Startup culture is attractive. It brims with confidence and promise. But does it have what it takes to survive? The outcomes of tried- and-tested corporate practices indicate that there's more to building a great company than just a freestyle work culture. Here are five effective practices that startups can adapt from corporate culture:
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What images does your startup evoke in people's minds? Is it an image of a mad carnival that every teenager would want to be a part of? Or is it the image of happy people working together in harmony and comfort on disruptive ideas that can change the world? A culture is kept alive by the quality and quest of its underlying spirit, not by superficialities like beanbags, free pizza lunches, or undefined dress codes and work hours. While this core truth is embedded in the DNA of corporate culture, most startups lose the plot and end up spending too much time and money on superficialities. Corporates can teach startups a lot about how and where to spend time and money.
Respect is earned by displaying stability and consistency. A corporate culture achieves these two qualities by setting up and following well-thought-out processes. Be it paying salaries or delivering on deadlines, processes keep the corporate machinery well-oiled and well-respected. Maintaining a regular pay cycle is a challenge for most startups. This leads to unhappy employees and attrition. Regularising the payday should be the topmost item on a startup’s checklist for achieving stability, consistency, and respectability.
Discipline does not come by default to the corporate world and neither will it for startups. However, corporates have processes like recording in and out times, timesheets, and other mundane chores that prove to be effective in analysing the behavioural patterns of employees and maintaining operational efficiency.
Corporates are rather tight-lipped about their plans and forecasts. They avoid making sudden announcements that would have adverse effects on both employees and clients. Startups, on the other hand, stand for a transparent culture. However, keeping things transparent calls for high levels of maturity in all stakeholders — management, employees, and clients. Startups can learn from corporate culture on how to balance transparency and discretion.
Startup culture is still in its infancy. It would be unwise to box in its original, organic cultural evolution by trying to define it at these early stages; in evolution lies the life of any culture. Furthermore, the culture of a community mirrors the culture of each and every individual who is a part of it. Successful corporations have cultures that go beyond the layman's definition of corporate culture. They have the knowledge to channel individual aspirations towards a goal that can only be achieved collectively. This knowledge and understanding enables them to define a culture that's perfectly aligned with their business goals.