How to boost company culture in the age of transactional working

Company culture is the foundation of a successful business, especially in a startup environment. It's what attracts and keeps top talent, driving the organisation forward.

Unfortunately, a new trend has emerged with the rise of remote working – transactional working. Employees simply come to work, do their tasks, and leave. There's no emotional investment or sense of belonging. This trend is especially common in startups, where the focus is often on fast growth while culture takes a backseat.

More and more staff are isolating themselves from their company, viewing work as just a means to an end. This transactional approach may seem efficient, but it can hinder the fostering of an engaged, positive, and collaborative company culture – something which startups desperately need for success.

In this article, we'll discuss some ways to avoid the pitfalls of transactional working and instead build a thriving company culture for your startup.

Define your company culture

The first step has got to be to define what type of culture you’d like your company to have. Do this by creating vision and mission statements that align with your business goals and values, and communicate these clearly to your employees so they understand what it means to be a part of your company. If possible, involve your employees in defining the culture, as this will help them feel invested in the company's success.

Hire the right people

When hiring, look beyond just the technical skills and experience, and find people who share your vision, mission, and values and are a good cultural fit with your team. This will help ensure that your employees are invested in the company's success and that your culture thrives.

One way startups can identify and cultivate talented individuals is to hire apprentices. These newcomers may not have years of experience under their belt, but they often possess a fresh perspective and eagerness to learn. Apprentices can help with various tasks, such as brainstorming, market research, and social media management, and the investment can pay off in the long run as you may find you have a future leader on your hands.

Set clear expectations

It is essential that employees understand what they are signing up for when they choose to work for your business. As well as regularly communicating your mission, and values, make sure you explain what you expect of your staff in terms of engagement, emotional investment and time in the office.

Create connections

It is hard to expect staff to be engaged in their work if they don't care about the people they work alongside. As a startup, you can easily create spaces and opportunities that encourage relationship building and foster a sense of community and belonging. Examples include having company-wide days out, team-building events, charity work, or even simply a community board displaying personal information about each staff member. Such events and initiatives help develop camaraderie among team members and allow them to bond over shared experiences.

Encourage communication

Another way to avoid transactional working is to establish means for open and clear communication between employees. Communication builds trust, facilitates information sharing, and ensures that no one feels isolated. Teams should meet regularly and every team member should feel able to contribute to the discussion. This should help to encourage collaboration and teamwork as well as identify any issues.

Show each employee that they’re valued

One of the key drivers of transactional working is the belief that one’s contribution to the company makes very little difference to its overall success. You can quash this belief by celebrating their achievements and by taking the time to explain why what they do is important to the business. Celebrations don't have to be extravagant; it could be something as simple as a toast or a speech recognising excellent performance.

You can also show employees they matter to you by investing in their professional development. You can offer training courses, encourage them to attend seminars, or connect them to professional mentors. Encouraging employee growth brings a sense that the company is interested in their overall success, which, in turn, promotes long-term engagement and positive feelings towards the company.

Lead by example

Your entire leadership team can make a real difference by leading by example and embodying the culture you want to create. Demonstrate the values and behaviours you want to see in your employees and encourage them to follow suit. This will help create a strong culture that is aligned with your vision and mission.

In conclusion, building a strong company culture is critical in the success of any startup. It's not enough to just focus on growing the business; you must also invest in your employees and create a culture that fosters a sense of community and belonging. By defining your culture, hiring for cultural fit, creating opportunities for collaboration and engagement, and leading by example, you can avoid the pitfalls of transactional working and build a thriving company culture. Remember, culture is not just a buzzword, it's the foundation of a successful and sustainable business.