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14 Jun
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5 Tips to Develop a Company Culture for Your Startup

When any startup reaches maturity and starts to find success, it will often need to transition and adopt a more systematic approach in terms of how it handles employees and the manner in which employees interact among themselves. In other words, the startup should instill some sense of work culture that dictates how things work in the office and how employees approach it.

The culture of a company is arguably as important as its business strategy. A positive office culture improves engagement and increases collaboration among the employees, which can have a strong impact on their performance and job satisfaction.

In the early stages of a startup, it’s not always essential to think about work culture, given that you are still trying to find a niche and develop your ideas. In the later stages, however, as the startup establishes itself, shaping and building a particular organisational culture becomes necessary.

Big names like Google, Apple and Facebook all began their journey as a startup-like enterprise, and one of the reasons they have continued to be successful over time is their amazing culture that motivates creativity and innovation.

Here are five tips that you may want to follow when looking to instill a company culture into a growing startup.

1. Have a clear purpose

What’s the mission and vision of your company? Where will your startup be in 5-10 years? Establish a clear road map for your company, setting long term and short term goals that you and employees work towards.

Obviously, your goals will change over time and you may need to adjust them, but it’s important to have a purpose that dictates your business strategies and motivates your staff.

2. Establish good communication

Part of any great company culture is the transparency between employees and divisions in terms of communication, which can instill a strong sense of teamwork. This means establishing communication channels not only in a top-down fashion, but parallel communication between team members.

Your team should have a very clear idea of what upper-level management is thinking and expecting of them, and vice-versa; you need to ensure that communication channels are not one-way and autocratic.

3. Define behavioural standards

Standardising behavioural norms may seem to go against the free-flowing, almost casual spirit of the typical startup company, but this doesn’t always need to be the case. Outlining how your team should communicate with customers and amongst themselves can help to build a lively culture.

A set behavioural standard gives the employees something to fall back to when a disagreement or complications arise. It’s imperative to set up a boundary on what can be done and what can’t, while still maintaining an open atmosphere. This can certainly be a challenge and can take time, but is well worth it in the long run.

4. Introduce training on behavioural standard

While introducing behavioural standard training may sound like a heavy-handed approach, it actually works. Successful companies train their staff continuously in terms of what standards should be followed.

5. Arrange regular reviews. Provide and get feedback

Regular performance reviews should include how well individuals comply to the behavioural and cultural values of the startup. Remember that rewards and incentives can be an effective way of sustaining an effective organisational culture.

In a broad sense, structure and culture complement each other and together determine the performance of the company. That said, instilling a strong company culture in a growing startup is by no means a straightforward task and it will require a planned approach. Managing employees can be very difficult and it can pay to have the right kinds of people around you to assist in this.

To become successful, it’s your responsibility to create, manage and foster a productive and innovative culture that will guide your employees. If your startup is struggling with internal engagement and collaboration, it’s the cultural aspects that you need to prioritise first.

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