Make sure you’re making the most out of your start-up culture advantage with these five tips:
Tip #1: Empower Your Employees
Helping your employees grow is an important part of your and their success. According to a survey of discontented workers by answers.com, 48 percent didn’t feel that their employers understand their career goals.
Action Items: Encourage your team to invest in themselves, and nurture their interests. One Tech Park CEO, Devin Zito of Teknarus, even motivates his employees to start their own entrepreneurial side projects.
“I have faith in my employees, and prove that by encouraging them to challenge themselves,” says Zito. “By encouraging them to become entrepreneurs, I let them know that I believe they can succeed in anything. I also find improves their bottom-line focus.”
Tip #2: Show Workers Their Impact
Many workers are drawn to start-ups because they feel like they can make a difference. This is why many talented new workers are avoiding Google; they don’t want to be a cog, even if the machine is a famous tech giant.
So make sure your employees feel like they make a difference.
Action Item: Try a few of these with your employees to show them their value:
- Brag on them at networking events
- Show them growth numbers and percentages
- Give them benchmarks to shoot for
- Ask them for advice
Tip #3: Play Up Local Lifestyle
Like it or not, your local environment—the place your company lives—affects your workers see their jobs. So if you’re in a rundown office in a boring town, you workers may not be giving it 100%.
Action Item: Find something positive about local culture, and connect your workers to that.
Are there hiking hotspots nearby? Great restaurants? Football games? Most towns have at least a few good things going for them. Find them, and encourage your workers to give them a try.
Tip #4: Develop Your Company’s Personality
Start-ups tend to have more charisma than big companies. This gives workers a better sense of identity, a place and purpose.
Playing up your company’s personality can strengthen this connection, which leads to stronger employee engagement and retention.
Action Item: Identify key aspects to your company’s personality, and invest some petty cash. Is your staff young and energetic? Go out for some drinks. Are they like a family? Get an office dog. Creative? Purchase some office toys.
Tip #5: Give Gifts that Count
Gifting is tricky in big companies; they have to have enough for everyone. But you’re not encumbered in that way. So a little generosity can go a long way.
Action Item: Give small gifts from time to time.
Here are some gifts the Tech Park sometimes gives to its clients’ employees
- Free food
- Office equipment
Here are some unique gifts Tech Park CEOs say their workers appreciate the most:
- Founder’s walls, with placards and honoraria
- Birthday celebrations
- Website recognition
- Time off/ early close/ late open
To compete at the highest levels, you as an entrepreneur need to leverage every tool at your disposal.
Start-up culture is one of the most powerful advantages you have. Use it, nurture it, love it – and reap the benefits.
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