Last year, ConveGenius was awarded the “Best Startup to Work For” award in the ed-tech category. It wasn’t surprising at all for the team, as the founders since the beginning had personally designed every workplace policy to keep the culture as hospitable as possible. Today, Shashank Pandey, the co-founder of ConveGenius shares his secrets on how he built an amazing workplace, exclusively on Office Chai.
From the day we got our first employee on-board, we knew we were going to make this a great workplace. I had heard (and still do) my friends crib about how they never willingly wanted to go back to work. We knew we never wanted ConveGenius to have that! That’s when this started- the relentless efforts into designing workplace policies that would benefit us all!
I am excited to share with you today the 6-point plan that we devised more than a year back, which helps us in getting and sustaining talent even today.
1. Be smart while you hire
Companies like ours don’t offer commonplace roles. Startup employees work in specialized areas of innovation and handle more than just one vertical. Therefore, getting highly experienced people on-board, who bring a lot of baggage from their previous roles might not be ideal. We believe that young, fresh blood, with a passion to work and a strong belief in the company’s core-values benefit startups the most.
2. Welcome your employees well
ConveGenius welcomes every new-joinee with a ConveGenius diary, a pen and company t-shirt! This may not sound special, but the moment employees get personalized goodies, they feel more connected to the company and instantly feel like a part of the family. We also take them out on a welcome dinner, introduce them to the team members informally and tell them about the company culture and happenings! On-boarding the employees and welcoming them is almost as important as hiring, because a well-spent first day at work creates a lasting impression in their minds and seamlessly connects them to the company!
3. Celebrate together
Perhaps the most important aspect of creating a bond in a small organization is celebrating events together! ConveGenius team celebrates every festival in their own special way. Not just festivals, we celebrate the achievement of targets, birthdays, signing of a good project, team expansions, and almost every other small or big event. To add to this, we also celebrate Wednesdays, to keep us motivated to the second half of the week. We go out for movies and games or just stay in to organize team-building activities. Celebrating together builds a bond that extrapolates itself to the team’s work as well. Everyone knows every employee personally and enjoys together irrespective which team they come from! Long story, short- Enjoy with your team, and you’ll see the results in their work as well. A well-bonded, happy team never fails to deliver!
4. Learn from all
Once you build a team that is talented in so many ways, identify each individual’s niche talent and invest on it. At ConveGenius, we build several project-based sub-teams, and irrespective of people’s designations, the one who knows the most about that project’s requirements is made the leader. Quite a few times, I myself have been led by many members from our team and it is a great learning experience to at times just sit and be a student to someone who knows more. In fact, we encourage people with specialized knowledge in any areas to share it with the team by organizing in-team workshops and learning and development activities. Such initiatives reinforce the sense of ownership in people and grooms them into better leaders. It keeps their self-esteem high and allows them to find their own special place in the functioning of the organization.
5. Thank the employees
Nothing makes the employees happier, than when their work is recognized and is shared with the rest of the team. At ConveGenius, we have a ‘Meetha Moment’ award, where the top performer of the month is awarded with a big box of chocolates in the presence of the entire team. Timely recognitions of achievements, along with a thanks boosts the morale of the team and keeps them going for more. In fact, writing personal notes appreciating the team members from time to time builds an environment of respect and belonging. It goes a long way into shaping the behaviour of even the future leaders and managers.
6. Be inclusive
Build a team that not only respects diversity, but in fact celebrates it! ConveGenius has an almost equal sex-ratio, and our employees come from all corners of India. We have people who’ve been formally trained in multitudes of disciplines from various institutes and universities of India. Such a diverse team brings with itself a varied outlook in life and their rich past-experience from a variety of situations actually give us all something to learn from! I recommend everyone to make a wonderful team with an assorted group of diverse individuals, who are motivated and driven by a similar passion, the one that your company believes in too.