Startups and corporations are divided by varying dynamics. They have different work cultures, processes, policies and business models. Each has its own advantages and disadvantages but, generally speaking, employees in startups seem to enjoy their work life more than their corporate counterparts. This comes down to the way entrepreneurs function and how they run their company.
The daily lives of entrepreneurs are vastly different from that of corporate employees and the latter would do well to learn a thing or two from the former.
Here are five lessons corporate employees can learn from entrepreneurs to revitalise their careers and work lives:
Darwin's 'survival of the fittest' theory postulates that only those organisms who adapt to change can survive the rigours of existence. Entrepreneurs, perhaps more than anyone, know the importance of this truth. They face countless challenges and unless they quickly adapt to every change that comes their way, they will soon find themselves in dire straits. Corporate employees would do well to follow the same principle. Instead of being demotivated by problems that invariably arise at the workplace, employees should strive to find workarounds and innovative solutions to remain relevant and productive.
An entrepreneur who's afraid to take risks will shunt any and all whiff of success. Playing it safe has never worked well for anyone in the startup ecosystem and it applies to those working in the corporate world as well. Employees in large corporations should take risks lest they find their careers suddenly stagnated due to unforeseen reasons. Adopt the mantra of 'nothing ventured, nothing gained'. This can involve taking on projects or tasks outside their current job role or experimenting with previously untested solutions for a problem.
Employees are often shackled by the bureaucratic chains in corporate companies. Rigid hierarchies allow managers to exert strict control over their employees leading to lack of enthusiasm in the workplace. This restricts innovation and has a debilitating effect on employee morale. The upper-level management should give employees the freedom and responsibility they need to do their work without constant supervision — as is the norm in several startups. The best entrepreneurs encourage employees to take up the initiative of identifying problems and find solutions either on their own volition or through brainstorming sessions.
Most corporate companies care about the bottom line and nothing else. But single-mindedly chasing profits leave a debilitating effect on a company's culture, and if that aspect of a business isn't running smoothly, then anything hardly will. Corporates should empower employees by explaining to them the impact their work has on the overall goals of the company, also recognise and reward them when valuable contributions are made. Several entrepreneurs clearly explain to their employees the impact their startup aims to make in the industry and how each one can contribute the collective goal. That sense of purpose is invaluable for an employee's productivity, whether in a startup or a corporate company.
It's easy for corporate employees to get isolated at work and be recognised only as someone who works at 'xyz company'. This can cause problems in the long-run. The best entrepreneurs are masters of networking and creating a personal brand that goes beyond their startup. This allows them to explore different avenues when the one they were pursuing unexpectedly closes. Similarly, networking can have several advantages in the corporate world as well. Forging new business partnerships, gaining new clients and finding new jobs are all easier when you have valuable contacts both within and outside the industry.
A few other aspects entrepreneurs have mastered are working with resilience, persistence and speed. Corporate employees would find their time at the office better spent if they adopted these traits exemplified by entrepreneurs.