Make Culture A Priority: Five Steps To Create A Happy And Successful Startup From The Outset

By: Entrepreneur Middle East


SOURCE: Entrepreneur Middle East - Make Culture A Priority: Five Steps To Create A Happy And Successful Startup From The Outset

Creating the right company culture from the outset will give your startup more chance of success in the UAE. Happy employees are 12% more productive than the average worker, so it pays to have a strong company culture from the start.

A winning culture will also help you attract talent and drive profits. Get it right and employees will be clamoring to work for you and customers will want to buy into your culture. But to create a happy and successful startup from the outset, be ready to do the following things:

1. Define your company values

What do the world’s top startups have in common? They’ve mastered the art of company culture. And it all starts with defining values.

Establishing core values and making sure your team upholds them from the word “go” will help you grow your company the way you want. It will also provide the platform to build a great team.

Be personal. Base your values around what you genuinely believe in. Don’t try to copy the values of other successful startups, whether it’s Twitter or Airbnb. While these companies may appear to have similar cultures to yours, the core values of the founders may be quite different. Only you will know what values you want your company to stand for. Sit down with co-founders, directors or partners and write these values down.

Build your values into your strategy and make sure everyone involved in the startup upholds these from the outset. Typical themes to consider include transparency, flexibility, inclusivity and staff empowerment (as opposed to micro-managing).

Decide how you want to get things done in terms of structure and hierarchy. This includes anything from company policies to division of responsibilities, performance measurement, team building and incentives. Being clear and accountable at the beginning will build confidence in your startup.

2. Hire people who fit

Company culture boils down to people, and the actions they take. So, it is critical that the people you hire understand, and follow your company values.

To avoid recruiting mistakes, develop specific hiring guidelines based on your core values. This will allow you to build a team with shared common goals, enabling people to work together successfully.

Having a strong company culture, or at least the values upon which to build that culture, will help you attract the most talented individuals. Be clear about your values and the culture you are developing when you interview candidates. Check their understanding of your values and what they believe them to mean. This will help you decide which candidates are the best fit.

3. Communicate your culture

Once you have a great team in place, you’ll want to keep them. At Airbnb, employees are kept in the loop on major company happenings and big decisions. It sounds obvious but it’s surprising how few companies actually do this.

Keeping employees informed gives them a sense of ownership and purpose in the company. This helps drive engagement. Good communication isn’t just about management. It’s about all levels of a business, as well as customers, suppliers and other stakeholders.

DHL was winner of the best place to work in the UAE several years in a row and has developed a culture of openness and flexible working. The company also provides access to continuous learning and development programs.

By winning the award, the company has shown that it has developed a culture it can be proud of and is intent on communicating that culture to attract and retain talent.

4. Show appreciation

How will you show your appreciation when someone’s done a great job? One way is to get out your phone and Hi5 them. It’s like a real high five for the digital age.

Hi5 is a new wave of tech companies offering novel ways to foster company culture. The idea is to give people “enabler tools,” so they feel more engaged. This will enhance performance. As well as showing appreciation, users can view and anonymously rate individuals. Managers can track the progress of employees, and monitor goals and values across the company via a dashboard.

Of course, you don’t need to invest in technology to show appreciation. But it certainly can help– especially if you aim to build a tech-savvy workforce. It can also be a quick way to embed a fun and inclusive working environment.

A more traditional way to show appreciation is to offer perks. But be creative: think about what would really make a difference to individual and team morale– whether that’s free breakfasts, exercise classes, flexible vacations, or guest lecturers.

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