How to build a great company

- Leadership

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by Sergey Kotlov

It’s Monday. Yay! That’s how people feel at the organizations that form part of our project Yay4Monday. They love their jobs, even on a Monday.

Embarking on my European tour of tech companies in search of those that put the happiness and engagement of their employees first. I started to visualize the steps a company needs to take to create an inspiring place to work, and a company culture that makes everybody feel at home.

They were a combination of the intelligent feedback from employees and leaders, a spark of inspiration from some of today’s leading management and happiness specialists and finally, a dash of pure logic.

Today I wanted to share five steps on how to build a great company.

Believe in your own universe

In Delivering Happiness, Tony Hsieh says, “Envision, create, and believe in your own universe, and the universe will form around you.” Start to think about the really good aspects in your life and organization. And the people who make up your universe. Give gratitude to all that surround you, start caring about the people you work with and you’ll see a positive response back.

Start with the ‘Why’

Simon Sinek believes that organizations that start with understanding, ‘why’ they do what they do’, are those that most inspire and enjoy success. It’s important to understand what purpose your organization stands for; why do you exist? His inspiring TedTalk, How Great Leaders Inspire Action, discusses this very concept.

Stop waiting. Start doing.

Businesses can often find themselves in a state of continual planning and preparation. But waiting for the ‘perfect’ moment to launch a product or business, only equates to time spent without making revenue, whilst competitive products hit your market, a market which is constantly changing. Forget the elaborate business plan, you can write a business plan in just 20 minutes. Success or failure is all part of the learning process, so take action while learning.

Create an environment for decision-making

When you make a decision you have to think about how it affects your customers, colleagues and the company as a whole – now and in the future. Your employees are making decisions on a daily basis to keep the organizational production line going, so why would you not think about including them in higher decisions? Creating a decision-making culture of manager and employee involvement means in the end you’ll have made a decision that is right for the organization as a whole.

Facilitate information transparency

Always try to share as much information as possible, in a way that people can digest easily. A good example of organizational transparency comes from tech company Vincit, who joined Yay4Monday last year. They had an ambition to make all salaries transparent, but had two limitations:

Legacy: Hiring people at different market times, meant that there were different salaries for the same level jobs

Law: Finnish law prohibit a company to share details of an employee’s salary, if she doesn’t want to make the information public.

The team at Vincit decided to publish an Intranet web page, asking their employees: Will you allow us to make your salary open?

In the beginning only 10% of the people agreed, and that included management. So management led by example and shared their salaries, and since then over 90% of people agreed to share their salaries!

These are just a few of the ways that can go a long way towards helping organizations create happier and more transparent working environments, and a better work-life balance for employees.

Our Yay4Monday team handpick tech companies with a proven track record as great places to work. We research what people are saying about them, interview and visit them. If they fit the bill as a happy organization we put them on our list. There is no financial gain from this experiment, we take no money for listing these companies. We want to stay as objective as possible.

If you know a great tech company that is also a great place to work? Get in touch with the Yay4Monday team.

Photo: rawpixel (Unsplash)

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