In the dynamic startup scene where there’s no shortage of new opportunities, how can founders keep their ever-growing teams happy and motivated?
We asked six residents from the community at TQ, a tech hub in the heart of Amsterdam that aims to push startups towards exponential growth.
Share the bad as well as the good
“Transparency is the key to happiness and staying motivated in a startup company. Whether it’s the financial situation, investor feedback, short or long term goals, it makes a difference when everything is clear. I used to keep all these aspects of the company to myself because I thought it was my burden to bear.
But by being transparent, obstacles can be solved with the support of the team, which gives a sense of ownership and self-motivation tied to the company’s success. Therefore, I’ve created regular one-on-one session with each member to exchange feedback and be on the same page with everyone.” — Frederieke Wolter, Founder of Favoroute
Combine business with pleasure
“Since Gallerease is a global platform for art galleries, we inspire our team members by taking them to art fairs and cultural, art-related events. This way we combine the business with the pleasure of art.
And of course we end the day with a good glass of wine to discuss as a team what we enjoyed most. As you spent most of your time with your colleagues, business and pleasure should be combined in your working life as much as possible.” — Frederick Gentis, Managing Partner of Gallerease
Get the best from everyone
“One key motivator is to the give employees responsibility on their job. We try to involve them in our strategic thinking and allow them to come up with the best way that their work could benefit the company.
In an open discussion, we come to conclusions that they themselves have co-created. If we then also show them the results of their work, they feel responsible and therewith a sense of fulfilment. This results in a team that feels connected with the company.” — Sem Schuurkes, Founder of CityHub
Give credit where it’s due
“We keep the Flexport team happy and motivated by giving as much ownership and responsibility as possible. Nothing motivates our team more than owning customer success end-to-end, and getting the praise when they solved a particularly gnarly situation.
To allow this, you need to be specific about the field your team can play in and then let them run free! Oh, and a well stocked refrigerator and good lunch go a long way too…” — Jan van Casteren, Vice President Europe of Flexport
Encourage personal growth
“We offer plenty of opportunities for personal growth and development. When you create an environment of transparency and trust, you’ll notice your people will grow and go the extra mile. That doesn’t mean you can take the laid-back approach: stay connected, interact and keep listening.” — Gwenda Retuadan, People Manager at Open Social
Bonus tip: don’t forget to have fun
“We started as three founders that studied in Tilburg [a small city in the south of the Netherlands that’s famous for its drinking culture]. We were able to bring a stash of our magic well-known potion from the South while moving to Amsterdam last year.
Opening such a jar of Schrobbelèr has motivational effects on everyone that is near to it, and keeps the ones that drink it happy. Its lasting effects are up to four hours of high productivity and a lovely smell of cookie.” — Richard van Laak, co-founder of Scribbr