Sustaining motivation and keeping your team inspired is a challenge for companies of any size. But, keeping your startup inspired can often seem like a full-time job . Being together every day, working long hours, and having taxing deadlines can create stressful times and grumpy employees. How do you avoid these low periods and keep your employees motivated and your startup inspired to move forward? Here are a few suggestions on how to engage and motivate employees in a startup work environment.
Keeping Your Startup Inspired Through Trust
Showing employees you trust them and respect their decisions can make them feel valued during stressful times. Employees will produce more creative work if they feel you trust them to experiment with ideas. For example, Google allows their employees what they call 20 percent time. This is time spent one day a week to work on side projects, or work that they are internally interested in. Though Google has set rules and regulations about 20 percent time, it still allows employees the freedom to pursue new ideas and foster innovation. It is important that they know their contribution to the company genuinely matters. Feeling valued and trusted by an employer gives the employee the autonomy to produce their best work, and can keep your startup inspired to move on to the next challenge.
Keeping Your Startup Inspired Through Flexibility
Employees all work in different ways. Some are more productive in the mornings while others may get their best work done during the later hours. It is important to understand your employees’ strong suits, and be flexible about where and when they work. Examples of everyday tasks that employees may need to balance are: child care, going back to school, or even commute times. If a flexible work schedule is established, it increases your employees’ abilities to produce – they will have the freedom and flexibility to manage their own schedules. However, just having a flexible policy isn’t enough. It is your job to ensure that your employees understand what is expected of them and enforce communication and accountability around their schedules.That way, you can identify employees that may be struggling with your policy around a flexible work environment, or who seems to be slacking more than others. This freedom can help keep employees happy, and builds another level of trust and faith within the company to keep your startup inspired – but communication and accountability are the key components to ensure nobody takes advantage of it.
Keeping Your Startup Inspired Through Transparency
Being open with employees about success, failure, and new information is important to keeping motivation strong and your startup inspired. Communicating key information and decisions to your employees, and collaboratively asking for ideas and feedback will help with innovation. If employees feel able to contribute ideas, it boosts company morale and helps the team produce better results. PricewaterhouseCooper implemented a strategy known as iPlace. This is a hub for employees to submit ideas, and vote and comment on their colleagues submissions. This invites employees to actively engage with the company, and suggest concepts that can evolve into real solutions. Solutions like these increase engagement, and help employees feel that they understand better what needs to happen next to continue company success.
By first creating a strong base of trust, then building it up through flexibility and transparency, employees will feel valued and motivated. These characteristics help create a strong company culture, and outline the values and norms of the work environment while keeping your team and startup inspired. Culture is strategic, and must be communicated and lived out daily by your employees. These three pillars can help to better reduce stress, build up your culture and provide employees with a work environment they want to return to everyday.