Thriving after Funding: How to Maintain a Productive Tech Startup Team

Like every other business, the success of any tech start-up is a collective effort of its founder and employees. While every business wants to be successful, not all succeed.

Startups usually have little to no capital when they are established. The team typically bootstraps and raises funds from family and friends. Those lucky enough get sizable funding from angel investors and venture capitalists.

At first, many of these startups are frugal and dedicated in their early days but become extravagant and less productive after raising sizable funds. This has, however, led to many startup failures, and some of them never deliver a positive return to investors.

This article explores how you can maintain the startup spirit where every employee of the company is optimally productive, irrespective of your funding round and team size.

Eliminate distraction

Working longer hours does not necessarily translate to increased productivity. U.S. workers lose over 1 hour of work time daily to distraction. A study sponsored by Dropbox revealed that distraction costs U.S. businesses about $1.4 trillion.

To reduce distractions for your team, optimize the workspace to reduce visual distractions. Encourage them to activate the do not disturb feature on their phone while working.

Block accessibility to distracting websites or social media for certain periods of working hours on the company’s Wi-Fi.

It can be tempting to want to convince staff to work long hours to tackle a long list of tasks. This has been discovered to be ineffective. Instead, allow short breaks throughout the day when employees can get up, move around, and refresh their minds.

Incorporate employee recognition program

Your employees want to feel appreciated and recognized for their efforts. Studies have shown that employees who feel their efforts are recognized and valued are more satisfied with their organization, more productive, and less likely to leave.

Companies that have hacked this trick usually incorporate an employee recognition program. An employee recognition program is a company system that is designed to acknowledge and appreciate employees for their contributions.

Appreciation can be a low-cost endeavor, as small as a personal thank-you card. A study conducted by Gallup confirmed this, as money was not among the top forms of recognition employees considered most memorable.

To make your employee recognition more memorable for your staff, consider acknowledgement via award or presentation of custom medals. Private recognition from the founder or CEO can also be memorable.

Limit meetings

Meetings are an important part of team collaboration and can be vital for making key decisions. However, not all meetings are necessary. As a startup with only a few staff members, it can become the norm to have all staff present at a meeting since most people are functioning in multiple roles.

Meanwhile, as your workforce expands, meetings should include only essential people. Leverage other available communication channels to share necessary information instead of making your employees waste productive time attending meetings where they are not needed.

Even for the essential attendees of a meeting, ensure the meeting is as short as possible. Set an agenda for it and implement the tap-out rule. The tap-out rule simply means an attendee can leave if the conversation no longer involves them or their department.

Hire slow and fire fast

With available funds, it can be tempting to want to increase your workforce to keep up with demand and expansion. While this is crucial, it is also vital to ensure your prospective employees can easily fit into the company’s culture.

Do not lose the startup spirit, where everyone is ready to give their all to ensure the success of the company. Assess candidates beyond their skills. Some experts recommend hiring after more than two interviews and getting perspectives from others in the organization before hiring a new employee.

Regardless of how much you try to be careful in your hiring, it is still possible to recruit employees that will significantly diminish your productivity. If you notice this and have tried to help them integrate into the company but have made no progress, do not hesitate to fire them.

Create playbooks

This is best started when you have only a few employees. Document your journey; note the challenges experienced by the team and how you were able to handle them. Identify the lessons learned from such mistakes and possible ways to avoid them in the future.

This can help create a playbook that new employees can use as a map to help them navigate your company culture, easily fit in, and become better team players.

You can also create a guidebook for processes you frequently do and consist of the same steps. New employees will be able to learn how to handle things. This will ensure uniformity in your work process and significantly boost productivity, as you will have eliminated the need for repetitive training and corrections.

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