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5 roadblocks startup employees face from their bosses Talent Management is most crucial for emerging businesses, it must be backed by mindfulness from founders.

By Dr. Yasho V Verma

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India has become the fastest growing and third-largest startup ecosystem. Millennials are a risk taking lot and the numbers of those willing to risk starting their own ventures are growing at a never-before pace.

Interesting that MSMEs have always had a frontrunning role in the overall industrial economy in India, accounting for more than 80 percent of the total number of industrial enterprises. Estimate put the sector's share in manufacturing output at accounting for 45 percent and 40 percent of the total export from the market.

The excitement around the MSME sector has indeed doubled with the buzz around emerging businesses. While at one end we see fresh out of college or dropouts designing and building new applications and algorithms, on the other, there are middle-aged professionals busy setting up enterprise startups or close to quitting lucrative jobs to do it alone.Since 2014, it estimated that there are more than 800 business ventures are either floated or setup annually. .

While the Indian startup ecosystem is fuelled by young and diverse entrepreneurial spirit, its sustenance will depend upon few critical factors, hiring and retaining being one of principle ones. Though startups are usually backed by huge passion and zeal, belief and faith, there are certain aspects of talent acquisition and retention startup teams should consider with a magnifying lens:

1. Rigid mindsets of founders: After funding, the biggest concern for a founder is customer acquisition and continued cash flow. Founders are largely perceived as people driven by commercials. If a startup has received some amount of seed funding, the idea of a founder gets validated; he tends to believe his business idea and knowledge about competition is holistic and complete.

He would like his employees to also rely on his information and business sense. Initially, this is good for all, but if a founder has limited domain expertise and functional specialities, his company is at the risk of being stuck with a single form of ideas and/or mindset, in the absence of a second in command or a core team as his extension.

A one-track thought process is bound to become an obstacle within a short span, particularly when it comes to talent acquisition. Often rather than lay the ground for value-addition, a single thought process often becomes a point of discord and disharmony.

2. Of the scrooge and parsimony: It's different to be judicious in spending than be close-fisted. Founders, in an attempt to recruit industry's best, show the moon to an incumbent but quickly forget the promises made once the candidate is hired.

Professionals feel more attached and loyal if they become part of the top management or core team. Share in stock options or profits is real big motivators and pullers. For startup founders who create lateral teams sans hierarchy, it is crucial that they have dependable teams. Trust takes many years of perseverance and practice to firm up; demonstration of confidence in the team ensures founders reciprocity.

3. Be set to push to the next level: While founders are the force in a startup, it's good as long it keeps investors and fine professionals interested. A founder must check themselves from the risk of being glib, give in to their narcissism or almost always speak on behalf of his team or employees.

Evidently, the buck need not always roll up to the founder and him alone.Some founders believe in creating cultures whose strings they hold tight. This model most often is detrimental to a company's growth and follow-up plans.

Founders must remember that a startup will not always remain one, and in due course will break to the next level. Their chiefs must make the organisations ready to chalk out academic and practical blueprints, and charters of organisational milestones and successes.

4. Zero-degree partners: The principle founder typically starts with a partner or a group he shares his alma mater or work place with. Such partnerships with school/college mates, co-workers is "Zero Degree' and have their own set of pros and cons.

A founder' s job descriptions and assigned responsibilities, as founders, if not segregated or chalked out well, may result in a lot of chaos and mayhem within the young team. If a founders or co-founder are not mature enough, power struggles start to show across operations.

This affects performance terribly as employees are confused as to which "side' to swing and adhere to. Such workplaces are plagued by rumours, unhealthy interpersonal rivalry, politics and a general vicious office atmosphere, an obvious road to devastation.

5. Lacking HR policies and founder's self-training: It is critical that founders realise the importance of drafting and adhering to HR policies. A robust HR policy only firms up a positive perception of a startup, that it is "thinking big" and will soon run the way big organisations do, rather than be run on whims and fancies of the founder.

Things fall in the right slots once decisions are not dependent on personal prejudices but on systematic processes or framework, howsoever big or small they are. Implementation of policies is key and should not only remain in papers.

Execution depends on self-training and discipline founders exercise. If they lack working skills, they should be willing and be focussed in learning or upgrading, fast.

It is observed more often now, HR in companies adopt enhanced proactive roles in holding the attention and commitment of their employees. They plan and design strategies with the primary focus of enabling employeeequity basis participation from hirers.

There is also a growing consciousness of making the hires feel at home, rather more than just home. Management and HR must convey to their employees how much they arevalued; gesturally it can be expressed in form of appropriate pay outs or spends towards training and development.

A company's contribution to overall and long term growth and progress of an employee is paramount. In order to attract top talent outside, an evolved culture sets precedence to the brand of the organization. Interpersonal relationships, respect, dignity and transparency play a significant role.

Dr. Yasho V Verma

Management Thinker & Philosopher

Dr. Yasho V Verma is also a former COO at LG, an academician, a startup mentor and a veteran in consumer durables. Currently, he is advisor to Videocon and a member on board of Dena Bank. Dr. Verma is a PHD in organizational behavior from IIT Kharagpur.

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