Startups can be stressful environments for founders and employees alike. It is important to ensure that goals are accomplished in what employees consider to be a welcoming, enjoyable atmosphere.
We asked 11 entrepreneurs how they check in with their staff to make sure the work environment is a happy one.
Q. How do you keep your employees happy (even when things are stressful) at your startup?
Their best answers are below:
1. Create a Sense of Equality
Although it is important that employees know who the leaders are, it is also important that they understand they are just as important as the people sitting next to them. We create equality in the workplace so people can be free to express themselves and feel comfortable at work. This makes work enjoyable and thus less stressful.
– Bryan Silverman, Star Toilet Paper
2. Keep Perspective
It’s easy in startups to lose perspective. Before getting frustrated with an employee, ask yourself if this will matter in five years. More often than not, the answer is “no.” At TheBeautyBean.com, we may be extremely passionate about our fresh, healthy take on beauty, but at the end of the day, we often remind ourselves “it’s just beauty.” When our employees know we “get it,” they work harder and are happier.
– Alexis Wolfer, The Beauty Bean
3. Be a People Business
Nurture your people, and they will grow your business. At Round Table, we check in frequently by asking two questions: 1) What are you doing that you love (so we can create more of it)? and 2) What are you doing that you hate (so we can get it off your plate)? As we repeat that process over time, employees feel cared for because the company is actively supporting their happiness.
– Corey Blake, Round Table Companies
4. Show and Don’t Tell
One of the most important things you do as a founder is lead by example. Nobody gets involved in startups if he or she is allergic to work (or if so, it doesn’t last long). The best thing you can do to support your employees is show them that as hard as they are working, you are working even harder. That way, you push them, they push you, and together you work to make the best product possible.
– Danny Boice, Speek
5. Be Flexible and Available
I sit right in the trenches of my sales team, field calls and take my own. Being right next to my employees in the mix makes me accessible and human. Being available is often half the battle for being tapped into the culture, so my philosophy is to just jump into the middle of it.
– Matt Ehrlichman, Porch
6. Schedule a Weekly Decompression Session
We have an all-hands meeting every Friday afternoon where team members share something good, something bad and something celebratory about their week. It’s a great way to reflect and unwind, especially when followed by happy hour.
– Zach Clayton, Three Ships Media
7. Support by Caring
Life is stressful, and while more chaotic, startups are merely an amplification. Whether they’re employees, friends or family, supporting them starts by truly caring. Most businesses care enough about their employees to want them to come to work every day. We care about each employee’s happiness and will do almost anything to help him or her find it.
– Brent Beshore, Adventur.es
8. Conduct Regular Reviews
This might sound like a lot, but we conduct employee reviews every six weeks. This gives employees an opportunity to pause for a moment, reflect on their job satisfaction and talk about ways to improve it. Some of the best ideas and biggest parts of our company culture have emerged from these meetings.
– Robert J. Moore, RJMetrics
9. Plan a Weekly Dinner
10. Keep Communication Open
I always make sure my employees feel comfortable enough to let me know when they feel overwhelmed with their assignments. When this happens, I encourage the members of my team to reach out to me to help prioritize their tasks and adjust deadlines.
– Heather Huhman, Come Recommended
11. Send Employees to Massages
Everybody loves massages, so we send our employees out for a massage once a month to reduce all of that stress from work. This helps relieve body aches, as well as clear the mind for what lies ahead during the next month.
– Andrew Saladino, Just Bath Vanities