Founders, don't outsource building your culture to HR: Naveen Tewari

30th Oct 2015
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Naveen Tewari, Founder and CEO of InMobi, delivered a keynote at TechSparks about how he rectified some of the work culture mistakes he made when the company was smaller.

"People like to be free. We aren't in school anymore, we are dealing with adults. If we want to do meaningful work, we need to make employees want to do meaningful work for us. And not manage them like resources," he said.

Naveen-Tewari

Then he spoke more in detail about how InMobi used to use a complex performance management system before they realised what a waste of time and effort it was.

Trust the people you bring onboard.

"We all say that we trust our people [employees], but in reality we don't. The minute we start trusting them, they will perform better," he said, adding that they scrapped all forms of authorisations and approvals.

He says that statistics supported his decision. Only one percent of people misuse their freedom. He added that though they expected things to go haywire after this move, people did not misuse their sudden freedoms, and things ran more smoothly than usual.

Why look outside when you can find your gems inside.

“We found that the biggest reason for employees leaving companies was because they did not see growth. We wanted to change that, and we introduced internal hiring. Our thinking was ‘Why not let your employees explore and try out new things,’” said Naveen.

Since the startup introduced the policy, almost 35 per cent of positions have been filled from the existing talent pool.

"Another huge advantage when you move people around inside the company is the amazing amount of cross-learning that happens in the process," he said.

Think big start small.

"When you build a company, founders have to decide whether they are building for a small audience or the long haul global audience. For the long term, remember that it I'd easier to scale a culture than build one. So start when you are small."

He adds that founders must invest personal time into building a great work culture in the company.

Naveen concluded the session by saying, "If you really want go beyond series A, B, C and so on, invest your own personal time to build a culture, don't outsource the duty of building a work culture for your company to the HR team."

A big shoutout to TechSparks 2015 sponsors – Sequoia Capital, ICICI Bank, Money on Mobile, Microsoft, Signal Hill, IBM Bluemix, PwC, Atom Tech, Teamchat, Govt. of Karnataka, Intel, Rabbler, Dailyhunt, Reverie, Loginext and PayUBiz; Partners – Duff&Phelps, Taxmantra, Dineout, Exotel, 360ride, Yoga Bar, Chai Point, GWC; and our Media Partners – TV9, Fortune India, RedFM and Deccan Herald.

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