Startups · Entrepreneurship

Is culture driven by viable business model or by keeping employees happy?

Mike Manangan --

September 16th, 2016

I can not help but ask this question to advisors and also myself. For some reason we have a very high turnover of employees. We have not been able to get to product market fit yet after all of our tests. Considering these facts, I would like to know if keeping this employees will be a matter of having them involved with activities and benefits or should it be all a matter of finding the right business model?


Steve Owens

September 16th, 2016

From the book Good to Great:
- First get the right people on the bus.
- Then get them in the right seats.
- They will figure out were to go

Michael Hartzell Entrepreneur, Addicted to "Yes" - When Everyone Wins

September 16th, 2016

This reminds me a bit of the needs of humans.
Once managers "got it", we were able to improve results.

If we remember that a sustainable business includes People, Purpose and Profit.

And the needs people have - summarized in the 4 L's. (In Stephen Covey's book - "The 7 Habits of Highly Successful People"

Live
Love
Learn
Leave a Legacy

You might start with this short checklist - 
A paycheck to live is something 

But it is appreciation, learning and how they make a difference that keeps them inspired.

This also reminds me of the book Linchpin by Seth Godin. Are you hiring cogs or linchpins?  

You can also think about whether the people you are hiring are in the right seat.  Here is a place their Core Value Index can be found - in 10 minutes.
http://www.michaelhartzell.com/cvifree

This is the free version.

Hiring, team building, the right people in the right seats, remembering the 4 L's, = might be a consideration.

In my mind. A viable business model includes people.  Unless you are thinking about robots and AI. :)  

Donavon Urfalian A.I. Engineer / Entrepreneur / Founder & CEO @ Umazed / Kodo Startups

September 16th, 2016

Hi Mike, what a great question you have asked. Culture are the meanings and values that the founder/cofounders of the startup embody in their respective and collective characters. Please realize that once a culture is set, it is very difficult, and some say impossible, to undo. The business model is at its most simple element a repeatable money making transaction based event. You have to understand the money making model within the context of the whole ecosystem of the company. I mean start out by writing what market you are in, then what is your product/service, and then your competition and what differentiates you from others in your market vertical space, then look at your money making model in light of the market you are in, as well as the idea that makes your product unique, and finally, then talk about the skill set that are relevant that your team has that makes you and them uniquely qualified to be successful, and then build values around all this in terms of your vision and mission statements, and engender it in your team.

Giles Crouch Digital Behavioural Economist | Speaker | Writer | Technology Strategist | on Twitter @Webconomist

September 16th, 2016

I'm sensing two questions here: 1) employee retention and 2) a non-viable product. Perhaps, if your product is not gaining any traction in the market, then you have a product looking for a market...that never works. Employees will leave if they do not think you have a product they believe in. If you are trying to force your product to fit a market, stop. Kill it. Now. When you have a real product that the market wants/needs, then you're okay. If you are trying to make a product with no direction or strategy, you will fail. The worst thing you can do is try to keep employees with no product or a product they don't believe in. So, shut down or re-invent and engage your employees in that process.

Chuck Bartok Social Media Consultant, Publisher, and Contrarian Curmudgeon

September 17th, 2016

Wonderful advice offered here.
But I am curious as why a company with NO product to market have a "number of employees"?
What do they do?
Business must be different today.
When we started new products (some very 'complicated' and highly technological) we had NO employees until product perfected, marketable and demonstrable sales, allowing the cash flow to expand and hire employees.
Made a lot more money that way
 

Joe Bencharsky Digital Marketing Manager, Social Media Strategist, SMM, SEO at WebTraction

September 16th, 2016

Have you conducted any exit interviews to determine reasons for leaving or points of dissatisfaction? Some key factors in retention are: Confidence in the product, supervision and management, a healthy working environment and en emotional connection to want to help a business succeed. Culture is an organic concept that is influenced by the employees that make up the business ecosystem as much as the factors intentionally included in the business environment. For instance, if no one plays ping-pong, there is little benefit of having a ping-pong table in the lunch room. A viable business model certainly helps with the confidence aspect, but passion by leadership can often make up for what may be lacking in the model given the right set of circumstances and fostering the right mind-set with hiring criteria and indoctrination process. You're asking some good introspective questions, but having some inkling as to what is driving turnover would be the best start.