5 Ways to Build A POSITIVE Culture in Your Startup


1. Greet the room when you come in.

Did you know the average American checks their phone 80 times per day? We are constantly plugged in. Whether it’s an investor call, a podcast, or checking your Insta feed – our phone has created a space where we ourselves, are innately always on. When you walk into a room, allow your phone to be a secondary priority. Instead, greet everyone in the office as you walk in. We’re not saying to walk around and spend the next 2 hours making small talk, but there’s nothing wrong with saying “Morning everyone” or “Hey guys!” People need to feel and appreciate your presence, and the best way to do that is to acknowledge and appreciate theirs.

2. Ensure purpose and impact are core goals in every meeting.

While waiting for meetings to start or making small talk in between, it’s fun to discuss the new guy/girl in the WeWork office next door, or how you wish the meeting wasn’t at 9AM on a Monday. However, meetings should be focused on purposeful dialogue to create and deliver impactful outcomes. Maintain focus and value driven discussion by eliminating topics that are not on the agenda or are not representative of a positive mindset. It may not be as juicy as gossip or complaining, but employees will get used to meetings driving action, making great use of everyone’s time.

3. Live your company values.

It can be quite challenging to promote the ethic “Do as I say and not as I do” for founders. However, we must stay strong to the values we advocate for as the bloodline of the company’s ethos. If our goal is to be partners with our clients, we must be partners with each other. If we aim to be flexible with market needs, we need to be flexible with the demands of our workforce. Culture is not what we say it is, but rather how we feel having lived it each and every day, side by side with our colleagues.

4. Hierarchies are not an excuse for ignorance.

Leaders are hired to help us climb to the next summit of growth. Unfortunately, focusing on aggressive expansion can sometimes lead to neglecting employee feedback and their voice of reason. Not everyone is trained or experienced to coach, educate and mentor others. Too often this leads to people becoming frustrated and looking for the next excuse to put in their two-week notice. Listen to your employees. If they aren’t happy, learn why and create a plan to address their concerns. You’ll save a ton by maintaining a low talent turnover and a high productivity mindset, leading to a positive employer experience.

5. KPI focused performance through and through.

Performance reviews should never be based off of individual opinion or personal perspective. Clear goals should be set for each employee and reviewed at least once per year. SaaS tools like PeopleHR.com, AssessTeam or just sending jointly agreed performance goals in an email are simple, yet helpful. Regardless of which method you choose, starting an employee-employer relationship with measurable performance expectations adds a significant amount of accountability to the relationship. When reviewing performance, be sure to remain positive, calm and communicative so that both parties feel invested in the other’s success so you can both drive growth of the company, and growth of your careers, forward.



Chae Obrien