Startups Get Innovative to Recruit, Retain Staff
Cos sponsor hobby classes or gift Harley-Davidson bikes, De Beers jewellery to keep their employees motivated
Areimburses employees up to $800 for taking up courses that help them pursue personal goals and hobbies “We are not following what any other firm has done. This was the right time to give something back because of their loyalty. And, hierarchy was not considered for this (offering shares to employees)”
SHREYA ROY & DEVINA SENGUPTA
gave out ESOPs to 50 employees this year without taking hierarchy into consideration t emerging technology firm InMobi, a common slogan is "InMobi pays you to have hobbies”. Want to learn guitar, a new language, or how to paraglide? Employees can enroll on a course and on completion, InMobi will reimburse up to $800 of the cost. Personal development of individuals has not just been encouraged, it has in fact been made part of every employee's overall goals at InMobi. Also, starting this year, every employee who stays at the company for three years will be eligible to get a Harley-Davidson bike, a Volkswagen car, or De Beers jewellery. Says Monisha Tambay, vice-president of people operation at InMobi: “We are working towards building a dream company. We are doing that by thinking out of the box when it comes to HR practices, wiring together policies that enable employees and investing in our people since therein lies our foundation for a successful future." Even as traditional IT firms struggle to find and keep people, emerging tech companies and startups like InMobi, Myntra, Flipkart and BookMyShow are adopting innovative ways when it comes to rewarding, training, developing and recruiting talent to build their foundations on. “Startups need to hire the best people, create opportunity for people to give their best, and provide lucrative ways to retain employees,” says Nishchae Suri, partner and country head, people and change, at KPMG India. “Since they do not have large teams, they need programmes that bring out the best in their employees and improve contribution at a faster rate than more established companies.” Every Monday morning at TaxiForSure, an employee discusses an inspiring story that does not have to be related to corporate life. “It should help people in rethinking the way they look at 50% of costs for training in areas that may not be relevant to its business
training boot-camps for recruits at all levels and functions, and knowledge-sharing forums for engineers things and providing new perspectives to life,” says co-founder Aprameya Radhakrishna. Weekly inter-team quizzing takes place where the team that wins, keeps the trophy till next week. The startup gets its top brass to address specific issues of teams. The issues could be as varied as ‘making better presentations’ to ‘managing conflict’.“Leaders are forced to understand issues at a deeper level, because without that they can't answer questions or provide insights,” added Radhakrishna.
This January, BookMyShow, which helps people book tickets online for movies and other events, took a big step in ensuring retention. The company offered its shares to 50 of its 200 employees for the first time in its 10-year history. Out of 50, five were office boys and one was a secretary. The shares were given mostly to those who have stayed at the firm for four years and more, while some were rewarded based on their performance despite shorter tenures.
"We are not following what any other firm has done. This was the right time to give something back because of their loyalty. And, hierarchy was not considered for this,” says Ashish Hemrajani, CEO and founder of BookMyShow. At Myntra, employees are being given the opportunity to ask for training programmes that may not be relevant to their jobs. And the online shopping company foots half the bill.
“While some of our training programmes are mandated, there is the option for employees themselves to ask for training, even if it is not relevant to their job roles. We work with the employee to help figure out what assistance he or she needs,” said a human resource spokesperson at Myntra. From a leadership development perspective, too, the fledgling firm is ensuring that it doesn't fall behind. Every manager is given responsibility to find and develop his or her successor at any given point, and the company evaluates its leadership pipeline every six months. Online retail firm Flipkart has an intense training "boot-camp" right from entry-level employees to senior management. New tech hires, for instance, are exposed to all teams that work on different technologies, and
To ensure dilution of company culture is at a minimum, InMobi plans to make 100% of its hires through employee referrals by 2017
adopting "speed dating" for recruitment
its top brass to address the specific issues and problems of teams. The issues could be as varied as ‘making better presentations’ to ‘managing conflict’ are presented with real-time problems for which they are expected to generate workable solutions. It also has an internal knowledge-sharing forum for engineering teams, where the primary objective is to facilitate an exchange of perspectives among open-minded engineers. Even at much smaller organisations, training is seen as the most essential component of talent management. With just 11 permanent employees, and 40 field staff, Three Wheels United is training employees on concepts of social business. "Many come from an NGO background and are unaware of business models in the social sector," says CEO and co-founder Ramesh Prabhu. Three Wheels United helps auto drivers get a financial base and provides insurance. The start-up plans to rope in external help for business and HR initiatives. Finding new talent remains the main focus for start-ups as they expand. "Hiring is the major sore point for startups. The most important thing when you are building a company is finding the right cultural fit, who also has the talent that you require,” says Amit Singh, co-founder of HeadStart Network Foundation, a not-for-profit that organises hiring events for start-ups. To ensure dilution of company culture is at a minimum, InMobi plans to make 100% of its hires through employee referrals by 2017. Myntra, which hired 2,300 employees last fiscal year, recruits only fresh graduates from the Indian Institutes of Technology, Indian Institutes of Management, Indian School of Business and National Institutes of Fashion Technology. The company has five rounds of interviews for any role, and a large portion, more than 30% of its recruitment is through employee referrals only. Others are giving “speed dating” a go. HeadStart's Higher, an event which facilitates such hiring, saw close to 300 start-ups register for its latest edition in Bangalore last month. Typically, candidates — with two to 12 years of experience — are short-listed through an online platform. On the day of the event, each start-up pitches itself for 60 seconds, following which companies and candidates interact in a "speed-dating" format, with three minutes given to each candidate to be interviewed. The recruiters then roll out the offers they want to make.