[TechSparks 2020] Springworks founder says ‘Slack is the new HQ’ and companies need to recreate offices online
Homegrown HR tech startup Springworks enjoys an enviable rating (4.9 out of 5) on Glassdoor — a distinction it takes rather seriously. “A high Glassdoor rating means your employee retention is great and it also helps you attract better talent,” notes Kartik Mandaville, Founder and CEO, Springworks.
Springworks, which has offices in Bengaluru and Santa Monica, has a 150-strong workforce, and prides itself on its “winning company culture”.
But what is company culture and how can you build that? Also, how can you ensure efficient remote workflows, high employee engagement, talent retention, and a happier workforce?
At TechSparks 2020, the 11th edition of YourStory’s flagship startup-tech conference, Kartik along with Anoop Suresh, VP - Business & Operations, Springworks, delivered a masterclass on all of the above and more.
Drive value beyond compensation
Springworks reckons that 21st century job seekers are fundamentally different from their predecessors. Gone are the days when they would be satisfied with just monetary compensation, and seek no other fulfilment from the job.
It also has to do with the fact that they spend over half their waking hours at work. Hence, it is imperative for employers to offer value beyond money.
noop explains, “If you look at companies with the best culture in the world, they have a history of treating their employees the same way as their customers. In sales, you have to listen and deliver value. That is what they do for job seekers too. Fifty years ago, it was only about putting food on the table. But compensation is not the only value anymore. It is important for today’s job seekers that the company’s values are aligned with their personal values.”
Enable peer-to-peer recognition
Springworks believes that peer-to-peer (P2P) recognition is critically important in a post-pandemic world. “Acknowledgement cannot be just a top-down thing, it has to be a 360-degree mechanism,” Kartik says.
It has built a P2P recognition tool within Slack — Springworks’ most important workflow and communication channel — that allows employees to celebrate their colleagues, and leave them kudos.
Interestingly, all metrics of excellence are tied to company values like transparency, autonomy, flexibility, attention to detail, empathy, and so on.
Anoop says, “Acknowledgement, purpose, stability, a sense of belonging — these are human things all of us want in any relationship. And your job is a very important relationship because you’re spending so much time there. Employees want their leaders to be coaches and mentors, not taskmasters.”
One of the recurring themes in Springworks’ Glassdoor reviews is that it’s a ‘friendly organisation’. “That trickles down from the top. We’ve an attentive and humble CEO, who is actually the Chief Empathy Officer,” Anoop adds.
Kartik quips, “You can’t fix everything. When all else fails, rely on empathy.”
Build Slack as the new HQ
Springworks believes that creating a strong company culture is increasingly important post COVID-19, which has brought about major disruption. Today’s setting calls for immediate and deliberate resolution of “genuine concerns”.
Kartik elaborates, “How can you recreate your office online? Slack is the new headquarters, and you have to adapt to the new ways of communication, workflows, engagement, and [P2P] relationships. We’ve been able to use company culture as a tool to combat COVID-19 challenges.”
Springworks found in a recent employee pulse survey that work-from-home satisfaction rates had climbed to 70 percent six months after the lockdown from about 50 percent at beginning of it (in March).
The startup is also celebrating employee occasions like birthdays, weddings, work anniversaries, farewells, etc. on Slack, sending out gift vouchers on Amazon, and ordering cakes on Zomato.
Kartik adds, “We also plan to have quarterly off-sites because 60 percent of our employees are now working remotely. So, it will give them a chance to build new relationships, bond and interact, and stay aligned with everyone.”
TechSparks - YourStory's annual flagship event - has been India's largest and most important technology, innovation, and entrepreneurship summit for over a decade, bringing together entrepreneurs, policymakers, technologists, investors, mentors, and business leaders for stories, conversations, collaborations, and connections that matter. As TechSparks 2020 goes all virtual and global in its 11th edition, we want to thank you for the tremendous support we've received from all of you throughout our journey and give a huge shoutout to our sponsors of TechSparks 2020.
Edited by Teja Lele Desai