Start-ups are often known and praised for their energetic and quirky culture that attracts the hippest and most in-the-know candidates in the market. Think dog-friendly offices, foosball tables, discounted savings platforms, free coffees, standing desks and free snacks... the list is truly endless when it comes to start-ups. But surely there has to be more than simply imbuing your company with these tangible benefits? What about culture, values and the employee experience?
Unlike big established corporates who have a lot of red tape and rigid structures in place, start-ups have the unique opportunity to create a long lasting culture which extends from the ground up. Start-ups have a plethora of ways to build a great workplace for their team that is sustainable and ever-green.
Discover 10 ways to creating a start-up that shines and stands out from the crowd:
1. Define your mission
Often with a new start-ups, the founders just want to hit the ground running and go, go, go! They want to start selling, finding customers and hitting targets. However it is crucial to first and foremost define and clarify the company's mission. Let the mission be inspirational and aspirational - let the team truly live and breath what the company is about, as opposed to just having it as a formal statement in your corporate collateral.
2. Create a positive corporate culture
A company culture is two-fold, and can be built from the founders themselves as well as the way employees gel and interact. A strong company culture is formed from the organisation's goals, vision, beliefs and internal procedures. However, if there is a strong sense of animosity from the team, the culture won't be one of belonging and engagement. If the team works as a unit, they are all striving to achieve the greater good and are the pieces of the greater puzzle, the culture will be unbreakable and something where employees yearn to be a part of. Company culture does indeed impact everything - productivity, creativity, profitability and motivation. Get your culture right from the get go and review it regularly as the business grows and teams evolve.
3. Let your team be themselves
It sounds simple, but remember you hired your employees for who they are, for their skills, knowledge and expertise, for what they can bring to the business as an individual as well as a team player. Don't expect everyone to conform to a mould of the "perfect / ideal" employee. Remember everyone has their own personality, motivations and abilities. Accept people's differences, quirks and strengths - this will create a diverse and holistic workplace that is great to be a part of. There will be so much people can learn and gain from the team.
4. Be transparent from the top down
Hide nothing! Start-ups have the ability to be transparent from day one. When nothing is hidden and communication is open, trust between employees flourishes. Gain credibility and stand out from the competition as a company who is honest and open - this too will help build loyal teams who want to stay put.
5. Have no set status-quo
Change and innovation needs to be accounted for in today's ever-changing and demanding workspace. Don't get stuck with the archaic "this is how we've always done it" mentality. Shift your mindset to one of innovation, creativity and adaptability. Let your team, procedures and methods evolve and move with the times, where flexibility and adaptability is critical.
6. Magnify people's strengths
Everyone has something unique to bring to your start-up, so magnify each and every employee's USP. By doing this, you can leapfrog your team from being good to being great. This too has a domino effect where productivity, engagement and performance levels will soar. When recognition and acknowledgement is given and people feel valued, this will encourage your team to continue going the extra mile and putting in their 110%. Employees can also learn from other's strengths, this is a great tool for mentoring and helping your staff develop in areas they are most passionate about.
7. Value employee feedback
The importance of employee feedback can't be underestimated - it should be seen as a pillar of building a successful company. Feedback helps leaders make better decisions as it is the employees who are the ones who can make or break your organisation. They have an unique insight and emotional intelligence into the day-to-day DNA of the workings of the business which needs to be listened to. This feedback can also help employees do their job more effectively and efficiently - there is nothing more harmful to your business than a disgruntled, unhappy employee.
8. Treat your employees like your customers
Managers have always recognised the value of the customer experience (CX), but have they stopped to consider the value of the employee experience (EX)? Employees yearn for a pleasant working environment, for a culture where they belong and for a space where they can grow and expand. Obviously there needs to be a core spotlight on customers as they bring in the profits, however it is your employees who are the face of your organisation, they carry the business on the shoulders and decide how it is represented to your customers. Give your team the same, if not more, attention, effort and time as you set out for your customers.
9. Be top-down models
It's been seen one time too many that when a company culture and values are set, they never get revisited again. It takes a lot more to be a fluid workplace that is great to work for - it's all about continuity and effort. Let the management be role models and live the values of your start-up. There's nothing more false than lip-service, be authentic and real and your team will follow suite.
10. Celebrate and recognise achievements and milestones
Whether it's a team achievement of smashing a target, or an individual portraying extraordinary effort on a project, shout about it! Celebrate and acknowledge both the big and small milestones across your business, the positive repercussions can be astounding. Your team will glow, engagement levels will rise and a greater sense of teamwork and commitment will be present - something everyone loves in their jobs and workplaces.
Staff Treats is an employee engagement and perks agency which believes that it is the small things that matter and make the big difference within businesses both small and large. If you’d like to find out more, speak to one of our Engagement Specialists today.
Written by Talya Zwiers
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