What drives Indian talent to choose startups as their preferred place of employment? | Expert Speak

Businesses are propelled from concepts to brilliance by people. The most important investment a company can make to drive its productive capacity is in its human capital, especially for evolving startups that blossom into high-growth companies. Building a winning culture that attracts and retains the best and brightest has become the most important dimension of organizations today. Furthermore, as the world has gone digital, there is a massive talent paucity, particularly in technology, which has resulted in tech behemoths, global banks, and hundreds of fast-growing startups all competing for the same pool of talent.

India’s Fostering Startup Ecosystem

In recent times, India Inc has catapulted and fostered a sturdy startup ecosystem. Multiple startups have made remarkable success with digitalization at the core, thereby igniting overall economic growth. Regardless of their limited resources, it is imperative for these startups to attract and retain the best talent in the industry. Some are enticing them with 3-day work weeks, while others are incentivizing them with big joining perks like mountain bikes and the latest tech gadgets. People strategists at startups are leaving no stones unturned to be at par with their more resourceful and well-known counterparts through people-friendly initiatives. Here’s a look at some of them –

Focusing on employee wellness

The significance of physical and mental well-being in the wake of the pandemic cannot be overstated. Coping with the rapid transition to remote work took its toll on everyone, and as a result, mental health has emerged as a growing source of concern among the working class. Employee wellness is directly aligned with business outcomes, and several startups like Classplus and Swiggy are focusing their efforts on improving it through wellness programs. Free counselling sessions with mental health experts, yoga and meditation at work etc. are some of the wellness initiatives offered by startups that have helped their employees in lowering work-related stress and anxiety while increasing job satisfaction and productivity.

Creating wealth through ESOPs

Several high-growth startups are ensuring that their employees create wealth as they grow by providing them with stock options in the form of ESOPs. ESOPs, which were once only available to senior management in businesses, are now available to all employees, including blue-collar workers in some cases. A few like Classplus, Meesho, and Zerodha have also announced buybacks recently, allowing employees holding ESOPs to liquidate them for cash. Another trick startups have been implementing is creative referral policies, like offering ESOPs as referral bonuses in the case of the leading B2B ed-tech startup Classplus, to reward employees for referring talent from their network for specific roles in the company.

Offering professional development policies

Startups are promoting professional development for their employees through policies such as learning & development, internal job transfer, and boomerang policy. They are going above and beyond to provide them with the resources to advance in their current role as well as the flexibility to switch to another if they believe it is not a good fit. The boomerang policy allows an employee who left the company to pursue other available opportunities to return as a rehire.

Providing flexible work environment

COVID-19 changed the way we work, forcing businesses to abandon traditional office spaces in favour of home offices and virtual meeting rooms. While the transition was difficult at first, people all over the world embraced it. Many people still prefer a hybrid work model for its many advantages, even as more offices open up. It also broadens the talent pool by allowing employers to hire talent from around the world. This is making startups adopt “Flexi Work,” which is a win-win situation for everyone.

Lastly, the act that stands out in the majority of businesses with great corporate culture is to value and encourage employee performance through continuous learning. This allows employees to contribute more to the company and stay up to date on the latest trends, innovations, and regulations – a clear benefit to the team’s skills. Through these initiatives, startups have been at the top of their game in ensuring their employees feel motivated, encouraged and happy with them.

About the Expert

Bhaswat Agarwal is a co-founder of Classplus

Bhaswat Agarwal is a co-founder of Classplus – a New Delhi-based startup that helps tutors manage their classrooms through a mobile app. Launched in 2018, Classplus app is being used at 200 institutes across the Delhi-NCR and also in a few cities in Punjab and caters to all coaching institutes for students from Std 9 to 12. Prior to founding Classplus, Bhaswat was a Technology Strategist at Microsoft.

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