Corporate culture for start-ups: 6 tips for practical implementation

Corporate culture for start-ups: 6 tips for practical implementation

Arguably, every startup wants a corporate culture that allows everyone on the team to feel comfortable and thrive. But how do you implement successful external and internal communication on a day-to-day basis, within which you live the values your start-up stands for?? Founders and studies reveal it. There are many articles with theoretical tips for establishing a corporate culture. But what can you do concretely and in your everyday life to cultivate this culture?? Four successful entrepreneurs tell you. Being able to rely on each other and stick together – what sounds so banal for the corporate culture is actually a daily challenge. 

#1 Appreciate each individual

If there is no criticism, praise is enough.

This attitude has fatal consequences, because your team members need praise and recognition for the work they do every day. For example, a study by relocation agency Suite&Co found that professionals value appreciation from the boss more than status symbols. According to the study evaluation:

A dream car for the weekend, a weekend trip or concierge services? According to the study, this is not important to the majority of professionals. Rather, what counts are appreciative words from the supervisor: More than three-quarters of all surveyed (76 percent) professionals believe that an appreciative thank you for special achievements can be motivating.

And the best part is: this form of appreciation is completely free of charge. If you present them honestly.

#2 Maintain open communication

A mosquito can quickly become an elephant if points of conflict are not addressed at an early stage. Helen from R3SOLUTE has a good solution for this, straight from everyday business life:

If there is a problem, which happens very rarely, we always seek open dialog and find a solution. It's important to us that everyone gets their money's worth, and open communication plays a big role in that.

With this open communication, which is actually cultivated and not just claimed in the job description, companies can quickly resolve dissatisfaction. It is crucial that this communication does not follow the top-down principle and is free of fear. Helen continues:

In my opinion, the most important thing is that everyone in the team is heard and can address their suggestions but also concerns at any time without constraint and in a familiar setting.

Confidential employee meetings are ideal for this purpose. Conduct these regularly to show appreciation and address the individual needs of your team members.

#3 Give room for ideas

Of course you want employees to use their hours efficiently. However, efficiency does not mean leaving them no room for developing their own ideas and concepts. Therefore, dare to give your team time for experiments. You will be amazed at the ideas that can develop as a result of such a free space. It takes some courage and certainly not every employee will use this space for proactive, creative work. After a few test runs, however, you will quickly see who is contributing. Then you can promote this employee in a targeted manner, which is a gain for both sides.

#4 Spicing up everyday life with team events

Sitting in the office day in, day out – how boring! A holistic corporate culture also includes regularly organizing exciting employee events. This brings a breath of fresh air to the daily routine and prevents it from being too monotonous. How about stand-up paddling, for example?? For more ideas, check out our article: Spicing up team events: 3 original ideas and tips for a tight budget.

#5 Check compatibility of applicants

You will save yourself many disappointments if you check at an early stage whether new employees can identify with your corporate culture. What is meant here is not only the professional suitability. Just as important is the interpersonal aspect, as Doreen Huber, founder of LEMONCAT GmbH knows:

To build a competent team that works and drives the company forward, it is not enough to just put smart people with impressive resumes and the necessary skills in a room and let them do it.

Instead, social skills and the ability to work in a team are important. For example, Doreen has introduced a special procedure for personnel selection:

All new employees go through a culture check before they are finally hired to determine whether the person is also a good fit for LEMONCAT on a human level.

Only those employees are hired with whom the personnel manager would also go on vacation. Of course, this only works on the basis of maximum compatibility with the corporate culture. With this attitude, you keep employees away who do not fit into your culture. Diversity is another key point of a functioning corporate culture, as Helen Winter, Co-Founder and CEO of the non-profit organization R3SOLUTE confirms:

R3SOLUTE's team is gender-diverse and intercultural, covering many different disciplines including law, medicine, business, social work, conflict management and psychology. This diversity enriches our daily work and allows us to treat each other with respect.

#6 Only hire employees who are convincing

The better your employees fit into your corporate culture, the more promising the collaboration will be. Wouldn't it be helpful to separate the wheat from the chaff early on in a selection process that is as automated as possible? This would not only be helpful, but is also feasible, as a start-up reveals in the next tip.

Bosses and employees are jointly responsible for the corporate culture

Employees need an environment where their opinions are taken seriously, listened to and respected. Ask yourselves as founders, superiors CEOs etc. Honestly: Are you really open for this mutual honesty?. It takes a lot of courage and is not easy to learn.

In addition, employees themselves should have an interest in actively shaping the corporate culture. So that everyone in the team can develop their potential and feel comfortable in the workplace

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