Part of your responsibilities as an entrepreneur is to establish a strong company culture. A strong company culture helps ensure that everyone in the start-up has the attitudes, values, and standards you want the company to embody. It also will give potential investors and customers the right impression.
Your company culture must reflect a consistent and unified vision. You should sit down with your partners, list your core values and decide how you want your company and employees to embody those ideals. While your list will have a number of values unique to you and your partners, there are a number of other qualities that should be present.
Employees will often be less inclined to get into the company culture if they don’t know the reasoning behind it. You have to be transparent and keep the employees informed when it comes to the key metrics of the business. This kind of transparency results in employees getting to know the company from the ground up. They will not just take orders — they’ll understand the rationale behind, and the importance of, those orders.
You can also give time for the employees to voice their concerns and questions. Set a time once a week or once a month to gather everyone for a large meeting. Give the employees the floor so they can clarify some of their problems and give you the chance to further inform them of company policy.
Give Employees Time to Rest
Burnout is a real concern for entrepreneurs. Being in a start-up is stressful, and that stress affects everyone, from the newest employee to the founder of the company. You can’t expect people to give their all every day and not burn out after a while. That’s not a sustainable strategy. Giving your employees time to rest and disconnect should be part of your company culture. You don’t want them thinking they’re just workhorses. You want them to understand that the company recognizes that they’re people with lives outside the company, and that they’re allowed to have time to deal with personal issues.
A strong company culture is not just about the mind; the physical aspects also must be considered. Choose your office space and its layout with your employees in mind. Balance open spaces with doors that people can close when they want privacy. This should also come into play when you’re hiring people. If you don’t think you can provide a prospective employee with the kind of space they need to flourish, it may be best to hire someone else.
Employees Must Feel Free and Empowered
One of the most difficult and important tasks you have as an entrepreneur is to guide your employees while making them feel empowered and free. That means giving them goals, but not micromanaging them; give them guidelines instead of strict directions. The more freedom your employees have when it comes to how they approach their tasks, the more empowered they’ll feel. This will result in a closer connection to the company and its culture.
Clear Communication Lines Between Customers and Employees
One of the most important parts of your company culture must involve communicating with your employees and customers. Even the smartest entrepreneurs may find themselves lost at times, unsure of why their products aren’t selling or why their user base isn’t growing exponentially.
The solution is to talk it out. Talk to customers and find out where your product fails them. Ask your employees for any ground-level insight that can help you figure out how to reposition your product. Have your employees talk to customers as well. There’s nothing like being out there and among your target audience to get the blood running and ideas flowing. Not only will encouraging discussion help you solve problems, it’ll allow relationships to develop all around between customers, employees, and you.
As an entrepreneur, your company culture is among the first things you must figure out. This will determine how you and your partners will choose and treat employees, as well as how you will interact with your customers. Make sure everyone knows the importance of communication, both internally and to your target market. Your employees must feel empowered and capable of taking on any tasks you set before them. Using these tools to build your company culture will increase the odds of having a successful start-up.