If you’re a budding entrepreneur growing your startup to the point where it’s finally time to bring on a few more people, you’re in an excellent position to create a thriving company culture from day one. This doesn’t have to be a deeply formalized project where you lay out principles, best practices, team-building exercises and an employee vision and mission statement; that will probably cause your new team’s eyes to glaze over, anyway.
All you really need to do is to create a means by which your employees are fully engaged in the process of moving your organization forward. Here are a few benefits of this type of full-spectrum employee engagement.
- Less Turnover: Whether you’re a startup or a megacorporation, it pays to keep your employees within your organization for as long as possible. The stark numbers as discovered in a University of Columbia study are that employers with rich company cultures average a 13.9% likelihood of job turnover, whereas employers with poor corporate cultures face a staggering 48.4% probability of job turnover.
- Greater Profitability: When your employees feel like they’re all on the same team pulling for the company, they’re happier at their jobs. Not only does this keep the turnover rate way down, it pumps up productivity, which in turn can boost profitability. On the other hand, if your workers are actively disengaged, they’re disconnected from what you’re trying to do as a company, stressed, and significantly less productive. In a national survey, GMJ found that actively disengaged workers missed 118.3 million more days of work and another 33.3 million days for illness; they were estimated to have sapped $300 billion from the nation’s productivity as a whole. If you turn these numbers around, you’ll quickly realize just how much having actively engaged workers can help your company achieve its goals.
- Measure Results: As a small business, you’re in the enviable position of being able to initiate a goals process from the start of your team. This makes it incredibly easy to measure their results over time. Everyone is starting from the same place with similar experience at your organization, i.e. square one, so it will be comparatively simple to get a handle on departmental and overall performance. You don’t need to put them all under the gun of a hard growth goal – missing such a goal can harm morale – but you’ll be able to easily see what’s working and what’s not and make adjustments accordingly.
- Customer Satisfaction: As your team begins to gel and you start working like rock stars to bring your product or service to your customers, customers and prospects alike are going to take note that they’re dealing with sharp, upbeat people who know their stuff and care about their end result. This knowledge in and of itself is a key driver of return customers, and working to make life better for these customers in a tangible way gives your employees even more pride in what they’re doing.
The above is just a snapshot of the myriad benefits that can be garnered from creating a thriving employee culture. And though it can be difficult to monetize these benefits, we know from experience that employee-centric, interactive corporate cultures pay huge dividends. Just think Google. How many of the brightest minds chose to put their all into applying for a shot at Google over a more traditional company like Sun Microsystems? Google was doing more than just breaking down technical barriers; they were breaking down organizational barriers as well. And if you create your culture with the same goals in mind, you could reap similar rewards.