How to Get Startup Culture Right
Culture is something that moves from the top down, and shouldn’t merely be the whim of the Founder and executive team. It should be worked on and documented, talked about consistently and stuck to. It’s about taking the influential and best parts of the founders and CEO, and making conscious, deliberate steps to align those with the values of the business.
So what’s key to getting startup culture right?
Provide an inviting and stimulating workplace: Workspaces shape culture. Fostering favourable office behaviours like clear communication and collaboration is easier in open office spaces. Location counts too – why do you think tech firms pool in Silicon Valley and finance in London and Singapore.
Highlight successes rather than failures (no matter how small): No one should be a bigger advocate for the business than the Founder and CEO. The more achievements that can be associated with individuals, which affirm the businesses values, the faster affirmation will permeate the business and reinforce the culture.
Define your company values early and stick to them: Revisiting, redefining and cultivating the values of the business should be integral and ongoing. Accepting feedback from everyone, top to bottom, will ensure everyone is able to live, breathe and stand by what the business stands for. Imprinting these on the first team members means it trickles down as the business grows and everyone believes in them.
Give employees the tools and the processes they need: Providing hardware and software that allow employees to be successful removes the first barrier to productivity. Provide adequate training on softwares used in the business and show them how and why a process is in place. Ensure to walk them through any distinct processes that are important aspects of performing their job.
Be inclusive: Be encouraging of different races, genders, sexual orientation. Having people from different backgrounds will encourage creativity in the workplace as well.
Be transparent: Creating an environment of transparency where information is shared broadly fosters trust and encourages loyalty, this in turn stimulates practises that serve the business as a whole.
Build context and meaning into everyday tasks: Millennials are a large part of startup culture, and their values differ greatly from previous generations. A key driver for them is the desire to do work that has an impact and making a difference. Building context into roles, responsibilities and processes ensures that talent stays put and is nurtured into tomorrow's business leads.
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