Your office must be geared toward being positive and productive at every turn, and that means designing its culture around that concept. It’s one of your most important tasks as an entrepreneur, and one you have to get right as much as possible in the first go. That’s because an office culture isn’t just about having the right rules, it’s about having the right people. Changing your office culture midstride will result in expensive turnovers and time-consuming adjustments. Here are a few things Jason Kulpa, the CEO of UE.co, suggests keeping in mind when designing it.
1. Hire the Right People and Correct Errors Immediately
Part of what will make your company culture work involves the people you hire. Different people have different preferences. It doesn’t make them better or worse workers most of the time, but it impacts how they thrive and perform at your start-up. When faced with two equally skilled applicants, the tie-breaker is how they’ll fit into your company.
Your managers and human resources department should keep an eye on all new hires. What seemed like a good match during the interview process may not work in action. Identify any errors in hiring and replace them immediately. Better to suffer turnover costs now than to have them burn out during an important project.
2. Build Around Your Core Team’s Strengths
Part of succeeding as an entrepreneur involves determining which strengths to use and focus on. Ideally, you’ll build your company culture around the core team, the employees who you expect will be with the company longer than a year. If you have managed to get your hands on a number of independent workers, give them more autonomy to speed up the decision-making process and make your company more flexible. If you have skilled workers, but they need micromanagement, bring it all in and stress the importance of constant and clear communication between departments.
This idea can continue into the future if you desire. If a position is designed around autonomy, make sure any replacements for that position can handle the responsibilities involved.
3. Verbalize Goals Frequently
Written mission statements and monthly meetings are good, but they’re not enough. Your employees are put under a lot of pressure, possibly constantly. They need to be reminded of the company’s overarching plans and goals. This will focus their efforts.
It’s also a great way to instill in others the same joy and passion you have for your dream. Your employees will see your enthusiasm, and while not everyone will be infected, getting one or two people fired up can send your message echoing through the office and into new hires from that point onward.
4. Keep Employees Learning
If you want to be a successful entrepreneur, you’ll want to keep learning and adapting. If you want a strong and productive company culture, make sure employees do the same. That means giving them opportunities to learn.
How you present those opportunities is up to you and the way the company is structured. Having them temporarily work in different positions or allowing them to coordinate closely with other departments will give them the kind of training and experience they wouldn’t get otherwise. This can lead to a more harmonious work environment.
5. Make Your Office a Place Employees Can be Proud Of
Pride and passion are powerful emotions that most people can see at a glance. Customers who see those emotions in your employees will realize that your team is made up of people who are happy to be at their jobs, which indicates high job satisfaction, low turnover rate, and stability. These three things are appealing to potential investors as well.
How you achieve that level of satisfaction depends mostly on the context within which your employees do their jobs, but it’s going to revolve around treating them well in as many ways as possible. That includes, but is not limited to, the quality of their workspaces, benefits and compensation, and an understanding of how their efforts fit into the company’s progress and goals.
How you fare as an entrepreneur is impacted by the quality of your office culture. If you fail to establish one, your employees will lack focus and direction. If you make a bad one, your company to be a far cry from the one you envisioned. It takes time to figure out the kind of company you want, so don’t panic if it doesn’t happen overnight. Focus on the values you want you and your people to embody, and it will come to you.
About Jason Kulpa:
Jason Kulpa is the founder and CEO of UE.co, an Inc. Fastest Growing Company that delivers cutting-edge marketing products and services. After graduating from the W.P. Carey School of Business at Arizona State, Mr. Kulpa made a career from encouraging growth in several exciting areas of the tech industry. He is San Diego Business Journal’s “Most Admired CEO” for 2018.
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