Building Company Culture in a Startup Business
“When your organization’s culture is in alignment with your goals and you hire people who
share your values and enthusiasm, you are paving the way to financial success and building an outstanding reputation.”
-Eric Siu [CEO, Single Grain. Founder, Growth Everywhere, Contributor to Entrepreneur.com]
What is the company culture? Entrepreneur.com defines company culture as “a blend of the values, beliefs, taboos, symbols, rituals, and myths all companies develop over time.” In other words, it is the way in which the company is perceived by the people working for the company.
Culture includes the way staff are treated, valued, and respected for their skills and as a person. This covers company benefits and perks; support to achieve professional and personal development; encouragement to share the vision; mission and goals of the company; and opportunities created by the company for workers to give back to the community. When a good balance is achieved with all these elements, a company’s culture will be healthy, vibrant, and profitable for all its stakeholders.
In fact, statistics show that the company’s culture actually has a direct impact on employee turnover, which in turn affects productivity, profitability, and therefore its long-term viability. Disgruntled employees are more likely to take time off; under-perform or do only the minimum; feel unappreciated; lack interest in the company’s image, reputation, goals, or development; and feel totally disinterested and divested in the company.
These kind of workers are referred to as 'disengaged.' Disengaged workers will cost a company. According to a Gallup survey in 2001*, “Actively disengaged workers penalizes US economic performance by about $300 billion, or a figure nearly equal to the nation’s defense budget.”
On the other hand, a happy employee is perhaps one of your company’s greatest asset. Not only will they positively impact the company’s bottom line through increased productivity, they will also feel personally valued and vested in the success of the company. This will show up through increased personal commitment; pride in performing well; readiness to contribute innovative and improved workable solutions; corporate loyalty and a reluctance to leave the company; and decreasing staff turnover. They will see the company’s success as well as their own.
Customers interacting with satisfied employees will have a more positive experience which they will want to repeat, recommend, and applaud. This means free marketing via “word-of-mouth.” In today’s market place, word of mouth means comments and shares on social media platforms; arguably the most crucial kind of marketing available to companies. All this goes to ensure that your company invests in securing a healthy, positive work environment.
This is an investment that keeps on giving and continuously pays high dividends. It is advisable for every Startup to realize that even if there are only a handful of people in the early days, the kind of culture that is established will in the long run impact the longevity and profitability for the venture. Invest in getting the company culture right, and you will have solid foundations for continued growth and success.