Working for a startup offers many unique benefits not seen in traditional workplace settings of more established companies. There’s a greater chance to make an impact on company decisions and direction, opportunities for upward career mobility, and a high likelihood of close day-to-day collaboration with your co-workers. Oftentimes, startup culture unfairly gets a bad reputation and is known for long hours, zero work-life balance, and disorganization. To prevent your early-stage venture from falling victim to these tropes, here are three tips for creating a healthy startup culture.
1. Be Inclusive of All Voices
In the startup world, it’s rare for employees to be siloed to a specific set of tasks that might normally be associated with their job title. Startups are generally an “all hands on deck” environment. Given that, it’s especially important to offer a seat at the table for all team members. Be inclusive of all voices, and offer a variety of avenues for employees to share their thoughts and feelings. Remember, not everyone feels comfortable speaking up in group settings or broadly sharing their ideas, and a quiet demeanor should never be mistaken for a lack of investment, expertise, or ideas. However, to keep things moving it will obviously be essential to designate decision makers and a hierarchy to distinguish where dialogue needs to stop. This isn’t a negative business element, but be sure to share those parameters widely and transparently with the full team.
2. Balance is Key
Fostering a healthy startup culture relies on understanding that balance is necessary. Startups are often a grind with big goals to reach in small periods of time. Be sure to not only acknowledge the work your team is putting in, but to also identify the necessary checkpoints to ensure they are not experiencing burnout. Consider offering flex-time options, or more robust PTO, to balance a more fast-paced work environment. Ensuring longevity is essential with a startup team. Your founding and early-stage team members hold a unique perspective of where your company has been and how that can inform future growth. Remember, creating balance is an investment in retaining your employees.
3. Embrace Your Type-A
When you’re going from zero to one hundred, it’s key to have efficient and precise project management systems in place. What’s even more important than that? Ensuring your team adheres to them. Visibility into all projects impacting the business from an operational perspective needs to be a top priority to ensure forward mobility is in lock-step. Even if the organization varies from department to department, be sure each team has identified a platform or system to help them optimize output and increase transparency. There are dozens of free platforms and templates available to help you with project management tasks.
These are just a few ways to avoid creating a toxic startup culture. Be nimble, quick to adjust your practices and standards, and always welcome feedback. And don’t forget to lean on your team members as needed; their insight and input are invaluable to your success.
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