How to build a people-first culture in your startup.
Examples and ideas to build a sustainable people-first culture in your startup.
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Question: How do I build a people-first culture when we have limited resources to spend on employee outings? Is this something that can wait until later while we focus on profit?
This is a topic that’s near and dear to me. In my experience, these two items aren’t mutually exclusive: you can support your people, and build a healthy, profitable venture at the same time.
But building that culture is easier said than done. Outside of actually building products people want (which is its own feat and is outside the scope of this post), helping team members feel supported is more than beer on tap and employee happy-hours—it starts systematically.
It should not be ignored, and not be put off. Day 0 is the perfect time to be thinking about people—in addition to your product development and go-to-market strategy.
Funny enough, I’ve gotten a lot of pushback on this specific point before. “Founders should only focus on GTM that early!” some people say. I call bullshit. Not just because your company is always more than a product, but the proof is in the numbers.
According to a Gallup study, only 35% of U.S. employees are actively engaged in their jobs (while 51% are not engaged and 14% are actively disengaged). By Gallup's estimates, the "not engaged" and “actively disengaged” groups cost the U.S. $319 billion to $398 billion annually in lost productivity.
In addition, a clear and direct connection exists between cultures that prioritize employee engagement, and successful business outcomes. Surprise, surprise: disengaged employees have a strongly negative effect on company goals.
There are many different approaches to fixing this monumental problem: using better employee engagement tools, like what we’re building at Basewell, is one of them. Building strong people-first policy into your culture at day 0 is another.
Let’s take a look at some successful people-first initiatives, and determine how to build similar ones into our ventures:
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