MP chatted with Yoav Vilner, CEO and co-founder of Walnut.io, the world’s first demo experience platform that has raised $56M in its first year to help hundreds of tech companies with their interactive demos.
Before that, Yoav launched several tech companies, mentored startups in leading accelerators, and was named a top marketer to watch by Forbes.
How can leaders cultivate a culture of inclusive leadership throughout their organizations, and why does such inclusivity matter?
Inclusivity is mandatory for fast-growing yet early-stage companies. It reflects on your entire culture. Gathering diverse opinions, feedback, and strategies from people with various backgrounds can add significant value to your entire decision-making process and the experience your employees are getting.
How important is recognizing employee achievements to developing a positive work culture, and why?
Employees don’t join early-stage startups just because of the possible upside.
They join for a mission.
If you don’t celebrate the achievements of their hard work, you’re just not reading the map.
What should celebrating employees’ milestones and achievements look like, and why?
In the Zoom era, celebrating milestones is slightly different than in the past.
Your HR or people function should look for milestones and celebrate them in the all-hands zoom meetings, announcing that milestone on the general Slack group, or sending everyone a bottle of wine.
It doesn’t matter precisely how - but more of just doing it.
According to The American Institute of Stress, 83% of American workers suffer from work-related stress. What are three out-of-the-box ways leaders can help reduce their employees’ work-related stress and add to work culture, and why these three?
1. Encourage Self-Care
Encourage your employees to take care of themselves: talk to them about sports-related routines, mindfulness, and more. Even try bringing in an expert if you can afford it. Schedule a weekly Yoga class, for instance.
2. Ask for Feedback
Don’t just give your team negative feedback when needed, but ask for feedback on yourself as their team leader. This will spark an honest conversation and reduce the load off their backs.
3. Be Fair
Be fair when it comes to timelines and deadlines. We’re all human, despite the business pressure.
Not all environments need creators. However, what value can developing a creator work culture add to an organization, what might that culture look like, and how does one develop it from the ground up?
I run a fast-growing tech startup in the sales automation space.
You can’t build such a successful venture without your team members actually creating it day in and day out. As far as I'm concerned, the work environment of builders and creators is a must-have in startups.
Make sure your team members know and feel they’re part of every small and big success.
Let them know they can impact your entire strategy by showcasing proper data for their points.
Give your VPs the freedom to run their departments as they see fit but under KPI supervision.
Make your entire company know it’s working as a whole.
Startups often require employees to do more for less and do so with smiles.
How can leaders spot when employees are overworked, positively intervene, and what corrective actions should be taken, and why?
Employee experience and feedback are the heart of everything you’ll do.
You should invest heavily in your HR team to supervise people’s workload, but more importantly, encourage the team leaders to monitor if anyone is overworked.
As CEO or VP of the company, you should also put that as the main goal: ensuring all your employees are working within reason.
Does offering benefits such as four-day work weeks, unlimited PTO, health insurance, and the ability to work from home make up for toxic workplace cultures?
Dynamic workplaces are mandatory for the success of early-stage startups.
Listen to your team’s needs, learn about the market, run some benchmarks on how it’s currently working in your market and act on it.
People need time for themselves and their families; otherwise, they will burn out.
Is there anything else you would like to share?
The people on your team are the heart of your startup.
Ensure you’re on top of their work-life balance, personal achievements, and overall success.
Responses provided by Yoav Vilner, CEO and co-founder of Walnut.io.