Apr 27, 2020

The Unique Role of Culture in Startups

Ray Gibson Written by Ray Gibson

Let’s face it, we often hear about culture and how important it is to have a good one at your startup. Articles, books, podcasts and TED Talks often discuss work culture and its impact. 

At startups, culture should receive the same importance and priority status as fundraising, productivity and user research. You probably already know culture is not just those occasional team outings or that Xbox in the office. :)

It’s much more than that - it affects our day-to-day life and it’s important to know how.

A 2015 article from the Harvard Business Review is currently trending online, talking about why positive work cultures are more productive. And a recent survey commissioned by the Workforce Institute at Kronos found that 24% of respondents reported that toxic work culture was the top reason for burnout. Gallup also found that only 33% of American workers are engaged by their jobs, while 17% report being “actively disengaged.”

These are good enough reasons to understand and accept that culture impacts day-to-day business.

A lot of companies believe that cut-throat pressure and stress can drive better performance, and while that may be true, these companies overlook hidden costs. For example, a negative work culture can increase employee healthcare expenses by almost 50%, on average! It is also a path to employee disengagement, burnout, lack of loyalty, high employee turnover - trust us, you want to focus on building a good culture.

Startup founders have a unique opportunity - to start afresh and decide what kind of culture to build. So what are some things you should know about how culture affects your startup?

Culture Impacts The Decision-Making of Job-Seekers
You don’t attract potential candidates with just a nice paycheck anymore. They care about many other factors - like, do your company’s values align with their values? Is there a rigid hierarchy and lots of red tape? In 2019, a survey by Glassdoor revealed that 3 out of 4 job-seekers would consider the company’s culture before applying to a job. Additionally, 73% of candidates won’t even apply to a job if the company’s values didn’t align with theirs. A positive culture can set your company up as a brand that candidates aspire to be a part of.

Culture Impacts Your Teammates
Salary may be an important factor, but culture is becoming increasingly relevant every day. 65% of employees say that a good work culture is one of the top reasons for staying at the same company. Toxic cultures push top talent out the door and ruin teams. In fact, employees are 24% more likely to leave within a year of joining if the culture at a company is toxic. After all, employees spend most of their waking hours at work - the culture you build can be the fine line between an employee who enjoys their work and an employee who just can’t wait to go home for the day!
 
Culture Affects Your Products and Customer Experience 
Does your company’s culture place the customer’s experience as top priority? Are you committed to creating value? 

It is this culture that your employees carry forward while interacting with customers. It is this culture that also affects the quality of products you put out there for your customer. Customers experience your culture through your outbound communications, social media, customer support team, website, and most importantly, your products and services. Put simply, your culture has an impact on how customers experience your business! So if you want to retain your customers, keep them happy and be known for creating value. Start with building the same attitude in the office!

While these are some of the key areas that culture impacts, there are so many ways culture affects the everyday workings of your business, making it essential to build the right culture for your company. Every company has its own unique culture, and it's likely that a culture good for one company might not be good for another - what we’re saying is, you might need to work on building culture from scratch - and it’ll be worth your while!

Then again, it’s important to live by the culture you communicate to your team to make sure your culture is actually what you think it is. It’s also crucial to think about your company’s goals and industry when determining your ideal culture. 

How Can Funded.Club Help You Develop the Ideal Culture?
At Funded.Club, as a team of experienced startup founders and HR professionals, we know what a crucial role hiring the right team plays in setting the tone for a positive work culture. We also know that hiring decisions and looking for the right team to carry your culture forward is quite taxing. And it doesn’t stop at hiring - there are also other elements that influence the culture you build. 

We’ve identified the 5 KEY factors to building a great culture, pored through dozens of case studies, and dived deep into culture and its impact, and put our insights and learnings into one eBook, a guide with actionable takeaways, ideal for startup founders. Check out our eBook - “How to Create The Ideal Culture For Your Startup” - and download it now to start setting the right track for a great culture.

The eBook covers everything - from how to identify and score your culture to deciding on the kind of culture you want to build. We also provide examples of how great companies use culture to their advantage. Check it out now and stay tuned for more insights on culture and its many facets!

Ray Gibson
Ray Gibson

Ray Gibson is founder and CEO of Funded.club. He brings 20 years of experience in recruiting across Europe, North America and Asia and 5 years running his own startups.

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