• February 2019
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What’s the best way to maintain startup culture while having an employee handbook?

The early days of a startup are unique. Oftentimes, employees are working with very few resources and little access to capital. They tend to be motivated primarily by the purpose of achieving a vision as opposed to obtaining valuable equity or cashing a paycheck and leaving their work “at the door.” There is a palpable energy to be found within the walls of a startup during its early days. And it is an exceptionally valuable energy at that.

Because this early energy tends to be focused, creative, collaborative and dedicated, startup founders may be understandably concerned about enacting policies and/or ushering in the kinds of progress that may stifle such a valuable resource. Concerns about maintaining “startup culture” as a business matures are often legitimate and well-founded. Thankfully, there are many tools available that you can use in order to foster the aspects of startup culture you prize while allowing your company to grow and evolve as time passes.

 

Creating Your Company’s Employee Handbook

Startup founders may be understandably skeptical that crafting an employee handbook could assist them in fostering startup culture over time. However, approaching the creation of an employee handbook with certain goals in mind may allow founders to cement their values into the very core of their business. In addition, the very process of drafting an employee handbook will set important expectations for employees. If startup values are at the heart of this document and these values are enforced, your vision for your company will almost certainly be better maintained over time than it otherwise would.

 

Enforcing the Values of the Employee Handbook

It is important to consult with an attorney when drafting your employee handbook, as the language you use within this document could ultimately become a valuable legal resource or a liability, depending on how you phrase your values, expectations and protocols. Before consulting with an attorney, it may be a good idea to brainstorm about those startup values you want to highlight most plainly. Perhaps you prize innovation, collaboration or a “staying small” approach to business even as your company grows. Or perhaps you value agility, a specific approach to communication and/or leadership. Once you can clearly articulate what you would like to accomplish via your handbook, you will be better placed to help ensure these values are represented even in the most legally dense sections of the manual.

 

Company Culture Guidance Is Available

If you are concerned about ways in which you can continue to foster your business’s startup culture as your company evolves, please consider reaching out to the team at LawTrades. Among our many business-centered services are general legal strategy sessions. The focus of such sessions can easily center on maintaining startup culture while nurturing a legally sound, profitable and sustainable business model. Our strategy services are accessible and effective for businesses of all sizes and industry types.

Please note that to-date, we have assisted more than 5,000 startups with a wide variety of legal needs. If your company could benefit from some experienced legal guidance, please consider contacting the team at LawTrades today.

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