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3 employee engagement rules every startup must follow

Rajeev BanerjeeIndia is seeing a startup boom. Young, passionate and dedicated people are coming together to create innovative products and services. They are creating a dynamic new ecosystem, and in the process, they are challenging the established norms of corporate India.

A typical startup consists of a handful of people. There’s hardly any hierarchy and the lines demarcating the departments are blurry. The comradery somehow diminishes over the time. Especially since the team grows and newer members are added to the family, they tend to leave their “chilled out” approach and bring in some practices of the corporate world.

The result is a predictable decline in morale. To avoid that, here are a few pointers by Rajeev Banerjee, CEO & co-founder of RightTap that every startup must keep in mind while drafting an employee engagement policy.

1. Share your company’s goal

For a lot of startups, many of their employees will be fresh college graduates. And while they are motivated, they will also be directionless. The casual atmosphere of start-ups also adds to the workforce that’s not very focussed.

So you have to find a voice for your company; a common goal to which all of your employees can gather around. Goals help in setting targets, which are essential to get the employees on a common page. This goal-oriented approach will also shape their future standing in the company.

2. Talent retention

The real purpose of employment engagement is ‘talent retention’. You don’t want your best people to leave because they feel disconnected with the company. So even if your employee engagement surveys show good numbers, they are not worth much if your core talent is willing to leave.

Talent acquisition and talent retention are essential for any company to grow in the long term. Therefore, your employment engagement activities should also focus on long-term plans. And like any economist will tell you, long-term planning is a continuous process.

A company must plan various indoor/outdoor fun activities/games to foster healthy competition that brings out the best in your employees.

3. Employee engagement as an exercise in humanity

You have to realise that employees are real people with feelings and emotions. Don’t treat them like mere assets and liabilities. Appeal to their human side. People are hungry for recognition. They want to be accepted and appreciated. So create a reward, recognition and incentive system that can be used to improve employee participation.

  • Rewards — to appreciate good work
  • Recognition – to acknowledge good ideas; and
  • Incentive — to facilitate hard work

Such practices create an atmosphere that fosters personal and professional growth. Further, these need to be complemented by team building activities to create a sense of community/bonding.

At the end of the day, don’t stress too much about employee engagement. Instead, treat people well, lend them an ear, and help them grow. If you just try to force “productivity” out of your employees, keeping tabs of their every second, chaining them with strict rules, they will end up developing a disconnect with your company.

Give them some leeway. A personal day off in a couple of months, an impromptu jam session one Friday, an unexpected lunch out, a surprise trip to the movies, etc., are good ways to build a team spirit, loyalty and infuse a sense of bonding into your team.

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