As a part of your entrepreneur journey, it’s important for you to think about what type of company culture you want to create. There are companies where employees find themselves caught in a very negative type of company culture. They spend their time criticizing other employees and higher-ups. They procrastinate doing their work. And they try to get as much out of the company as they can without giving it their 100%. Is this the fault of the employee? Not necessarily. Sometimes, it can just be a result of the company culture.

If you, as an entrepreneur, don’t make an effort to mould the company culture right from the inception of the company, you may end up hiring the wrong kind of people. Or you might hire the right type of people but they may get so caught up in the atmosphere around them that they don’t know how to maintain their positive side. So if you want to keep things positive right from the beginning, here are a few tips:

1. Practice What You Preach

Most entrepreneurs start their companies with only a few employees. It’s only after the company starts growing that more people are hired and the business takes on its full-fledged form.

At that point when the company is still pretty small, you can lead your employees by example to set up a good company culture. You don’t have to do much. You can simply start by being friendly. Wish people good morning and good night. Ask them how they’re doing. Ask them how their families are doing. Make sure that they don’t have to put in too much overtime, unless absolutely necessary. Let them take their lunch hours.

These small signs of consideration will be much appreciated because people don’t always find them in other companies. And once your small crew of two or three people understands your values, they’ll also start imparting them to your new hires.

2. Listen

If you want to create the kind of company culture that your employees will like and appreciate, you need to listen to their suggestions. You need to make sure that everyone has a voice and feels empowered to change things. These might be small things, such as what color you should paint the office or big things, such as what type of marketing campaign you should use for a new product.

Even when it comes to matters like company culture, your employees might have some suggestions about how to improve it. They may suggest that you get a location with more amenities, such as a gym or a pool. Or they may be more concerned with getting better health and dental benefits.

You may not be able to give everyone what they want but, if you see a trend in the kinds of things people are saying, you can start working towards bringing about a change that incorporates that trend.

3. Promote from Within

One great way to create goodwill among your employees is to promote from within. This strategy also has certain other advantages. By the time that someone has been with you for a couple of years, you know what their strengths and weaknesses are. You’ve had a chance to train them and they’ve had a chance to fit into the company culture.

Instead, if you hire someone from outside the company, you’re going to have to judge them on the basis of their resume and one interview, which is really not much. Even if you call them in for a second interview, that still doesn’t compare with all the time you’ve had to get to know people who are already a part of the company.

So it’s a good idea to encourage people who join you to keep improving their qualifications. That way, they’ll be eligible for promotions when the time comes.

4. Encourage Creativity

Another great way to create a good company culture is to encourage creativity. One of the reasons why people start becoming critical and inefficient is because they get bored. And they get bored when they’re doing the same thing day in and day out.

In order to prevent this, you can mix things up a little. Give people tasks that they don’t usually do. Get them involved in brainstorming with their departments. Tell them to come to you if they feel like they have a good, innovative idea which involves marketing, packaging, sales or administration.

So it doesn’t matter how you encourage creativity as long as you do it. Doing something novel once in a while can make people go about their jobs with more enthusiasm.

5. Encourage Socialization

Everyone wants to work at the kind of company where they feel like one big happy family. Unfortunately, most companies are rife with competitiveness and backbiting instead.

One good way to prevent this from happening is by encouraging employees to socialize more with each other. There are companies like Warby Parker which even send off employees who don’t know each other to lunch, which is paid for by the company. You can adopt this idea.

You can also assign someone the task of organizing company parties, picnics etc. You can encourage department heads to take their people out to lunch. You can encourage people to have birthday parties, wedding showers or baby showers.

There are many ways in which you can encourage socialization between employees. Adopt a few that fit in with your entrepreneurial style.