The start-up trend is catching up and here to stay. Over the years, many people have been inspired by the obvious success of some entrepreneurs. Let me tell you, it hasn’t been a cake walk. Though it might look like one. Sure the stories of Facebook being what it is today would’ve given you the impression. How a small search engine company, with four guys sitting in a garage made it possible for us to depend on them largely for our day-to-day questions (of course, I’m talking about Google) . Like i said it wasn’t a piece of cake for them. Oh yes, they have the best products in the world in their own right. Did they just focus on building the product only? The answer is NO. Instead they focused on building the right team, a team which can take initiative in every aspect of what they did. If you are running a start-up you’d be knowing how hard it is finding the right people and how important it is to retain those people who you found. I’m going to share a few thoughts of how to retain the people you’ve got on your start-up or if you are looking out for them.
P.S : Start ups emphasize on people relations. So you won’t be seeing me referring to them as employees. Instead as people or friends. So, leave the corporate jargon at the door step.
So what is a start-up culture?
It all about how well you create the atmosphere for the people who are working with you. Making suitable arrangements for them, so it proves productive for your start-up. Every start-up has its own culture, but the fundamental is all the same throughout. Everyone needs to be happy (most of them, at least), productive and take initiative.
A few pointers towards that would be
1. Believe in what you do:
When you have a set of defined goals, and know where you are going, this will greatly translate into the kind of atmosphere you are designing for your start-up. Your vision of your start-up will propel everything. if you don’t believe in your own ideas, how can you expect others to believe in what you do.
2. Make your people believe in what you do:
A start-up can flourish only when everyone in the group are fueled by the same amount of passion towards the respective roles they are engaged in. They take initiatives, instead of taking orders from you to get things done. Imagine you doing your work peacefully, while the other work that needs to get done is all take care by your people. All this happens when people believe in the vision. When they get the bigger picture, they participate voluntarily to make things happen. It’s up to you to make them believe in you and your goals, include them, their opinions and make them feel important. You need to understand it’s not about you, but it’s about your start-up that matter the most.
3. Free Breakfast and Lunch :
It’s one of the most important of perks. Hungry people always tend to be grumpy and low on energy. Most of the major companies have included it in their culture, years back when they were small. At least offering them Free lunch and loads of short snacks to munch on. It not only keeps them motivated but also saves them a lot of time going out to far places just to grab lunch. You could engage an in-house chef to make lunch for everyone in the office or you could get some one deliver food at your work place everyday. Later when you grow into next level you could get more flexible and include breakfast and lunch serving different cuisines too.
Working for few months on a project, can make one wear out. Taking occasional breaks to getaways can prove beneficial in breaking their mundane routine blues. Plan on group getaways. This will also help in building strong inter-team relations, and would let them help each other in conditions outside the office. In turn, contributing to a greater workplace culture with closer bonds.
Research has proven that at least 15 minutes of power nap is required for efficient functioning of a person. It relaxes their mind and brings down the stress level.
6. Work life Balance:
It’s important for everyone in the company to maintain a work life balance. Flexible and concise working hours help your people to be productive and also have a sound personal life. Both are important to strike a chord with your people. Work when done within the stipulated span of time is always considered effective, anything beyond that would be a sluggish attempt.
7. Perks that are out of the world:
To give you a fair idea, a lot of companies have Bring Your Own Beer (BYOB) Fridays, BBQ evenings on the weekend , Travel expense cover, Xbox challenges, Tickets to any movies every month, Weekly yoga or dance classes or anything that you can come up with. It’s up to you to see what best fits your culture, mostly importantly ask your people what they would like to include.
8. Being transparent:
You need to be transparent to your people when you are going through difficult times, give them the clear-cut picture of whats happening. They’ll either stick with you through this and you’ll get by fine or you’ll at least help them decide on the next step they have to take. Painting a rosy picture when the company is in deep trouble or when things aren’t going fine, isn’t going to help anyone.
9. Give them a long-term vision and scope for their growth:
When there is no room for improvement eventually people tend to look for other opportunities outside of your company. Frequent increases in their salary and provisions for them to take up challenging roles would give them a spectrum of scope in your company. This would in turn impact your productivity ten fold (in a good way) .
To build a start-up culture, these are the basic building blocks, you could use them as a primer to form your own values and reflecting it in your people.
Most importantly, You cannot wish that everyone would stay in your company forever; at least you can make their stay a memorable one. right?
In the words of Marc Benioff,
The secret to successful hiring is this: look for the people who want to change the world.
–Marc Benioff, Salesforce CEO