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How Startup Cultures Can Engrain Smart Protocols From Day One

by Manish Dudharejia, President and Founder of E2M Solutions Inc

Startups require unique, passionate environments, especially during those first few months. Everyone is full of ideas and ready to embrace something new. Birthing a new company can be a stressful process, but it’s also a time of powerful change and excitement for those who are involved.

Because those first weeks are often so uncertain, it’s common for things to dissolve into chaos, especially once the ball starts rolling. It’s essential to establish a strong culture from day one that pushes your organization toward success, even as your startup takes off.

Here’s how startups can begin instilling a productive system of action from the get-go. Not only will establishing these effective protocols save you time and money, but it will also make your new company a more enjoyable place for old and new employees to work.

Eliminate Confusion About Brand Standards. 

Now is the time to firmly define the company’s standards and protocols. Ideally, the values you come up with here should reflect from the logos and colors to more permanent details like the business name. Doing this early on will help avoid problems with inconsistency and prevent your team members from spending hours debating details. Plus, by establishing the brand standards at the beginning, you’ll make it easy for new employees to understand the rules as soon as they join in the future.

Brand standards aren’t just about designs. These guidelines can also dictate how your company behaves in certain situations by defining the core values, mission, and personality of the business as a whole.

When content is produced, what is the brand’s voice? When customer service issues arise, what is your number one goal? Answering these questions can steer you toward a clear picture of your future and establish your branding power.

Although this may seem like a complicated task at the beginning of a startup, it’s smart to work on shaping the future of the company from day one. This leaves less room for errors, especially once you bring on new employees.

Determine How Time Will Be Tracked.

In a startup environment, it’s easy to track time and responsibilities with the honor code. The team is likely small and close-knit, making it easy to hold everyone accountable without rigid standards in regards to project management. However, that will change as the business grows and takes on new employees. Managing half a dozen team members is very different from working with a team of twenty or thirty.

Start planning ahead now by looking into task management tools and systems that will help with productivity and time management. Platforms like Wrike, Trello, and Asana make it simple to assign projects to people and monitor their progress.

Additionally, these services provide a form of in-house communication that can dissuade people from scheduling unnecessary meetings.

According to Atlassian’s surveys, roughly 59 percent of United States workers say that communication is their team’s biggest obstacle to success, followed by problems with accountability. Although you might not see these problems now, they will come with time. Avoid them as much as possible by establishing a time-tracking task management system today. Even though the cost might seem tough to justify early on, having concrete processes established before rapid growth is priceless in the long run.

Make Your Work Environment Fun But Productive.

More and more companies today are focusing on promoting “fun” workplace environments. It’s not just for enjoyment – it’s also to foster a healthy work environment. When the Fortune “100 Best Companies to Work For” list came out in 2018, 81 percent of the employees that worked at “great” companies also claimed they work in a “fun” environment. Clearly, there’s some kind of correlation between success and fun, even if we’re not sure exactly what it is.

Research has indicated time and time again that employee happiness is an integral aspect of a company’s success. That’s why an increasing number of businesses, especially new companies, are focusing on employee wellness and positivity alongside productivity. A Deloitte 2018 Human Trends report revealed that more than 40 percent of all workers suffer from high stress that negatively impacts their productivity.

Some great ways to facilitate a happy workplace environment and culture include:

  • Giving positive and negative feedback with constructive advice
  • Promoting professional and courteous behavior among all employees
  • Rewarding good work with praise and promotions
  • Handling HR problems discreetly so everyone feels safe
  • Treating all employees fairly

A word of caution: beware of “fun” additions to the office that don’t actually contribute to a productive culture or care for employees’ wellbeing. In other words, no, you don’t need that ping pong table. It’s okay (and even beneficial) to establish a workplace that loves to laugh, but you certainly don’t want to encourage a company culture that thrives on wasted time.

Be Transparent and Hold People Accountable.

Although you don’t want to waste time in pointless meetings, communication is key in a startup culture. Ideas are born with discussion and brainstorming sessions, of which you’ll have plenty of in those first few months.

In these many discussions, don’t shy away from transparency and accountability on a company scale. Be direct about who is accountable for what tasks and how projects are progressing. Even if the news isn’t great, you want your startup to be built on a culture of authenticity.

About 31 percent of employees surveyed by Kimble Applications said that more transparency regarding the overall health of the business would allow them to better understand their employer’s goals. Additionally, 23 percent of these employees said that transparency would make them more motivated.

People value being in the loop, so establish that as a precedent now. Let people have a say in the future of the company, and hold people accountable to both company goals and their personal goals.

In Summation.

Being a part of a startup company provides you with the unique opportunity to build a culture of productivity and success from the ground up. Don’t wait until the business has grown to start implementing these aspects; plant the seeds while the core concepts of the company are still growing. The stronger your protocols are from day one, the better off your organization will be in the future.

 

Manish Dudharejia is the President and Founder of E2M Solutions Inc, a San Diego Based Digital Agency that specializes in Website Design & Development and eCommerce SEO. With over 10 years of experience in the Technology and Digital Marketing industry, Manish is passionate about helping online businesses to take their branding to the next level.

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This is an article contributed to Young Upstarts and published or republished here with permission. All rights of this work belong to the authors named in the article above.

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