As a startup looking to make your mark in your chosen industry, you likely already know that one of the most important assets you have is your team.
The people who came with you to form your small business are vital, their skills indispensable, and the chances are that those who founded your company with you are already close, working together like a well-oiled machine.
Yet, as you begin to take your company further, you’ll bring on people who don’t know each other that well, who are unaccustomed to each other’s work styles and may not mesh immediately.
In order to make a group of disparate employees a well-meshing, cohesive team, you might want to take some measures to allow everyone to get to know each other, teach others how to recognize each other’s skills and make everyone feel like an important part of the well-oiled machine you’re shaping them into.
The tips, tricks, and suggestions below will help your employees get to know each other and feel more comfortable in their roles, being one of many ways that you can set your startup up for future success.
One thing you can do to help employees feel like part of a unit is to mandate a uniform, giving new employees a set of branded and custom-made clothing that’s company-standard. We aren’t talking about just a polo and a pair of dress pants here, no: we’re talking about a diverse offering of company-standard clothing options, with employees being able to choose an outfit at the beginning of their tenure and order more later on, if they so choose.
Ideally, these uniforms should be within the standard set by most professional clothing, not something akin to a fast-food employee uniform: fortunately, these days, it isn’t that hard to get custom-made clothing for businesses.
You can get dress shirts, blouses, coats, and dress pants made for your business, with companies like Wunderlabel adding on unique branded touches like iron-on labels for clothes, keeping the customization of your uniforms affordable but quality-made. Offering a variety of specially-made, branded clothing options for your employees is sure to thrill and help everyone feel like they’re part of the team.
Team Building Exercises
Sometimes (and this will also come up in the next step) taking an hour or two out of your day to let your employees goof off, socialize, and work together on something low-stakes can be the best way for them to learn about each other and see how they work on problems. Taking your employees out of the office and into a relaxing, warm environment like a park to work on challenges like scavenger hunts and egg drops can give you some paid downtime while encouraging them to think like a unit.
While seeming somewhat cheesy to an outsider, team-building exercises have been known amongst business circles to improve senses of camaraderie among employees, employee morale, and of course, productivity. Taking employees out of the work environment ever-so-often has also been correlated with increases in employee loyalty and satisfaction, and depending on which activities you choose, you may also be able to identify leadership qualities in some of your employees, highlighting potential candidates for advancement.
Take Everybody on a “Field Trip”
Similar to team-building exercises, taking your employees out of the office for a day for a company-mandated trip can have significant benefits for employee morale and even their mental health. Taking your employees to a place like a theme park or the theaters (depending on the company budget) can be seen as an unwritten benefit of working with your company, allowing employees the chance to blow off steam and get to know each other as people. Actions like these have also been known to increase employee satisfaction, reduce the chances of conflict coming up in the workplace, and increase employee loyalty.
You don’t have to spend big for this particular exercise to give everyone a field trip. But remember, the bigger you go, the better the benefit.
It can be hard to make new employees feel like they’re an integral part of your company, even if they’ve been given information on your corporate culture and they’ve been there for a while. Activities and tips like those above have been shown to be time-tested ways of bonding employees together, increasing their productivity, and making them see that your company values them in a tangible way.