• Startups nudge staff to change work culture

    Employees at startups, which were once fledgling firms but are now established in their fields, are being given challenging KRAs, key result areas to measure performance outcomes. A highly competitive operating environment is driving this shift towards a new work culture.

    While Bigbasket has told its employees that 50% of their increments will now depend on the kind of customer feedback the company receives, etail giant Snapdeal, which not only faces competition from Amazon and Flipkart but other vertical players as well, wants employees to gear up to its new vision of 20 million daily transacting users by 2020, for which the company has drafted new KRAs.The company has broken down the target into individual goals which it wants employees to adhere to.

    On the other hand, Paytm has for the first time introduced new parameters in the evaluation of its people. These include leadership principles, which are behavioural in nature, such as ownership, speed, trust and transparency.

    Such changes, said experts, are being necessitated by the stage of growth these companies are in it’s a stage when the founders believe they need to weave in a culture that binds everyone together.

    With Snapdeal setting a new vision, the entire company is being geared into looking for “unique users”. Its digital marketing team now looks solely at “users” (how many/how frequent/conversions) way more than any other metrics.

    Naturally, to meet this vision, employee behaviour and KRAs had to be changed. To facilitate this, the company has put in place a structure to ensure there are periodic reviews and feedback is given on individual KRAs and goals. A programme on mentoring and development too has been rolled out.

    Saurabh Nigam, VP-HR, Snapdeal, said: “The finalization of vision and mission was a process of self-discovery undertaken by the founders. The visioning exercises involved multiple sessions involving both the founders wherein they recounted their personal journeys, motivations, ups and downs in the meteoric rise of Snapdeal. They clarified what Snapdeal means to them and where they want to see it in the future. Once articulated, the same was refined further with different function heads, with the realities of the organization and our capabilities.”

    For this, Snapdeal roped in EY to help through multiple interventions and arrive at a new vision of making the organization the “most reliable and frictionless ecommerce company”.

    “As an organization grows, it’s very important that there is a uniform culture. If we don’t do that it would be very difficult to build the synergy within the organization,” said Nigam.

    For online payment platform Paytm, propagating and sustaining a culture of ethics and values is critical. This was easier to manage when the organization had a couple of hundred employees. As it expanded to become a 3,000-4,000 strong company, Paytm realized it needs to do a lot more in a structured manner. So it introduced new parameters in the evaluation of people in addition to the usual measurement of performance based on outcomes against KRAs.

    Amit Sinha, VP – business planning and people, Paytm, said: “People at Paytm were always empowered to take decisions and execute them quickly. But with a large number of new hires, the company found it difficult to maintain this culture of swiftness in execution of ideas. New joinees were not comfortable enough in taking decisions. They would wait for approval. We have started re-emphasizing the need to execute with speed. If we don’t do that, things will move slower.”

    Similarly, online grocer Bigbasket, which is present in 8 tier-1 and 19 tier-2 cities, is on an expansion mode. Thus customer feedback becomes a key parameter to judge employee performance and the company has decided to align this to employee increments.

    Hari T N, HR head, Bigbasket, said: “We have identified certain core values to elevate the culture. These are taking ownership, respect of personal freedom, acting with speed and focusing on internal customer so that they can keep the external customer happy.”  Michal Neuvirth Womens Jersey

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