You have created a start-up company.
You have got the funding, or have the investors on your side.
The business model is in place. The product specifications have been drawn out.
And now you face the joyous task of building a team--out of millennials and Gen Z kids. What kind of people should this team be comprised of? Obviously highly driven, type-A personalities with a burning desire to achieve the goals that you have for your company; people capable of multi-tasking, thinking laterally, and who are willing to devote their mental and physical capacities to producing and sustaining the product you have pioneered. Which company wouldn’t want such employees?
However the question here is why should this profile of high achievers want to work with you, when they would rather work for the corporation offering them a big remuneration and bonus package, which your start-up company cannot possibly match. Understand what employees who come to the doors of start-ups expect in return, and you will have a winning team, irrespective of how many “A-players” you have in the team.
Listed below are the common expectations that an employee of a start-up company brings to the workplace on the first day of his or her employment (presumably, the reality sets in later):
1. The ability to implement ideas and the increased sense of responsibility arising from it;
2. Direct impact on the product and the firm;
3. The ability to multi-task across the board;
4. A direct sense of recognition and achievement;
5. Relative flexibility of work and lack of rigid bureaucratic procedures;
6. The ability to develop cooperation and rapport in a small team;
7. The culture of the company, based on factors such as transparency, cooperation, free-flow of ideas, clarity about the direction in which the company is heading et cetera;
8. The relative lack of hierarchy in the organization; and
9. The ability to influence decision-making at various levels of the organization.
Consider these organizational factors to be the motivating force behind employees who consciously choose to work for start-up companies, and add to this my sociological formula or the non-organizational factors, which I have described in another article in detail- the demographics of an employee (age, level of education, number of dependents, marital status), cultural factors, ethos of the market economy, and the nature of the polity. This will give you a holistic picture about the kind of employee who is standing at your start-up doorstep. Now that you are able to formulate some idea about expectations from the team, you are faced with the task of managing those expectations in accordance with your reality.
As pioneers of your product, also become innovators in ‘people management.’
Engage with your employees’ aspirations, expectations and deliverables in order to create a productive and vibrant environment, which is not possible in large corporations. Innovate and create new ways of motivating your team, for this will determine how long they will work with you, much more than how much you pay them. Since we live in an age where work and life cannot always be distinguished from each other, create a workplace that enables the team to feel valued, create work-relationships that are symbiotic and cooperative, create a life for the person that is meaningful. Provide the opportunity to learn and apply new skills, and to grow with your start-up company. Money doesn’t make everyone’s world go round, even if they are waiting to be a part of the IPO story!
But that’s another article waiting to be written.