5 HR Policies That Worked for my Startup
Completing three years of operations, Kerala based Foradian Technologies can now boast of some good HR policies that have evolved over the period of time. Foradian's COO Vishwajith shares with us some successful policies and practices in managing the "Hacker News Age" employees.“Foradian's office is in Kasaragod district of Kerala which is not very developed. There is not much social life in the city, and not any quality theatres to watch movies. To add to the miseries, even the salary of the employees is yet to match with the industry standards when compared to cities. Still there are some reasons for quality employees to stick to the organization. Our attrition rate is 8% with 30 employees, which is pretty good for startups.”
So what worked for Vishwajith?
1) Flexible timings.
We offer flexible timings for the employees to reach and leave the office. Initially, we had also tried the ‘working from home’ option. But it was a failure and it was better to bring advantages of home-atmosphere to our workplace. So we work from office but to make it a win-win situation, we are a little relaxed with the timings.
2) Non filtered internet available full-time.
One has to define a thin-line between being stern and strict. We don’t want our employees to feel like they are in a school classroom. We exercise controls but it is important to exercise controls on our controls as well. Which simply means, we have to give them some lee-way and respect their personal space. We let our employees access Facebook, Twitter, Reddit, Youtube and all other social networking websites during office time. As long as they can manage their time effectively and deliver, we don’t intrude.
3) Multiplayer game in the office after lunch.
Like Benjamin Franklin rightly said, “Games lubricate the body and the mind.” And that lubrication is much required for the employees of a startup to perform at their optimum levels.
Our employees spend 30 to 45 minutes playing multi-player games in our network everyday. Their present craze is the BZFlag which is open source and highly addictive. In fact, there are times when the directors of the company also join the employees. Such games play a very indirect yet highly significant role in building team-players. Employees gel along better and any formal ice is broken.
4) Non-compromising Leadership
Our CTO Arvind who leads the entire engineering team never uses social networking. He doesn’t waste time browsing internet during office hours. He leads the company silently. So all employees respect his words and commands.
5) Saturdays as Innovative Day
Our office timing for Saturday is 10am to 4pm. If there is no emergency or urgent work, we spend the time in training and innovation. However, more often than not, this policy fails, as we are a growing company and have lots of work for the Saturdays. But whenever we can, we make sure we make the Saturday more than just another day at work!
Also, we lack regular team trips, which will be implemented pretty soon. Our dream is to provide every engineer with a dual monitor Mac. Hoping to achieve it in next Financial Year.
Don't think that you can solve the employee problems 100% with innovations like these? Remember what Colin Powell told "The day soldiers stop bringing you their problems is the day you have stopped leading them."
- Vishwajith, Foradian Technologies