employees may help them design a better workflow for themselves. It may be more convenient for them to work in the evening rather than in the morning, as time keeping doesn’t create more productivity. Set milestones and allow the workers to find their time to complete each portion of the project.
Show Appreciation to Employees and Connect that to Business Goals
Showing appreciation to your employees in ways that connect back to your business goals can create a positive and uplifting company culture. As a result, morale and motivation can improve, which leads to better business performance. Once the employees feel valued and aware of their impact, they're more likely to be productive and engaged in their work.
- Address growth opportunities for eager employees who have shown a keen interest in moving up in the company or wanting more responsibility. If you make their goals a part of the conversation instead of solely focusing on the company’s goals, there will be a strong disconnect. To retain talent, the ambition of employees needs to be rewards to help them rise to their career expectation.
- Feedback should be balanced and constructive. When you speak to your employees during a performance review, it’s fundamental to show both sides of the circumstances. If they excel at specific aspects, let them know that, but don’t forget to showcase where they can improve. If employees only receive one type of feedback, they will begin to think they aren’t doing a good job, or they are doing amazing meaning there is nothing to improve on.
Create An Environment Based On Trust And Safety
A safe and trusting environment is the foundation of any good culture. If your team doesn't feel safe, they won't be able to do their best work. An environment that enables employees to expend their energy in a positive way will allow them to care about their coworkers, display accountability, and feel confident to give credit where it’s due.
- Encourage coaching by dedicating capable employees to help new hires feel confident within their role. Guiding your people to success is a lot more effective than having them find it on their own all the time. The more proficient the incumbents get in their roles, the better they can contribute to the growth of your company.
- Building an inclusive work environment and a community of trust where everyone can feel a sense of belonging and have chances to speak their mind and share their thoughts.
Check out our article to read more about building a diverse and inclusive workplace: Diversity and Inclusion in the Workplace: Challenges and Impacts.
Strong work culture is important for any startup. It can help attract and retain top talent, inspire employees to do their best work, and foster a sense of community within the company. Building a strong work culture isn't easy; it requires time, effort, and creativity.
You need to ask yourself:
- What would I want in my own workplace?
- What type of values does my business represent?
- How can I make sure that these values are communicated?
- How can I create an environment where people thrive?
- What type of legacy do I want to leave?
- How will this impact our brand?