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Elevate Your Startup: Key Drivers of Employee Performance

Jan 12, 2024

CEO responsibilities are not only about goal setting and accountability. In this video, you’ll learn how culture and leadership also influence employee performance—a key measure your startup's success.  


Marta Voda:
Hello, I'm delighted to share my insights on three crucial subjects that should be on every CEO's radar when embarking on the journey of starting a new company. Before delving into these topics, allow me to introduce myself. I'm Marta Voda, director of HR Outsourcing for Eisner Amper. My Focus lies in overseeing HR operations for our portfolio of venture-backed startups. With 20 years worth of experience in hr, I've held leadership roles at Clorox, Baxter, bioscience, and Biocon. My expertise spans in culture, employee experience, recruitment, people operations, and strategy. For this agenda, I'm going to address three key points. The first one is culture. It's unforeseen force that shapes organization. Next will be leadership, leadership that's rooted in empathy and meaningful connections, not just management. And lastly, the challenges and rewards of these two important topics as it relates to overall employee performance. I strive to share insights and inspirations to elevate your entrepreneurial journey and stand out in a competitive landscape.

Let's get started. So the first topic is culture. The role of culture in determining an organization's trajectory is paramount. A robust and positive organizational culture can serve as a catalyst for innovation, trust, productivity, and your employee satisfaction. I'm going to give you some examples and rewards associated with a vibrant, inclusive culture. And the number one is you'll have employee engagement, culture, the values, the employee's wellbeing and acknowledges accomplishments. Also bolsters productivity. Satisfied employee is a happy one, and when we feel this way, we're more likely to stay connected to your vision. The next reward is innovation and creativity. Creating an environment that fosters open communication, collaboration, and idea sharing allows employees to feel comfortable expressing their thoughts without fear of judgment or criticism. And this is where inventive solutions emerge. The last most important reward is you're getting to attract valuable, skilled talent and you retain them.

Positive culture magnetizes these types of individuals. And when employees experience a strong sense of belonging, feeling valued and given a purpose that is more than just a paycheck, is a great way to build their loyalty. There is a downside that exists when culture sours. And I'd like to share three consequences and some examples that occur when a culture neglects an employee's desire to have a positive experience. High turnover and low morale is the leading sign of a toxic culture. Ways that you can spot this. Take a look at your organization. Do you have silos and collaboration deficits? Interdepartment rivalry or discouraging teamwork fosters these silos and it's a collaboration killer. Hampering communication and sharing knowledge isn't a good way to start.

Startups need to change constantly, and having a culture that resists the need to be agile or iterate swiftly can really impede on a company's ability to evolve. Taking a look at technologies, trends, or market conditions. if you are resistant to change, the result is most often missed opportunities and waning competitiveness. If your culture aligns with the positive attributes that I've just described, you're on the right path. But should your organization mirror some of these negative traits solutions about? First off, invest time in defining your organizational values and your purpose. Get feedback. Gather feedback from your team to find your blind spots on their point of view of what culture feels like or should feel like to them. Establish a team of founding employees to execute your vision. A culture crew of sorts. Foster idea changes via meetings, emails, Slack, Teams. Let all suggestions and brainstorming flow. Infuse your cultural perspectives in every communication faucet. From job postings to HR policies, your handbook, every single email that you write should embody these values. And also check on your folks. Ask them how they're doing. This is a simple way to get started, to really understand their point of view and use that as you define your values and overall the tenets of your culture.

The next really important topic is leadership. Leadership is a driving force in a startup’s journey encompassing a philosophy, prioritizing employee wellbeing and growth is a great way to start. Notable attributes of an effective leader are prioritizing the needs of others. First, fostering a positive environment to work, learn, and grow. Mentoring and creating a career path that employees can inspire to living your core values through your company and through your personal examples. And lastly, clear, kind communication at all times. While some startups naturally embody these traits, others require refinement when some of the attributes are not so future forward. Here's some ways to course correct. Ensure your employee's emotions are valued. It's empathy. Shun micromanagement whenever possible. Nobody likes it and reject passive aggressive behavior and intimidation. And if you feel it coming from you, stop it. As the leader, if you see it happening, just gently ask the person to maybe change their tone.

Eliminating lane shifting and converting mistakes into learning opportunities without judgment quickly and continuously and iteratively will absolutely help move your organization much further along. Some other habits to consider, executive coaching. Think of executive coaching as a personal trainer for your career and for your leadership style. Leadership workshop. Invest in courses that help you become a better version of yourself. The best $250 I ever spent was on a conscious leadership class. And years later, I am still using the lessons learned every day when I'm speaking to my team. There are great ways to learn through media, engage in podcasts, audio books when you're on the run. Some of my favorite podcasts are How it's Built by Guy Raz Work Life with Adam Grant and my favorite TED Talk of all time. How Great Leaders Inspire Action by Simon Sinek. So let's talk about employee performance. I've talked to you about culture and leadership. If you add culture and leadership, it really will equate to employee performance. A startup hinges on its people for sales, product development, customer satisfaction,

And so much more. Your organization's success rests on your employees. CEO responsibilities are not only about accountability and data-driven decisions and goal setting. They're also about nurturing trust, adaptability and collaboration. These factors define your team's accomplishments and your employee's profitability is a measure of a great success. As you voyage through your startup expedition, I urge you to champion the fusion of culture and leadership staring your path toward high performing employees and boundless triumphs. Thank you so much for spending time with me and all my best to you.

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Marta Voda

Marta Voda is a Senior Human Resource Strategist and leader of the firm’s HR Outsourced Services group with 20 years of experience in HR leadership.

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