This Thursday night in downtown, Manhattan, WeWork Labs and Turnstone co-hosted a #smalltalk panel session about “Culture at Work”, which addressed several good options to help entrepreneurs provide a more spontaneous working interface for employees to have fun at work.
“We want to be a place that everyone wants to work for,” says Alex Miller, one of the panelists of the event and also the Vice President of Operations for Stack Exchange, a global network of Q&A websites where experts can meet and get answers to their questions.
Hiring employees who share the similarities and common interests to let them be a team is the first idea to establish an enjoyable culture at work.
By being asked about how to define whether a candidate could be a potential employee, as a panelist, Magda Kozak, Human Resources from Pivotal Labs, indicates “what kind of culture of your company determines whom you’d like to hire”.
Discussing how to improve the internal communication for startups, Erik Martin, the third speaker of the event, currently works as a General Manager in Reddit, thinks “transparency is the key with employees when you’re communicating with them.”
Panelists all shared the audience with their experiences, such as setting up Ping-Pong tables in the office, taking employees out for lunch or training sessions, providing beneficial healthcare coverage, etc.
“Everyone in Stack Exchange uses Google Hangouts,” says Alex Miller. But he also suggested “people couldn’t always do business over the computer, sometimes you have to bring them together.”
It is ideal that everyone in your team actively expect to go out with each other for happy-hours, but it is also based on respecting employee’s personal life.
“We do not get involved with people’s lives outside the office,” says Alex Miller.
“It’s fine that they don’t hang out. They don’t have to be friends as long as they get along with each other and they work well together,” says Erik Martin.
For companies that have offices in multiple locations in different cities or countries, Magda Kozak advises to identify culture by analyzing the demographics for employees and investigate what kind of lifestyle they prefer.
“Employees who work in our L.A. office are more family-oriented while those in New York office are more into after-work-hang-out. So we understand people in L.A. want to leave work earlier or take a couple days off working from home.”
Unlike corporations, startups are relatively small businesses with a group of enthusiasts who are younger and looking forward to taking challenges. They normally work long hours with each other for team projects. Under the stressful workload, it is especially necessary for entrepreneurs to create a friendly and energetic working atmosphere that allow these risk-takers with ideas to be engaged and connected closely.
“You are not going to build a successful company only on culture but there is a chance that you’ll fail if you don’t have people working well together,” says Jesse Middleton, co-founder of WeWork Labs.