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Here's Why Start-ups Need to Build a Learn-at-Work Environment At a start-up, the employee inherently has a chance to grow better and faster

By Sanchita Dash

You're reading Entrepreneur India, an international franchise of Entrepreneur Media.


In a start-up, there's always a hustle. New products are being launched, pitch presentations are made for investor meetings, networking takes up your time and as a member of the start-up, you are not just doing one thing, you are working on several things at the same time.

No surprises then that a lot of students turn to start-ups for their first job, as it can be a platform for them to learn more. Entrepreneurs too are aware of this fact. So, they make sure they build a team which is eager to learn and create an environment where learning takes precedence.

Entrepreneur India spoke to start-up founders as they explained how they create a learn-at-work environment.

Not Bound By Limitations

In the start-up environment, there are no set rules except for one, get things done. In their quest to do so, entrepreneurs are always handling too many things at a time, while also putting in long hours at work. In this environment, employees of the start-up too are eager to follow the same path.

Anushuman Panwar, Co-founder, Creditas, believes that start-ups stand a unique chance at creating a work environment that favours and fosters learning since they are not limited by the legacy systems or hierarchal structures of an established enterprise. "Building a learning environment, like any other significant workplace culture, has to be a top-down approach. The senior management comprising co-founders or other business leaders need to lead by example. Implementing knowledge sharing sessions, training and workshops imparting crucial skills, are some of the ways for the start-up to build a culture where learning and growth are seen as the top priority," he said.

Be Open to New Ideas

With a flat hierarchy structure in most start-ups, employees are encouraged to build on innovative and unheard of ideas. Their whole purpose is to start a non-traditional work environment that gives others the space to innovate, believes Amrit Jaidka Arora, Sr Vice President Human Resource at Digit Insurance.

Arora added that the best way to learn in a start up in the quintessential way of allowing people to get their hands dirty. "Let people own up projects, let them make mistakes and move forward with deeper learning. They can also look at having training sessions or induction teams to encourage a learning environment. At Digit, we have an early Friday training session, where everyone contributes their input on how we can take the innovation and technology transformations for our products to the next level but at the same time maintain our motto of simplicity," she said.

At a start-up, the employee inherently has a chance to grow better and faster. Panwar said that acknowledging the growth of employees and motivating them to continue learning by sending them to specialized training programs or workshops is another key step by which a start-up may establish and ensure a learning work environment. "Furthermore, being open to new ideas, having regular town-hall or brainstorming sessions and encouraging employees to contribute, even in functions that may not be part of their job profile, would favour learning and sharing information, creating enough scope for employees to learn from each other," he said.

Self-driven Employees Are the Asset of a Growing Company

When entrepreneurs establish a learning environment for their employees, they aren't just helping the employees individually but are also ensuring growth for the company. Panwar rightly points out that all young and emerging enterprises need to understand that establishing a learning environment needn't only be for altruistic reasons. In fact, the same gradually reflects in the bottom-line of the company.

"For one, self-driven employees happen to be the asset of a company. If the team knows that the start-up takes their learning and development seriously, they are more likely to take ownership of the work and walk the extra mile in ensuring complete customer satisfaction," said Panwar.

Arora emphasizes that change doesn't come from one department or person, every single team member needs to think how they can challenge the status quo in their own fields and try out more efficient ways of working.

It Will Help Curb Attrition

Encouraging your employees to contribute to the growth of the company also does away with another problem start-ups face - a high rate of attrition. "Their top talents are constantly being lured by established enterprises, and with limited availability of funds, a start-up may not be able to match the pay packages offered by established enterprises. However, at times like these, a company's culture plays a great role in inspiring loyalty in employees," said Panwar.

Here's when by investing in the growth and learning of employees, making it one with the very fabric that constitutes the enterprise, start-ups would find their top talents naturally sticking with the company for the long-haul, channelizing all their skills, talents and contacts for the success of the company, believes Panwar.

Sanchita Dash

Entrepreneur Staff

Former Senior Correspondent, Entrepreneur India

In the business of news for 5 years now. Making my way across India thanks to my career. A media graduate from Symbiosis, Pune, I have earlier worked with Deccan Chronicle (South India's leading English daily), T-Hub (India's largest incubator) and Anthill Ventures (a speed-scaling platform). 

Stories, movies and PJs are my thing. 

If you hear 'The Office' opening score randomly, don't worry it's just my phone ringing. 


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