3 start-up traits that will make your company a better place to work

3 start-up traits that will make your company a better place to work
It's no secret that healthy, happy and engaged employees make the most productive workers. Yet start-ups lead the charge in crafting environments conducive to employee morale, while some established companies - with the resources and infrastructure to offer big benefits - seem to neglect these more cultural aspects of the workplace.

Don't miss an opportunity to get the most from your employees. Adopt these three start-up traits with some easy-to-implement techniques:

1. Give employees regular access to leadership


At a start-up, most employees have the luxury of working hands-on with leadership every day. They're actively involved in conversations with decision-makers, and are more likely to feel both engaged and valued as a result. But as companies grow, access to higher-ups becomes increasingly difficult. Luckily, reinstating regular management-employee engagement isn't complicated. Start by encouraging management to spend one day per week having lunch on-site with employees. Casual conversations pave the way for meaningful relationships and, eventually, authentic dialogue between employees and leadership.

2. Encourage flexible work environments


Start-ups understand inspiration doesn't always happen at the office. But many employees at larger companies are expected to produce brilliant ideas whilst chained to a cubicle during regular business hours. Instead, give them the opportunity to work somewhere other than their desk a few times a month. That new place could be a remote location, like a bustling coffee shop or lush local park, or a vibrant on-site co-working space you create.
Encouraging employees to get up from their desk and work somewhere new will do two things. First, it will naturally inspire new solutions as a result of new surroundings. Second, it will re-energize them, keeping their minds fresh to bring new ideas to the table.

3. Provide paid wellness benefits


When employees are healthy, they'll take fewer sick days and you'll save money on healthcare costs. But healthcare benefits should go beyond providing quality medical insurance. Encourage physical activity by inviting a personal trainer to the office a few times a week for pre and post-work exercise programs. Or, choose a free method and create a fitness club that walks during lunch three days per week. Alternatively, give employees a stipend to spend on a wellness expense of their choosing, which might include a gym membership, nutritionist or smoking-cessation program. Whatever they choose to spend it on, they'll be healthier, happier and more productive because of it.

Get the most from your team



When evaluating your employee benefits packages, look beyond the traditional health, vacation and Kiwisaver package offerings. Take a cue from start-up entrepreneurs and give your teams something they're not expecting to help boost morale, retention, and overall employee engagement. Your employees - and your business - will work better because of it.


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Posted: Tuesday, 22 April 2014 - 3:55 PM