5 Steps to Build the Best Culture for a New Business

One of the advantages of launching a new business is that you’re able to develop the company culture from the ground up. This is the easiest time, by far, in your firm’s history to design and promote the type of working environment that will attract talent and help you stand out. Here are five ways to create a culture that’s aligned with your venture’s values. 

1. Articulate your company’s purpose and values. 

Begin by deciding what purpose you’re trying to achieve with your business. What motivated you to start the company? Who are your customers? How are you planning to offer value in the marketplace with your product or service? Write a clear and compelling statement that sums up the purpose of your enterprise. 

From this place you can develop the values your business will be known for. Outlining the values sends a concrete message not only to potential customers but to anyone who wants to work for you. Individuals with the expertise you need are looking for a workplace where they’ll feel comfortable and respected – and an employer with values that align with their own where they can stay and grow a career.  

2. Recruit the right people. 

Make sure you’re attracting the best potential hires with a little research. In addition to looking closely at the skillsets applicants say they have, find out how people heard of your enterprise. How familiar are they with what you do? Are they simply responding to a job advertisement, or do they have relevant passions that make them a good fit for your company—beyond meeting your desired and required qualifications? 

Next, be sure that you’re using a thoughtful resume screening and hiring process that will help you select individuals who will support the kind of positive workplace culture you desire. While a lot of energy and effort is needed to hire and onboard new staff, this is critical work that can’t be curtailed. There is a lot to lose, especially for a new endeavor, if employees with a viewpoint or behavior that’s at odds with your fledgling culture are chosen. 

3. Engage your employees emotionally, intellectually, and professionally. 

The success of your new business depends in a large part on the performance of your staff. Take the time required to help them grow professionally. This goes beyond having regular performance reviews which, of course, you should implement as soon as you have people in positions. 

Develop a formal employee engagement plan to set goals and establish expectations. Provide opportunities for your more enthusiastic team members to channel their passions toward both company and their specific professional goals. Establish a mentorship program in which more experienced staff are paired with colleagues who would benefit from their skill set and institutional knowledge. 

In addition, find ways to engage workers on an informal basis daily. Something as simple as having the CEO or managers take their morning coffee in the break room with everyone else can have untold benefits. The casual coaching and encouragement that ensues creates a strong workplace culture in which everyone’s contribution is valued. 

Above all, stay curious about what’s working and what isn’t in terms of supporting your people, then take steps to change or experiment with new approaches to round out insufficiencies or otherwise improve your current process. Try out suggestions even if you’re skeptical. Look at it as an adventure, and your attitude will help convince others to take risks to make things better. 

4. Recognize and reward employees who demonstrate excellence. 

Recognition demonstrates to your employees that their contribution is appreciated. It’s not uncommon for new companies to implement a formal reward program that gives high performers public kudos. These come in many forms. It could be a certificate for achieving the top sales record for a given month. It might involve a perk like a gift certificate or a prime parking spot for a time period. The common denominator is that everyone knows what the goal is and the prize they’ll earn for reaching it. 

Definitely keep whatever formal award program the firm has since this is one way people like to be acknowledged. Having said that, a good workplace culture should include other methods for recognizing the contributions employees make. Impromptu celebrations to honor someone who has shown extraordinary efforts in some fashion must also be the norm. 

5. Celebrate your success as a company. 

Celebrating on a grander scale is also important. Build into your budding company culture the intention of marking major milestones as a team when the business reaches them. Commemorate these occurrences with employees of all levels, without whose hard work and expertise the company would not be able to achieve its goals. 

Find a time and location where everyone can gather and mingle. Regardless of a person’s role within the company, their contribution is valued. This approach can have a legitimate snowball effect in creating and sustaining a great culture. 

Strong company culture is not an accident. 

By taking these five deliberate steps: articulate your firm’s values; hire the best people; engage your employees; recognize their hard work; and celebrate successes together, your new enterprise will be well on the road to developing a company culture that is the envy of your competitors.