Star­tups Get In­no­va­tive to Re­cruit, Re­tain Staff

Cos spon­sor hobby classes or gift Har­ley-David­son bikes, De Beers jew­ellery to keep their em­ploy­ees mo­ti­vated

The Economic Times - - Front Page -

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)”


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.



Myn­tra pays

Flip­kart has


Tax­iForSure gets


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