“People” the key and the most critical aspect of every organization and yet ironically, the ignored aspect as well. In a startup scenario, amidst all the important tasks of fundraising, expansion, networking and reaching break-even, often specific initiatives pertaining to People and Culture are missed. In my interactions with the entrepreneurs, I realized that it is not a conscious decision of ignoring the core People aspects, rather, it is something that gets lost amidst hundreds of other critical things. In few cases, it just slips through the crack wherein in few, leaders are really not sure of what exactly to be done.
So, here I thought of sharing with you all, the small yet extremely important aspects needed for a start up aligned to People and Culture.
Let us segregate in five categories :
I) Compliance and Statutory
II) Processes & Policies
Compliance and Statutory : This is an extremely important aspect, not only for the employees but for the organization at large. As soon as a company is incorporated, the Company Law mandates certain compliance requirements. Abiding by these is the responsibility of every leadership team and we owe this to our employees. The mandatory statutory requirements are :
i) PF & PT – Every employer should register for PF and PT (as applicable) and ensure timely submission of remittances and returns. Please note that non compliance in this is a punishable offence and can draw huge penalty
ii) ESI – ESI is the medical security of an employee. It is mandatory to file the returns and remittances on time in accordance to the ESI Act
iii) Leave – Allocating leaves to employees is not a matter of choice. All employees are legally entitled to Earned Leaves as per the Labour Law and it is of paramount importance to accrue as well as maintain the leave tracker for all employees. Earned leaves explicitly should be reconciled on a monthly basis. Please note that Earned Leave is a liability for the organization as it needs to be encashed on basic salary at the time of separation. Lack of monthly reconciliation might incur a huge monetary loss for the company
iv) Employee Database – Since every start up commences journey with a handful of employees, maintaining employee database gets completely missed. Employee database is not an internal requirement for an organization rather a statutory mandate. Every organization is required to maintain an exhaustive employee database as a part of statutory requirements. The essential aspects in this regards are :
a) Excel format of all employee details such as Emp No., Emp Name, Educational Details, Experience Details, Emergency Contact Number, Blood Group, PF Account Number, Insurance Number (If any) and other key information
b) Hard files for each employee which has to be retained for a period of 10 years
c) Monthly headcount reconciliation ( New joinees and Exits)
Processes & Policies : It is of paramount importance to understand that processes and policies are meant for assisting us to perform our best and not for restricting our freedom. The ‘family’ culture in startups is meant to enhance team bonding and not to loose control. Processes and Policies would help an organization to streamline work, inculcate discipline and ensure productivity. Formulating and implementing policies does not mean stringent guidelines. Policies can always be customized considering the workforce and diversity of the team.
Engagement : Creating an engaged workforce is the pathway to success. While we talk about engagement, I would like to explicitly mention that engagement is not just fun activities and celebrating ethnic day at office. Engagement has to be done at a holistic level and not just through fun@work. Fun@work is an important element of engagement but not THE ONLY aspect of engagement. An employee can be engaged through various ways :
a) Career Growth
c) Creating a positive work culture
Please feel free to connect with me at firstname.lastname@example.org for any help around this.