February 2, 2023
It’s no secret that startups are demanding. From founders, they draw blood, sweat and tears. From their employees, they require bucket loads of dedication, proactive attitudes, and the ability to adapt to a fluid, changing workscape.
Whilst the rewards that come with working for a startup regularly outweigh the demands, they do require a totally different approach to work than traditional corporate organisations.
Often these skill sets will be sought out during application processes, but even the most resilient and adaptable of employees can find the startup environment challenging. After all, we are hardwired as humans to be resistant to change (check out this great leadership article from HBR on reasons behind this).
One of the big challenges for team leaders in the early stages is just this - maintaining or increasing a team’s velocity and momentum in such an unpredictable environment.
Whilst the ever-changing workplace environment is part of the nature of a startup, there are areas that managers and leaders can focus on to offer some stability and security to their teams.
One of the huge attractions to moving from corporate to a startup environment is autonomy in roles. We know this first hand - many of the Vyou team came from different areas of the corporate world and when asked why they decided to leave, autonomy was a significant common factor across the board.
Protecting and honouring this autonomy builds trust and happiness within a team, and as such fosters a happy, stable team environment.
The single biggest challenge for the team leader is to grant autonomy whilst ensuring each team member is pulling in the same direction. Regular team stand ups and one to one catch ups are really helpful here to ensure key objectives are being met and the team is operating harmoniously.
A proactive team is one of the key ingredients for a successful startup. The early stages of developing, disrupting and challenging a market requires forward-thinkers, curiosity and creativity.
There are a few ways to establish and encourage a proactive team environment, but one of our favourite ways is to first focus on creating a supportive, encouraging environment which, in turn, gives team members the confidence and security to feel like they are able to explore ideas. This can breed a proactive culture in a natural and authentic way.
Setting these foundations at an early stage can make a huge difference for team and team member stability.
One big difference between corporate environments and startups is the huge scope of work which each team member might turn their hand to. Startups are the very antithesis of the ‘that’s not my job’ culture - and this variety is a refreshing and exciting part of working for a startup for many employees.
Uncovering your team’s hidden skills - including soft skills - can be really helpful not only to support business objectives, but to ensure all team members have the chance to make a significant difference and put their stamp on the evolution of the business. This could be through joining different squads or helping in sprints that would benefit from their input and experiences.
There is no shortcut in unearthing your team’s hidden talents. Investing time to ensure you see (or virtually meet) each team member and really getting to know them is the best way to unearth strengths - but moreover will be hugely beneficial in building a strong and stable team.
Communication is the biggest single factor that can help to offer stability in a startup environment (or any environment, for that matter!).
Whilst it’s not possible to change a startup by nature, communicating changes, pivots and objectives clearly, concisely and efficiently can go a long way to promote stability.
Whether it's via a team meeting, a Loom or a Slack channel, updating your team at the same time - of both big and small changes - is an inclusive way of ensuring the team are aware and up to date with the latest information they need to autonomously develop their plans and workscopes.
Whilst the picture will inevitably change for your team, if there is an underlying culture of clarity within the team, the sense of a stable, assured team will run through - and often adaptability levels will increase.
Understanding exactly what your team needs from you is vitally important in establishing stability and assurance in a startup environment.
If team members can feel assured that their needs will be understood and met, they will naturally feel a sense of security, work happiness and productivity.
Achieving this can be difficult, which is where the Vyou platform comes in. Vyou is a validated and tested Work Wellness Platform to help start-ups ease the hardships experienced at the early stages of their endeavour.
Vyou provides team overview insights (and provides team members with their own individual insights) through self-reflection tools and feedback loops. These insights give leaders real-time overviews of how their team is feeling, and can help to highlight areas that they can help to address before they become issues.
Vyou also offers tailored pathways, one to one human coaching and a webinar series to help
leaders grow their people, culture and business.
To find out more about what Vyou can do for you, or book a no-obligation chat with one of the Vyou team members, get in touch through the ‘get started’ button.