How The CEO Can Nurture The Culture Within A Startup

One of the most important aspects of building a business is to create a fantastic culture. The culture of your business should drive the organisation. It should be the heart behind the business, the pulse. Your organisation’s culture should also inspire you and your employees to work harder, to innovate harder and most importantly, to drive the business forward on a daily basis.

However, culture is not that easy to create, let alone build, especially in this day and age where businesses are incorporating an ever wider and more diverse staff base into their workforce.

The CEO can make a huge difference in driving forward the development and adopted of an organisation’s culture, but how?

1. Always put your workforce first

As the boss, think about how you are best inspired. Did someone manage you all the way through the setting up of your business? Probably not, so think about how you can best manage your workforce without controlling all they do. You need to inspire them not control them.

Make sure they know you care about them as an individual, and as such value them as a member of your team. The more effort you put into getting to know your team and putting them first, the more they will give you and the business in return.

Share your time, share your experiences, and provide an environment for employees to grow and learn. The harder you work to give them your time, the more productivity you will see.

2. Be a CEO your workforce can look to for support and guidance

As CEO, you need to be someone your staff can look towards for support and guidance whenever they come across challenges or scary times at work. People need to know their leader, i.e. you will be a voice of reason, a pillar of strength. Keep this in mind when responding to the scary times and challenges. Don’t panic, as this will set the tone for everyone else.

If you stay positive and determined, your staff will take strength from you and react in a similar manner, thus ensuring your business is steered through the rocky times that might be ahead.

3. Be a mentor to your staff

Letting your employees shine is an important factor of creating an organisational culture that everyone will be able to thrive in. Take the time to find out what your staff needs are and be a mentor to your staff. Ensure you take time to listen to their thoughts and feedback and take it on board where you can. In turn, you should male time to give individual staff members advice and support, and to help with their development.

It is also important to be transparent with your staff. Don’t hide your vision for the company, get everyone involved. It will be much more exciting for everyone at your company if they can all see they have a part to play.

4. Always remember that you are representing the entire company

You must keep in mind that you are your company. Your company should embody your entrepreneurial spirit and that is where the culture will stem from. A successful company culture should make your employees feel proud to work for you. You need to give them the desire to brag about where they work, instead of complain about it!

A good CEO will speak about their employees when they are interviewed by media. They will talk about how the culture in the workplace inspires them, thus creating a sense of pride amongst staff members. A successful culture will inspire not only your workforce but the external audience too, who should want to work for you.

5. Don’t forget about your entrepreneurial spirit

Don’t forget about where you came from and what drove you, the entrepreneur, to get to where you are now. Entrepreneurs are, by nature, creative, competitive, deep thinkers and business developers. Don’t let these characteristics fade away. Inspire these same characteristics in your own workforce. Don’t let them settle for second best in anything they do; drive them towards being the best.

At the same time, keep in mind the vital factor of work versus life balance. People work best when they are allowed to be themselves, so encourage people to bring their personalities to work (within reason) and ensure you allow a sense of fun to infiltrate whatever project you are working on.   

6. Set the right tone for the workplace

As the CEO it is obviously important to set the right tone for the workplace. After all, you do not want there to be a lack of respect at work but you do want it to be a place your employees enjoy working. You can set the right tone by leading by example, i.e. chatting about your home life and asking other staff questions about theirs. This will encourage staff to open up to each other and create a bond, which will help them work together better and want to deliver, not just for themselves but for their co-workers too.

7. Make an effort to connect with your staff

It would be unrealistic to attempt to have a personal relationship with each and every member of your staff. However, you do need to make the effort to speak with each person regularly, whether it’s just a morning ‘hello’ or something deeper. It is, however, definitely recommended to get to know each of them by name. This will go a long way towards creating a culture where everyone feels like everyone’s in it together, working towards the same goal.

You need to make a special effort as CEO to show your workforce that you care about them and value them. It’s a good idea to start with new hires, this way you can show them they matter right from the very beginning.