Denna S
Thursday, March 15, 2018
4 min read

Why authenticity is vital in startups

Authenticity has been getting a lot of buzz over the past couple of years, almost becoming fad-like among millennials. Studies have found that more than half of employees cover up part of their identity to fit in at work. So, what does it take to be authentic at work and why is authenticity so important, especially in the graduate and startup realm?

A transparent and authentic workspace has many benefits. It fosters a comfortable area for employees to feel safe and do their best work. This is crucial to general well-being since more than half of our waking hours are spent at work. We can even extend to the notion that a comfortable workplace can lead to happiness and satisfaction in the job. Additional benefits include confidence, strong working relationships and workplace success. It’s a no brainer that a comfortable workspace that stems from authenticity produces better results for the company. This feeling of psychological safety within an organisation improves the mood and the tone of the company and can permeate as deep as the brand. Authenticity is what converts employees to become brand ambassadors and generate pride for the company they work for. It’s just good business.



What authenticity can do for your company?

Hiring graduates that value authenticity can work wonders for companies. Keenness for authenticity shows an individual high in emotional intelligence. With the rise of computers and AI, emotional intelligence and authenticity is what sets us apart and keeps our work current and necessary. As we become more and more digital having intrapersonal human connections in the workspace is a very valuable skill and advantageous to influence clients and customers as the world becomes more and more technological. Jobs spanning from account execs, sales, design, advertising or PR, people facing roles and business to consumer services need to possess this skill to connect to their desired target effectively.



So, what can startups do to foster an authentic workspace? 

Promote inclusivity on all stages. Be open at a professional level and allow employees to feel in the loop with regular communication. This fosters a feeling of belonging within an organization. In the world startups, this is key as uncomfortable employees who don’t feel part of the startup world are likely to move to other companies sooner and not be as stuck-in to the role or the organization. As a startup, high turnover rates and disorder within the company can make or break your business. Startups in development stages try to gain stability within business, so forming a cohesive team that’s a delight to work, by using simple actions such as keeping employees involved and part of the team ensures an operationally smooth business.  This saves time so you can focus on the growth and betterment of the company instead of spending time dealing with high turnover and employee dissatisfaction.


Seek out employees that value authenticity and transparency in all that they do. Highly effective and transparent employees in roles of leadership can influence other employees and their satisfied demeanours within the company serves for good business and give new on-boarders a work experience to look forward to. It’s important to instill and drive the values of the company within the employees without coercion and ask for open feedback to address any issues the employee might have.


How can graduate employees be authentic at work?

Authenticity is not necessarily acting as you would outside of work. Being in a professional realm, it is important to not overshare your inebriation stories of your trip to Ibiza. However, your position should feel natural and you should feel that you can discuss issues openly with superiors and colleagues. Note your weaknesses and accept them. Be willing to ask for help when you need it and admit it when you can’t do a task. Try your best and try to improve on your skillsets that you’ve presented but don’t make it about impressing your fellow employees or employer. Always remember to be positive and like your employer be open at a professional level by bringing your full self and having frank conversations.



Naturally, the idea of authenticity can feel uncomfortable at first. It is a level of vulnerability, where having to be self-aware and really discovering, understanding and accepting yourself and having empathy to the people around you is key but with this under your belt you are sure to have a fulfilling graduate job or foster a satisfying startup business to work in.  



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