You may have noticed that on the matchstick social Facebook page we have featured matchstickers talking about why they like working at a start-up company. It's about more than just fun and snacks and young people. Generation Y is ready for a new kind of company. Here are five ways to ensure your company can develop a culture that doesn't suck:
What makes a culture suck? Well, the first thing on the list is probably a whole lot of micromanaging. It’s not that this generation doesn’t want to be held accountable, but they want to be able to explore their own paths.
Instead – create a collaborative team environment where people check-in on each other. It’s not just the leadership’s responsibility to make sure things are getting done. If you create an environment where everyone is working together, individuals are more likely to work hard for the benefit of their peers.
Secondly, cultures that are overly strict about policies that lack merit are a driving issue for the younger generations. One hour for lunch is the standard. But what about the people who work until 8pm? What about people who prefer to take lots of short breaks? If you’re not clocking in and out, it should all come out in the wash. If you need to go to the dentist or mail something at the post office, it’s likely that this will have to be done during regular business hours. Old-school companies who make you skip lunch for a dentist appointment are on the way out.
Instead – give your employees the benefit of some more freedom, whether it be freedom to roam the office or work from home or leave once their work is completed for the day; at the very least, give them the benefit of the doubt.
Thirdly, cultures suck when hiring managers don’t consider personalities as well as skill when building companies and internal teams. The fact is that professionals should be able to work with just about anyone, but there are plenty of ways to make the working relationship easier—by hiring compatible and complementary team members. Everyone comes from a different background and expertise, so it’s not like it needs to be homogenous, but personality should be a factor in the hiring process.
Instead – hire on skill and personality. Assemble teams of people who bring different things to the table and will challenge the status quo.
Another reason culture can suck? Tattle telling. Companies need to equip their middle management with the tools to carry out small punishments (like informal warnings) without having to consult with every higher-up in the office. If a person makes a mistake, the last thing he or she wants is for every person in the company to know—and to weigh in. Talk about humiliation.
Instead – empower your middle management to be leaders and for your entry-level personnel to help each other. This will lead to more communication and fewer mistakes, which leads to fewer warnings to be doled out.
Lastly, company culture can suck when there are unrealistic expectations and unclear instruction permeating the day-to-day business. Having a clear focus, goals and a strategy to achieve success is of the utmost importance if you want a company filled with people who love to work hard. When the goals get muddied, everything else does too.
Instead – make goals clear, create an action plan, brainstorm tactics and check-in with people to ask if there’s anything the need to help them excel. Focus on continuing the education of employees—in your field and beyond.
If you’re looking to attract younger people to your start-up, you need to start at the culture.
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