April 29, 2008

Employee Management in a startup

Have been pretty busy off late and hence , not been able to blog much and in the process have been missing many interesting events happening in Bangalore and Chennai cry

Few days back, I came across this article in LiveMint, which focussed on an important discussion from the perspective of a startup - Hiring the RIGHT kind of employees for a startup.Needless to say that every employee in a startup should have that KILLER GENE to make HIS/HER startup successful.Very important to note the term HIS and HER in the previous statement, which indicates that these employees are very clear about their basics - "If they fail, the startup fails and if they succeed , the startup succeeds".

But there are many issues in finding this perfect set of people for your startup and even if you get you MR/MISS RIGHT, it would be a much bigger challenge to retain them !!! This was the topic of discussion in the April edition of the Open Coffee Club, Chennai. Below are some of the excerpts from that meet.

[Thanks to Siddartha Govindraj for the minutes of the meet].

The first step is Hiring good employees. Good here means that they should have the attitude to learn and grow with the company. Better having someone who wants to work with you and then train them , rather than get someone who may have better skills but who doesn't have the attitude and would leave you, when given a better offer. Best is the right combination of attitude and the skills.

Once you get your right set of people , the next big challenge is to Manage them.Freshers can't be left alone because they need someone to guide them, so you need to continuously interact with them, help and guide them.This would help in boosting their confidence , so that they can take up more challenging roles in future and be a valuable asset to your startup.

Experienced people can be left alone, but many of them who have worked in larger organizations may not have the attitude of working in a startup. So, there are two things which are possible in this case - either they get frustrated or they get accustomed in doing all the work by themselves.

Generally, experienced people are good for high level strategy/marketing/advisory positions, and fresher/intermediates for development kind of work [but there has to be someone to nurture them & guide them). But if you get experienced people with the right attitude for startups, then thats great in any position biggrin

You need to interact with everyone continuously, so that they know where they stand. In case someone is not performing, you need to bring this to their notice.This should not be done in a confrontational way, but rather you can mentor them ,so that they can perform better.But if there is no further improvement than you need to tell them that either they are not right for us or we are not right for them.

Different people are good in different roles, so you need to keep an eye on mismatched roles. For example: Someone might be good at learning new stuff but may not be detail oriented, this kind of person might be good for research/prototype projects, while a detailed oriented person might be better for client production products. If they take up opposite roles, than it would be a complete disaster for your startup.

Avoid a situation when you hire some people and then don't interact much with them.In this case there would be a series of confusions about their role, their expectations, your expectations; which may subsequently result in a drip in their performance.This would in turn be a cost to your company and there is no time for such confusions in a startup !!!

At every moment of time, we should remember that the motivation level of the employees would always be different from the motivation level of the founders of the company hence, as discussed before[during the start of the article] always thrive the OUR attitude from the beginning.As long as your employees remain motivated and enjoy the work , they would stay and if they are not, you can be sure that they would join your competitor wink

Sometimes whatever you do, your employees would leave you...in which case, you need to check your attitude, hiring strategy and other important aspects which may lead to such serious decisions. Always remember,"One person might be wrong in judging you, but if there are a series of people who follow their footsteps, than it is high time, you raise the ALERT signal and get your officials to discuss this issue"

There are many proactive people in the crowd who would follow you and your startup from the day your startup was born.Always keep an eye on such people, since they can be future partners or employees in your company.You can always use the Stanford Shopping Center test to get your MR/MISS right in your company.

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At May 25, 2008, 2:24:00 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

Retention of right employee is the key to start up as much as to a large organisation.

Performance linked reward system is the key here. please check the link :

At May 28, 2008, 3:01:00 AM , Anonymous Himanshu Sheth said...

Thanks for the comment.The link was very useful !!!

-Himanshu Sheth


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