How to make your start-up a fantastic place to work

Six essential rules for creating a positive company culture that will put your business on the fast-track to success

Five years ago MVF was just a dream among friends, two years ago it came third in the Startups 100 and last year it was named the fastest growing tech company in the UK.

Last week it was ranked as the 41st best small company to work for in the UK and 20th best small company to work for in London.

For the London-based customer acquisition company, its workforce and company culture is integral to its fast-growth success.

Here, CEO Titus Sharpe shares six essential rules to ensure your start-up is both a fantastic place to work and achieves incredible results.

1)     Employ people who share your values

At MVF whenever we hire someone new we look for people who share the same vision as our founders.

We look for people who can demonstrate:

  • Nous. It is important to be bright, but to also be commercially savvy
  • Communication skills. Whoever you employ should be able to communicate well with staff, clients and customers.
  • Fun. It should never be all about work so we like to employ people with a fun streak. It has work benefits too, fun people are often sociable and team players, great traits.
  • Energy. Energy encapsulates a whole host of desirable traits such as drive, motivation, passion and positivity.
  • Integrity. It is important to know you are working with people with integrity. Not only will they be reliable and honest, but they will also be punctual and efficient.

2)     Offer flexible working

Flexible working doesn’t just mean working from home, it also means letting staff come in early or late and making up the hours elsewhere.


Action point: Search shared workspaces and assess if it could be worth co-working with other start-ups (external site, opens in new tab)

This could be for a variety of reasons whether it be caring for a family member or sporting commitments.

As long as the work is still completed, allowing flexible working can lead to more highly satisfied staff.

A Department of Work and Pensions’ study found 65% of employers saw improved recruitment and retention levels from having flexible working policies and 58% of small and medium-sized enterprises saw more productivity.

Home-working also offers other benefits including reduced office space and energy costs.

3)     Don’t be afraid to ask staff what they’re thinking

It sounds simple but the best way to find out what your employees want from you is to ask them. This could be via an online company survey, or a meeting with a cross section of employees.

We keep ours confidential to encourage greater honesty. By regularly listening to our employees we found out that charity was close to a lot of our staff members’ hearts so set up a CSR committee.

4)     Healthy and happy staff are hard-working staff.

If you can afford it, install showers in your office so employees can cycle or run to and from work or at lunch. Not only is exercise a great opportunity to put into place work-related ideas, it will also leave staff more energised and less stressed in the afternoon.

We also offer fruit baskets as well to help our staff keep healthy.

5)     There is no I in team

Team building is incredibly important and as your start-up expands familial relationships become harder to maintain.

At MVF we invest a lot in sporting, social and charitable activities to try and encourage engagement across all levels.

This doesn’t have to be an expensive hobby; even a lunchtime run club could work. But not only does it help keep staff energised and fit it also makes good business sense.

Chatting to people you don’t normally chat to can encourage a plethora of new and exciting ideas.

6)     Have a clear progression policy

Anyone who has ever worked with a small business or start-up will know that one advantage is you get experience across the board. However it is also important that your staff know their hard work will be rewarded with progression either via shares, wages and/or promotion.

The clearer you can be, the better.

Titus Sharpe is CEO of global customer acquisition firm MVF Global and Europe’s leading B2B marketplace Expert Market.

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