The founder of a fast-growing business has opened up on his approach to building and maintaining a positive workplace culture amid the changes associated with rapid expansion.
In a recent chat with ABA Labels founder Paul Elsibai (pictured, centre, with his senior leadership team), My Business asked how the leader of a rapidly growing business (which has gone from five to 82 employees within just three years) goes about building a workplace culture and ensuring that, at a bare minimum, he knows the names of each member of his team.
Mr Elsibai said it is something that requires a concerted time investment on his part, and providing activities that allow employees to engage with each other as well as their boss.
“It’s Friday drinks, it’s bonding sessions at art class or whatever, because you have to genuinely care about them,” he said.
“And when you genuinely care about them and you genuinely have an interest, you don’t just remember their name but you remember what their boyfriends’ or girlfriends’ names are. You remember that a week from now, due to a previous conversation, they’re going to be going back to the UK to celebrate their father’s 60th or whatever it might be.
“You don’t see them as a tool to a business; you actually see them as people.”
According to the entrepreneur, “once you do that, it’s really easy”.
“For me, it’s not difficult. I’m not sure how someone else would respond to it, but to me, it’s that simple. Have a genuine interest and see the team as an extension of family: we’re just a work family.”
According to Mr Elsibai, part of being a family means being yourself, even as the owner of the business.
“At one of our karaoke nights, [unbeknown to me] one of our team members was filming me, like really putting my heart and soul into a song. And then it circulated throughout the company three days later after the event,” he said.
“That was a year ago, and I still hear about it now and it’s managed to make its way to our partners as well. I just have to laugh about that and say, ‘Paul, you’ve always got to be yourself’. I felt like singing just own it.”
Mr Elsibai added: “Come this Friday, I’m not sure if I’ll be more measured or not. I can’t help it though: when those beats kick in, you just go to let loose, right? Come what may!”
Adam Zuchetti is the editor of My Business, and has steered the publication’s editorial direction since early 2016.