15 Tips To a More Productive and Happier Lean Startup Team

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To remain competitive, a company should find ways to motivate its most important brand ambassadors – the employees. In as much as customers are important, a staff base that is demoralized and dulled presents an upcoming catastrophe in the company. It is important to keep your employees feeling wanted, loved, encouraged and motivated all the time every day. Start out with any of these 15 tips and implement them by integrating these into your company culture;

1. Budget for books/Library

Books are not very expensive. The other good side is that books can always be shared. Creating a budget for various books from storytellers to entrepreneurship and productivity books will not break your company’s budget. The end result is that you create a culture of reading in your employees. People who read more learn more. You want your employees to never stop learning. This improves their knowledge base and productivity. Once you have bought a lot of books, you will have a library where your team can get whatever book they haven’t read if they need to cool off or just have a new experience. Also, by encouraging employees to create reading lists and share them with one another, your company’s reading culture solidifies. New employees can also be cultivated into this culture once they come into the company. More books only make your employees wiser and brighter.

2. Stock up on beer and hard liquor

Working while intoxicated is not something anyone should encourage in their company. Even those who drink don’t want to do it during the working days or while in the office. Even so, stock up your company’s beer shelf and provide some hard liquor because your workers won’t drink at work anyways. Unless they really have to. What’s the point? It’s for them to know that the startup company they work for is free and democratic. When they know they are allowed to drink at work, it boosts their morale because when they are having a rough day they can just grab one bottle of beer, sometimes even after work.

3. Workshops & webinars

Workshops are good for your employees as are webinars. This might be a little expensive especially when they have to travel far for the workshops, but they gain a lot of knowledge from these workshops. Collaborating with your human resource department ensures that the employees implement what they learn to achieve the company’s goals. The idea of being outside the workplace for a workshop also excites a lot of employees.

4. Workplace makeover

Any easy way to do your workplace makeover when you have money is to upgrade the furniture that your employees use or do a redesign of your office into a better working place. Statistics show that improving your office’s design alone raises employee productivity by 17%. When your startup isn’t on a big budget, allowing your employees to personalize their work desks will increase their productivity by 32%. This allows them to put pictures of their loved ones on their desks, and put up a wall full of tasks to accomplish or even carry their most favorite art sculpture to their desks in the office. Other startups have a ‘Pimp My Desk’ Day where employees compete for a gift card on who has pimped their desk better DIY style in as much as that could be very relative.

5. Build a Fun and Creative Workplace

You could design a very creative office space for your employees especially if it’s meant to be an open plan office. Instead of lumping your employees together in the open plan office, find creative designers who will design an open plan office that stimulates your employees for the better. Add some fun into your office by having a dart board for example, or chalkboard where people write their ideas or go to brainstorm when they are tired from sitting on their computers all day.

6. Reward initiative

Founders start companies providing the core product, and while that is a huge achievement, the most successful companies today didn’t depend on that one idea from the founder to survive. As the founder, you should encourage creativity in the company. You should also appreciate that you are working with creative people. This leads us to the next point. Since they are creative people, they will come up with several ideas to improve the core product. Listen to these ideas. The best companies in the world today are built on the foundation of listening to employees. Reward the best ideas and incorporate them into the core product to see how they affect the company’s main business. Do not trash ideas that come from your team; even when they may not be the best ideas reward the employee anyways for taking initiative.

7. A Getaway Game room

As your company continues to grow, you can incorporate a gaming room in your office for employees as a getaway. Incorporating games like table-tennis in there can give employees something to relax their minds when they need to. Just make sure to design tufted walls as acoustic shields which prevent the noise from the game room from spilling into the rest of the office space where a lot of concentration is ongoing. A video gaming centre can also be incorporated especially if most of your employees are coders and developers. These are the kind that play a lot of video games and may benefit from a 30 minutes break in your gaming rooms.

8. Provide alternatives for sitting

From bag chairs to stools and standing workstations, there is a variety of seats you can provide in your company. Don’t do the basic “office chair with lumbar support” thing. Be different. Most employees don’t like the conventional company seats anyway. By providing those standard office chairs while spicing them up with bag chairs and standing workstations you present options to employees who have been sitting on one seat for a long time.

9. Clear communication

Communication is a very important part of anything. From businesses to families and relationships, clear communication can make or break you. A startup is no different. Be sure to clearly communicate your company’s goals to your team, and give them time to process these and ask questions. Provide them with atleast 3 hours to process the information and come back with questions if they may have any. Clear communication improves a workplace and ensures things run smoothly creating a win-win situation for everyone.

10. Invest in Training

Having versatile employees improves the overall productivity of the company. This should not translate into a “Jack of All Trades” situation. Investing in training your employees in skills they are not good at will make them better people overall. For example, when you have coders in your company, they may not be as good in using applications like MS Excel, or PowerPoint. However, for a few dollars, online training platforms like Udemy or Coursera could be really useful here. Eventually, your coders know how to arrange information properly using Excel before they present it to you using MS PowerPoint. When employees see you investing in their learning of side skills that improve their core skill, it gives them more encouragement to produce better results for the company.

11. Smart Delegation of Tasks

Delegation of tasks can get tasks completed but if done wrong it will lead to demoralized or overworked employees. Smart delegation involves studying your employees’ strengths and weaknesses before assigning tasks to them. This ensures that each employees gets the tasks in fields they are really good at. That’s a balanced situation. The wrong scenario would be where the most hardworking employees are given all tasks to complete while other employees have more free time or get a lot less tasks to complete. The end result is hardworking employees who are fatigued and other employees who feel demoralized because they are underutilized.

12. Team Building activities

Team building leads to creation of personal bonds between employees. The team also gets to learn more about each other. These activities don’t necessarily have to be outdoor even though outdoor events are more encouraged or preferred when your budget allows for that. You can have team building indoor events where you take time off the office work to play games or share drinks and stuff like that. This fosters better relationships at work, shares love and leads to happier employees whose morale is out of the roof.

13. Have Smaller Teams

Smaller teams have proven to be the best teams. Jeff Bezos, Amazon’s CEO, maintains that if a team cannot be fed by two pizzas it’s too big. Research has also proved that in bigger teams, individuals feel less responsible for anything than in smaller teams. Keep in mind that bigger teams are a waste of everybody’s time no matter the size of the task. Smaller teams will lead to higher productivity rates and quality work.

14. Project Management Tools in Place of Meetings

Instead of having endless meetings to check where your team has reached on their tasks, project management tools like Basecamp and Asana make it possible for your team to remotely update their progress on various projects without wasting time with meetings. Research has shown that meetings and conference calls waste 5.6 hours of each employee’s time every week and reduce overall productivity. People don’t want to sit in meetings unless it’s necessary for them. Technology and platforms like Basecamp have made it possible to eliminate that productivity bottleneck.

15. Productive and Meaningful Feedback

The best projects are completed based on productive, honest and meaningful back-and-forth feedback. This should be your goal when your employees bring the completed tasks to you for checking. Providing meaningful feedback to your employees shows that you are honest and increases the overall outlook of the administration. It will also create a culture of trust and personal growth so your team takes pride in improving their personal performance.

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