5 Tips to make your workplace more engaging

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When Ben Whitaker (Robert De Niro) applied to a startup in the movie- ‘The Intern’, we observed stark differences in work culture, apart from the obvious age difference. Details like a suited man sitting with a briefcase besides hoodie wearing tech geeks, the difference in approach towards work and life, did make us wonder how workplaces have strongly evolved.

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The outlook towards dress code, work timings, incentives (all my parents knew was a ‘Diwali Bonus’) and hierarchy, has changed manifold. Google is said to be the pioneer in bringing along a refreshing work culture-based strategy. Right from building interesting hiring processes to retaining employees with diversified work roles, Google has made a lot of MNCs sit up and take note. Do not even get me started on the enormous inspiring creative freedom the Google HQ office space has to offer!

So what has changed in just a few years?

Well, it is the realisation that the greatest asset of any company is its workforce. Startups globally are bringing in a much needed workplace culture revolution. Attracting and retaining exceptional talent who will be loyal, dedicated and determined, with limited resources, is a herculean task sometimes. Especially for startups, there is a serious necessity to always ensure that your employees feel valued enough.

While running a startup, establishing core values is of utmost importance. Yes, it will turn into an organisation one day, it may become global, but it will always revolve around these core values. Here are 5 simple ways to build an engaging work culture:

1. Surprise your team!

Understand that gratification works both ways. Treat your team like a treasure and see the tremendous improvement in the output. Incentives can range from ESOPs, gadgets, gifts, etc. to team outings, parties and occasional dinners. Since there is a monetary constraint and increments are difficult, these little gestures are a great way to shower them with appreciation. After all, isn’t the motive behind joining a startup, to get your work recognised ?

2. Say no to cabins

Try to have an open space in your office. Avoid closed cabins/cubicles as these send out a strong message about hierarchy and being uninviting. You will be quite surprised when your creative team comes up with an easy solution for your sales team, simply because they overheard the discussions. Not only for a different point of view, but also for being easily approachable, open office spaces allow you to work freely. You can easily impart your knowledge and experience, and help the team come up with solutions which would have otherwise taken up a lot of time.

3. Acknowledge milestones and day-to-day efforts alike

Working in a startup can sometimes become a huge task, and the ones who are employed have trusted your idea and their growth. It sure is a great responsibility and the least you can do is make them feel comfortable. They are an integral part, after all. Break the ice by introducing them via some crazy activity, inviting them for lunch or by just simply showing them around the office. Treat the new joinee like family; they are sure to return the favor! Hard work should be noticed and publicised in the team; goals achieved should be celebrated. If an idea fails, keep up the spirit with small appreciations for the effort.

4. Family that eats together, works better

Sharing food and stories are proven methods of team building. You get to see a new, personal side of the professionals you have so wisely hired. Hidden talents, experiences and stories you will never read about, are revealed. It also broadens your approach, sometimes bringing with it innovative ideas and helping you decrease the communication gap.

5. Positive and fun loving environment

If, as a founder or a team leader, you maintain a certain work atmosphere, it greatly affects the attitude of your team while building the product. Never let trivial issues, miscommunication or any kind of misunderstanding steer your team away from the focus on building the best product.

Sometimes even the best of the workplaces lack the simple necessity of a positive approach. Keeping a constructive attitude motivates your team to focus on the product as well. Be it a garage, apartment or a huge office, all that matters is the confident, optimistic energy at your workplace.

When a team member joins your startup, the person understands the mammoth tasks they would need to singlehandedly undertake. There is no scope for saying no when work comes their way. To ensure that your team is pushing boundaries, a highly motivating work culture should be set to make the task a lot easier. A little effort in making your office space more engaging will go a long way in building a trustworthy team.