Are startups influencing corporate work culture?

19th Nov 2016
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The startup versus corporate environment has sparked many conversations and debates! The flexible, free-spirited atmosphere of the former stands in stark contrast with the more formal and less relaxed environment of the latter.

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The fact that the startup culture draws a lot of envy and desire towards itself is driving the better workforce away from the MNC’s. They could do with a few changes within their capacity, rather than worrying about an unhappy workforce and constant attrition. If you’re working in an MNC and facing similar issues, you might consider the below mentioned changes that startups have inspired in corporate spaces:

  1. Relaxed dress code: Dressing formally, even though its essential in certain job profiles, more often is only just a rule that everyone obeys. It was when the startup culture began that employees first started questioning whether they really need to be in a suit if their working behind a screen all day! Paying heed to these concerns, many top companies, including IT giant Infosys, have done away with their formal dress codes!
  2. Encouraging innovation – gone are the days when simply fulfilling client expectations was enough. Startups brought in the age of innovation and new ideas, of thinking a step ahead, of offering before being asked - and big companies are following suit. When India’s third largest IT services exporter Wipro set up it’s “commando force” targeting clients seeking speedy automation, their former Head of Financial Services’ Unit admitted that they aimed to have the look and feel of a Silicon Valley startup, from a relaxed dress code for employees, to more compact teams for quicker service for clients.
  3. Reachable CEO’s – there was a time when “meeting the CEO”, or even seeing him, was more of an annual event for employees at grand company seminars or gatherings. With the sheer size of workforce spread across the world, it is practically impossible for big companies to facilitate any one-on-one meetings with the CEO, or sit-together brainstorming sessions. While that still hasn’t changed, companies are finding ways to bridge this divide. Company blogs, CEO’s profiles on twitter, and open letters directed to employees is a start. Tech Mahindra also started contests as an engagement activity, where the winner gets a chance to spend a day with the CEO and share he/her ideas or suggestions.
  4. Embracing social media – for the longest time, large companies ignored the social media onset by calling it a thing for the new age. But as the fever really kicked in, more and more are joining the bandwagon and many, in fact, are choosing digital over traditional practices. Almost every big company now has in-house teams just to manage their online corporate presence. Not just company propaganda, but even advertising and marketing campaigns for major launches is becoming digitally driven. Startups can boast about initiating and inspiring this tech and digital awareness among the big guns!
  5. Recreational activities – corporates are now realising that expectations at work are not a one-way street. You can’t expect everything from employees and not care about what they need from you. More and more emphasis is being places on employee engagement and workplace happiness. Companies are actively organising office getaways, offering longer paid leaves, vacation bonuses, and making recreational activities a part of their HR initiatives.

Every organisation should review and reform its work structure every once in a while. Obsolete work practices can lead to stagnant and monotonous patterns in your work environment, hampering overall organisation productivity and growth. We understand how it can be unreasonable and impractical for a large company to completely abandon certain rules, and no one’s expecting that. But accepting selective traits that help your company grow and not become irrelevant is a good start, and will help your organisation in the long run.

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