8 strategies to improve your startup culture - Start Up Gazzete
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8 strategies to improve your startup culture


Most founders fail to recognize that their company culture is created not only through their explicit communication and the values ​​they promote, but also through the unintended messages that employees receive as part of their team.

This is what psychologists do to improve team cohesion and maximize productivity.

Leaders want more efficient workplaces, and founders are in a unique position to set the cultural tone of their organization.

When founders invest in their team, the result is greater cohesion, performance, and a more supportive environment. Employees also benefit from an inclusive environment that uses state-of-the-art psychological tools for each person to make a meaningful contribution to the group.

But it is often not that easy.

Most founders fail to recognize that their company culture is created not only through their explicit communication and the values ​​they promote, but also through the unintended messages that employees receive as part of their team.

These subtle and unintended communications are often more difficult to manage and control than your handling of situations.

Below are eight psychological concepts and strategies that will address both intended and unintended messages that establish culture.


1. Use positive reinforcement


Positive reinforcement is an operant conditioning technique pioneered by psychologist B.F. Skinner.

He found that adding a rewarding stimulus after a rat produced a desired behavior taught the rat to repeat the desired action. He found that learning a new behavior is accelerated more with positive reinforcement than with punishment for mistakes.

In his job, this means prioritizing positive feedback for his employees and the leadership team. He tries to identify and reward behaviors that promote the growth of his organization and align with his values.


2. Cultivate a safe space


An important part of the organizational culture is making people feel safe and part of the group.

Investing time and money in multicultural training, even early in the creation process, will prove its value through higher employee retention, less responsibility, and marketing your company as a values-based organization.

Learning more about other cultures (eg, LGBTQ, race / ethnicity, ability, socioeconomic status) will make more people feel comfortable in their environment, making them more productive and loyal to the organization as they scale.


3. Promote authenticity and feedback


Authentic leadership leads to more genuine relationships, which increases feedback and personal responsibility.

When people arrive at work and have to hide behind a masquerade, they are less likely to give the critical feedback that is needed for positive change and are less likely to commit to their work.

Instead, ask for opinions and give them regularly to employees, both for their positive behaviors and for their areas of growth.

As more individuals in the organization connect with their true selves within the overall context and goals of the company, people will enjoy their work and become more involved in their personal and professional growth.


4. Open lines of communication


The more you prioritize communication, the faster it will grow.


When employees feel that they have a voice and that their opinion matters to management, they are more inspired to do their best.

Opening the lines of communication and increasing transparency in decision-making processes helps to transmit the values, objectives and philosophies of the organization.
Make sure your top managers are exceptional in making employees feel valued.


5. Generate meaning through a cohesive narrative


When employees feel like their work is meaningless, they relax and count the minutes until they close their laptops.

If you want to increase your bottom line, increase productivity by helping employees make sense of their tasks.

Convey how your individual work is critical to the goals of the organization, and how your meaningful contribution will have a positive impact on your life and on the progress of the company.

Psychology tells us that the more we can create meaning, the more responsible we feel to be the author of our lives.

Train your employees to write a story that fits into the narrative of the organization, so that the entire group feels responsible for progress.


6. Implement mindfulness breaks


Mindfulness is not just a hot topic, it can be a huge boost to productivity.
Instead of having the unrealistic expectation that people will sit at their desks all day and stay focused, take note of the psychology that informs us that humans now have shorter attention spans than goldfish .

We need to take short breaks throughout the day to readjust our attention, increase willpower, and improve concentration.

Encourage your employees to take care and exercise breaks throughout the day. Do so by making explicit recommendations and, if you are up for a challenge, modeling this behavior so that it truly becomes ingrained in your company culture.


7. Listen and validate so that people feel heard


Psychologists know that most people want to feel understood.

Much of the world invalidates personal experiences and makes people feel misunderstood. If you want optimal performance at work, follow simple psychology and validate people’s experiences.

Empathize and convey that you respect their emotions and value their opinion before telling them they are wrong or missing key information. Listen and empathize first, then redirect.

By following these simple rules, you will improve the cohesion of your workplace and your personal relationships.


8. Practice what you preach


Work with a therapist from the startup.

Connecting with a co-founder psychologist who is an expert in startup psychology is the best way to accelerate your awareness and improve your company culture.

Regular conversations with an expert who guides you through exercises that increase your self-awareness and understanding of how your behavior impacts others leads to more effective decision-making and a culture based on lived values rather than aspirational values.

Simple psychology works. Psychologists have been studying human beings for decades to understand their motivations and functions.

Instead of ignoring their efforts, start incorporating these simple psychological strategies to improve your company culture and continue to grow into the organization you want.

Author avatar
Joshua Smith

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