HR Challenges For Startups & How To Solve Them
The best companies are the ones that understand that people asset is the most important thing you have got to focus on
These are the words of Robert E. Siegal, a venture capitalist and organizational behavior expert who also teaches at Stanford. This could not get any truer. Just look around closely and you will find that most of the reputed companies across industries put people first. Because it is a well-recognized fact that if your employees are your strongest supporters, then nothing can stop you from achieving the goals.
Many people think that HR department is mostly about hiring and firing. But that is a gross misconception. Well, it is true that recruitment is a major area of responsibility for them, But more importantly, HR is responsible for establishing a policy for managing all its people and nurturing their talents so that it keeps aligned with organization's goal.
How It Is Different For Startups
Most of the fast-moving startups do not prefer having too many rules around them. Because they feel that rules will slow down their innovation process. This perception came from the fact that HR is the most process-driven team in any company. This is arguably true but what they forget is that HR department also solves some internal problems.
Besides, innovation-driven companies are now gravitating towards “People Team” instead of traditional “HRM department”. Apart from solving management related issues, these team also aims to maximize the value of each employee and their contribution.
Let us move onto our next section, where we talk about HR challenges for startups and how to tackle them. If you are running a tech company, watch out for these issues!
Scenario: Most of the startups do not have a system in place to get employee feedbacks on crucial aspects of a business. Feedback is a great way to understand if your employees are satisfied with the way they are being managed. There should be a way to express their opinions, dissatisfaction and complains about office environment as well. Startups suffer when they do not bother about employee feedbacks.
The reason for running into these troubles is simple. They fail to address any need for such processes. However, these feedback data will help you to improve the morale of employees and correct any prevailing malpractices. Besides, these data can potentially help you to defend your decision about an employee's promotion or termination.
Solution: First ask yourself what are the feedback areas most important for your organization. Well obviously, you can take feedback for anything and everything. But having a plan will let you optimize your resource and time for this purpose. Not just that, you should be able to make a greater use of these data. Also, decide which tools to use if to prepare a feedback form with specific questions and answer parameters. Google Forms is the most commonly used feedback form builder since it seamlessly integrates with any google account.
Skill Training & Talent Development
Scenario: Lack of skill training is a big reason behind low employee retention rate among startup companies. A large number of startups are innovation-driven, so they need to provide certain training for their employees to get the best results. Many employees get frustrated only because of this issue and moves to another employer that provide solid training & development opportunities. It is important to have a structure about employee's skill development through training.
Solution: Let us tell you first that expense is the least important concern. Talent development process does not require a lot of money, rather it needs careful planning and honest intention. You can offer a mentoring program to your employees by inviting over your personal connections to your office. There can be in-house classes led by employees who are expert in certain areas. In this way, you will be able to develop the knowledge of your employee base in minimum cost.
Besides, as a startup, networking should be one of your core expertise. That means you always have this option to reach out to your investor or founder and engage them in this talent development process. There is a little possibility that they will turn down this gracious offer!
Documentation & Reporting
Scenario: As a fast moving company, it is normal for startups to forget about documenting their policy, task process, meeting minutes and so on. What happens is, when you need these documents, you fail to find it on time. Ironic, but it happens to all the companies. It might appear very trivial, but in the long run, it will hamper your people management process. You will fail to provide the official log for overall policy and process to your new employees. As a result, you will start facing more HR issues and reduced trust by your employees.
Solution: Documentation is not just an HR process, but the team should be responsible for monitoring its execution. It is not really required that you write explain every single element to the last details. A simple flowchart, diagram or bullet pointers is more effective than subjective write-ups. Moreover, you should have a permission structure for confidential reports because any employees should not get their hands on it.
Scale Hiring & Onboarding Process
Scenario: Even now, startup founders recruit people through their personal networks. The entire hiring and onboarding process is very informal and does not involve much other than providing a laptop and having lunch. With the growth of the business, these things might be viewed as “callous and unprofessional”. By that we mean, there might be a situation when you will be required to onboard around 10 employees at a go. If you keep on pulling the same stunt at that time, you might be building a poor recruiter's image unknowingly. Therefore, you must come up with a process that is sustainable and well accepted by majority people.
Solution: Hiring might seem super easy, thanks to social media and job portals. But creating a system that yields solid long-term benefit is tough. It needs experience in people management and HR knowledge. You must not look confused or very casual while onboarding an employee. Keep in mind that you will never have a second chance to create the first impression. In order to ensure that, prepare a plan for hiring and onboarding your people and stick to it.
Discharging Your People
Scenario: Any employee with minimum integrity wants to contribute positively to an organization. If you keep a track on your employee's progress and provide necessary direction, around 90% of them will turn out to be your precious assets. However, few of them might fail to fulfill your expectation and you might be required to get rid of them. Because it might create productivity issues and negatively impact the employee morale.
Solution: Performance should be measurable in terms of the effort provided, the impact of planning and quality of task execution. However, it might vary based on the job roles. If you can identify a serious performance issue and the respective employee does not have any valid justification, you should consider terminating the contract. But make sure, the entire process is objectively driven and properly documented.
We have covered the major HR challenges in this write-up. However, keep in mind that real life issues may often be unprecedented and multi-dimensional. The first thing that you can do tackle these issues is to realize that you need a people management team in place. Then think how you can start the process given the resources you have. All these knowledge will only come in handy if you put trust in HR division's ability to mobilize a company.
What other challenges did you face with the HR of your company? Do share with us in the comments. We would love to hear them out!