Leadership, Startup Advice

“No staff turnover”: Business success hinges on a thriving company culture

David Fazio /

culture

Mate co-founder and chief executive officer David Fazio. Source: Supplied.

As an entrepreneur, it is an incredible feeling when your small business begins to succeed. However, among this rapid growth, it’s easy to get swept up in the bigger picture and forget about the valuable people who have helped make your success possible: your staff.

Implementing, and then maintaining, a strong company culture is essential to the ongoing success of any business.

At Mate, we enjoy challenging the preconception that telcos consistently fail to look after their staff by ensuring staff and company culture are the core focus at Mate HQ. So, rather than beginning with external business relationships, our ‘mateship’ culture starts with the way our own team is catered for, ensuring staff have both the necessary skills and tools to facilitate conflict-free and rewarding professional relationships. 

We encourage all staff to be open-minded and to treat each other as they would their own family, and we’ve seen the results to back this method up. Our team has grown from 16 members in 2017 to more than 60 in June 2019.

Additionally, only three staff have left Mate since day one, with absolutely no staff turnover in the last financial year. 

Put some strong company values in place

To guarantee you have a successful company culture, it’s important to set the bar at a level you want to be in the eyes of your consumer. Start by putting a strong value proposition in place so that your employees know what’s expected and what they can expect in return. Think about who you are as a business and the type of employees and customers you want to attract.

Don’t simply hire staff based on their qualifications and experience. Instead, onboard new employees because of who they are and what they will bring to the organisation. As well as providing quality services to your customers and clients, you should aim to provide a memorable experience to your staff too. 

Our employee value proposition is simple. Namely, we want to give our staff flexibility, opportunities and accountability to build the best possible workplace culture and environment. As a family-owned business, our goal is for our employees to feel as if they’re a part of our family too. 

Hire the right people

When a company is small, there is usually a tight group of people who understand and help manage every aspect of the business. Typically, these people also have some personal interest in seeing the business succeed (beyond a paycheque), which keeps them focussed and working hard. And it keeps personalities in check.

When your business expands rapidly, you will, at times, be forced to hire new team members quickly. You will need people with specific skills and knowledge, and you will probably need them now. But at the same time, the ‘fit’ of the people you hire remains essential. You’ve built your company with a culture, and it’s important that you maintain it. 

To find great additional talent in a short timeframe, tap into your current employee base. Great people usually know great people. Get your employees involved by having them participate in the hiring process. Get their feedback and use it. And as much as you can, don’t rush hiring decisions. Take your time to find someone with the key skills and characteristics that embody your business needs and your company culture. 

When hiring, try encouraging your employees to recommend their own mates, individuals they know who would be right for a position, or just people they already have a connection with. Choose your team wisely and give them the tools they need to be successful and your company will benefit as well.

Invest in training 

Training also becomes increasingly important with rapid growth. When processes and technology change, your team needs the training necessary to work with those new systems. Expecting staff to ‘figure it out’ may have worked when you were a team of three, but it certainly won’t as more people come on board. 

By investing in training and development, you can make a significant improvement to the performance of your business. It is why we are able to deliver the level of customer service that we do at Mate. Training has turned our business into a ‘one-stop-shop’. Essentially, this allows us to meet our ‘one-call’ objective for customers 73% of the time, which has greatly improved our business results.

Invest in your people, it will only add value to your business in the long run.

The perks don’t hurt

To enhance the feeling of family, Mate employs an ‘Aunt’ to prepare a shared meal for staff lunch every day in the communal kitchen area, naturally encouraging the feeling of family in the workplace. Next door to the kitchen there’s also a complete gym setup, so that staff can work out together and stay healthy both physically and mentally.

It’s small incentives like this that help to keep morale high and employees happy and feeling appreciated.

NOW READ: “It’s on you”: How to build an inclusive business, from Atlassian’s Aubrey Blanche

NOW READ: “Louder than words”: Six ways startups can build a truly inclusive business, from Hassl founder Lauren Crystal

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David Fazio

David is the co-founder and chief executive officer at Sydney-based telecommunications company Mate.

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