Business with a difference

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“What’s differentiating Corporate and Startup culture, Deepak Dhamija shares his insights in Economic Times titled – Business with a difference”

Here are a few things that start-ups do differently from the rest of the corporate world. Start-ups speak a different corporate parlance and it’s most evident in the way they treat their employees. Be it something as simple as the seating arrangement or something as game-changing as an open communication system, start-ups believe in breaking conventions and pushing long-defined boundaries.

A NON-HIERARCHY

Hierarchy? What’s that again? Startups believe in a flat structure where authority is no bar for innovation and growth. “We have a non-hierarchical system and open communication in terms of talking to people because a lot of our work is very dependent on collaboration in every sphere”, says Sid Taparia, founder, VoxPop.com, an original merchandise retailer. He adds, “Because of the way large companies are structured, a lot of communication is siloed and takes time to go around. Start-ups are more flexible, nimble and react faster to changes because of open communication.“

A BEAN BAG CULTURE

Forget cabins, cubicles and straight backed chairs. Start-ups want you to lie back in a cushy beanbag and get cracking on your laptop. “With no cubical environment adjoined by the bean bag culture there is much transparency between all individuals sitting together on one floor. This gives a sense of being together and working together,“ explains Neeraj Jain, CEO and co-founder, Zopper, a hyperlocal marketplace.

HIRING ‘BUILDERS’

Unlike established companies, a start-up offers lot of scope for shaping and sculpting. So they look for people who can `build’ the company. “Any company, start-up or otherwise, must always look for people who are `builders’ and must try to create an environment of `building culture’, as this helps in unlocking the hidden potential inside employees and contributes in chiselling out the organisation’s success story. One of our employees, apart from his full-time function as a marketer, has also started his own homemade food service to cater to other office employees. He is currently receiving nearly 60-70 orders from the office every day,“ says Sandeep Ghule, CFO and head HR, TranServ, a digital solutions company.

RELATIONSHIPS BEYOND WORK

Start-ups move away from the anonymous culture in many big organisations where individuals are only known by the work they do. “I honestly think the biggest differentiator at a start-up is the relationship between employees, and between employees and their managers. We all sit together in an open floor plan which keeps communication open and ensures that issues are escalated and resolved quickly”, says Sanna Vohra, founder and CEO, Indear.in, a wedding planning and shopping portal.

QUARTERLY PERFORMANCE REVIEWS

Start-ups believe in on-the-spot recognition for those who are result-oriented. Sounds like a dream? Amit Sinha, VP business planning and people, Paytm says, “We have quarterly performance reviews as opposed to the traditional annual ones. Our KRAs are also dynamic as opposed to annual in other cases. Our PLIs are evaluated and paid out on a quarterly basis.

And this also means that employees must work faster and harder.

ESOPs

Although Employee Stock Ownership Plans (ESOPs) are not restricted to start-ups, smaller companies are likelier to offer it as an incentive to balance out packages that do not match up to larger companies.“ESOP is one powerful tool, through which founders are able to retain key employees, and they are being made party to the success story,“ says Deepak Dhamija, co-founder, Aristotle Consultancy, a virtual financial advice portal.

FUN FRIDAYS

In most companies, team outings are an employee initiative and rarely transpire. That’s not so in start-ups.

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