“…how startups attack problems and mobilize talent make them unique.”
Beyond the trendy work spaces, quirky perks, and flexible work hours, startups have something big businesses lack: an extremely efficient use of their talent.
Because of their small size and tight budgets, startups rely on innovative, passionate, and focused employees to push their business to new heights. Not only is there an expectation of collaboration and creativity, the testing-out of new work strategies and constant self-analysis means efficiency is always being pursued.
Many big companies can learn from this.
Regardless of the size of your company, actively supporting employee autonomy and idea sharing will result in a workforce that is both accountable and creative. It’s time to take a queue from your startup next door – commit to hiring the right kind of talent and gain the know-how to build an open and trusting workplace culture!
It starts with the talent
In a startup, smaller teams place a huge emphasis on hiring the right person. New hires need to mesh well with the current team, have diverse capabilities, and bring in a self-starter attitude. If the applicant isn’t as passionate about the company’s objectives as the rest of the team, it may not be the right fit. Passionate people are accountable, are more focused, and aren’t afraid to push beyond what they know, making them versatile assets to the company.
If you are a large business, you have many advantages. With a bigger name and opportunities for employees to earn promotions and pay raises, you could simply watch for the cream of the crop up-and-comers and make an offer to pull them onto your team. But that’s not always the best strategy. Finding candidates with a passion for your business and an openness to work across a range of responsibilities with a deep sense of accountability may be the better approach. But finding the ‘right’ hire often takes time and isn’t always easy when so many candidates apply for an open position. Patience and persistence are often required.
Once you have these gems in your ranks, make sure you keep them. Establishing a culture where employees feel valued because they can see they are personally responsible for organisational success is something startups excel at.
Give your employees autonomy and space to create!
Startups exist because someone took a risk.
Big businesses can become rigid, choosing the safe option and calculating everything to the point of restriction. Startups often don’t have the data to validate their ideas, so taking risks becomes a necessity. Calculated risks are the product of creative employees seeking out new ways of doing things, working on solutions to big problems, or spotting a gap in the market and taking the dive to fill it.
New ideas can be brought to life on a regular basis by putting a bit of backing behind the right area: make creativity a focus. From sales to product development to customer service, encourage your employees to propose new ideas and take risks! Startups are not afraid to fail; from the little things like allowing employees to try their own work methods to the large-scale endeavours like conceptualizing and launching a new product, these sparks of innovation are the blood of the business.
“While large companies can’t necessarily pivot or introduce new services with the same ease of a startup, they can research new developments in the field, encourage an active research and development department, develop rapid prototyping methodologies, and pilot proof-of-concepts and minimal viable products.”
As your team starts to share their findings and inventions, give them space to pursue the work autonomously. Often in startups, employees are expected to work on side projects with minimum supervision; there are simply not enough resources to have constant managerial staff hovering over everyone’s shoulders. But, this works because employees feel like they are making a significant contribution to the company and are trusted to do so on their own. Autonomy and trust are huge motivators. Combine that with listening to their ideas and you have the recipe to a seriously productive workforce.
But we know that too much of a good thing can lead to problems. Inefficiencies can multiply when there is an absence of structure and focus on the overall objectives of the company. Again, do like startups and continually self-evaluate to ensure that your team or organization is on track.
Startups are masters at continually assessing themselves as individuals and as an organisation to see where improvements can be made. As unexpected shifts in your marketplace arise, how do you respond? Just because what you are doing now has worked in the past, doesn’t mean it will benefit you forever. Don’t let the comfortable place you are sitting in be an excuse not to experiment.
Do and be better.
Startups constantly test, assess the data, and adjust. This mindset can be adopted by your business and keep you competing with companies of all sizes.
Keeping creativity and adaptability momentum year-round is simpler than you think. Organize brainstorming sessions for your departments, assign team leaders to head and oversee projects, and have informal self-analysis exercises to keep everyone looking for ways to be better, faster, and more efficient.
You may be the big guy in town, but you can think like the little guy.