What You Can Learn from Startups: Culture Comes First

Published: February 13, 2014 Author: Clearpoint Tags: Manager's Corner, Working and Workplaces

The biggest reason startups succeed is not because of what they're selling, or how they market, or even how much capital they have to invest. A great culture is the foundation of a successful company--not what you have, but what you value.

Startups that place culture first are more likely to continue growing their business and thrive in a competitive market. But you don't have to be a startup to initiate and develop a positive, productive culture in your workplace. Turn your focus to these proven values, and you'll start realizing the advantages of a vibrant workplace culture.

Open the floor

Transparency and an open attitude are key ingredients for a thriving culture. You never know where the next great idea might come from--it could be a team leader, a top-level executive, or a new hire that sparks growth for your company.

Encourage feedback throughout your workplace, and make sure that your managers and leaders are both listening, and taking good suggestions onboard.

Nurture creativity

No matter what your company does, creativity is essential for growth. When you give your employees an environment that encourages and welcomes creativity, you make room for fantastic ideas to take root. The more creative your team, the better you'll fare in every aspect--from development to competition.

Help your employees grow

Once you have talent on board, you want to keep them there. But the truth is that no one wants to stay in a stagnant career. If your company doesn't offer avenues for your employees to stretch their wings, you're going to lose your best and brightest.

Offer employee training and seminars for self-improvement. Encourage your staff to get involved in cross-department projects, so they can learn new skills and work with people they don't normally interact with. Keep things fresh and engaging, so they'll look forward to coming in every day.

Allow for leadership

While it's important for everyone to have established roles, it's equally important to let your people lead--even if they aren't in a leadership position. Some employees may seek out leadership opportunities, while others may demonstrate potential but remain reluctant to take charge.

In both cases, allow them to take the risk. If things don't work out, you'll have a supportive culture in place that can move on quickly from mistakes and fill in any gaps left behind.

Make your clients matter

Customers, clients, partners, or end users--whatever you call them, they are the lifeblood of your company. Part of your culture should be making sure that your employees place your clients first. If your team is driven to place customers above all else, you'll end up improving the quality of your service and increasing satisfaction on both sides.

Focus on relationships

Your workplace culture shouldn't be dictated by an employee handbook. Instead, the relationships among your team should drive the equation and help to support a thriving culture. Pair new hires with a mentor or several contacts within the company, and encourage everyone to get to know everyone else.

Culture is a team effort, and it starts with your vision for a better workplace environment. Implementing core values today will lead to a stronger company, increased productivity, and a higher market share.

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