Many entrepreneurs dash to Dubai with a dream of startup and I have an important message for them.
As a HR Manager of an auditing firm that follows the spirit of entrepreneurship in its true sense and having closely observed hundreds of entrepreneurs, my observations may come handy to many of you.
Most of the startup entrepreneurs have great business ideas in their mind. And 99.99% times they discuss about their products or services, business potential, licenses, rules and regulations, office premises, free-zones, private equity and bank finance etc. However, they are seldom clear about the ways and means of managing the business and aren’t sure whether they will get the talent to keep the business going.
One better start discussing people’s issues sooner rather than later.
Many a times entrepreneurs ask me, ‘Who should we hire first for the startup?’ I strongly advise them to hire a HR consultant who has a vision, ability and sense of responsibility to turn liability into assets within the shortest period of time. At this point, it is also necessary to chart out business policies, business processes and procedures so that everyone knows how things are going to happen within the company.
Now this might be a very sensitive subject to many; because startups by their very nature believe in business secrecy and thus many try to avoid external hands. When an outsider works on company polices, process, procedures, many feel losing control over the staff. Needless to say, it’s not a convincing proposal to entrepreneurs.
Only experienced HR consultants can work strictly upon agreed objectives and areas. HR consultants maintain highest secrecy to your business confidentiality with the sole motto of welfare and prosperity of the firm and the staff. The consultant you hire should believe in ‘Walking with your Business’.
In my experience startups and a newly found HR expert (or HR consultant) should work hand in hand to find methods to outline and develop – employee job descriptions, hierarchy, systems, processes, procedures, rules and regulations, without adding burden to the rest of the organization.
UAE point of view…
Getting right people to work at the right time is as difficult as avoiding cloud on the horizon situation. And above that the single largest issue that causes the most emotional despair in a startup is management of people and the cost of employing them.
If you put best HR practices into place in the earliest days and are undertaking the right things first, you’ll have fewer and fewer issues and blowups later. Before doling out a half dozen ideas for startups, one should keep in mind to get their HR issues sorted out early at top most priority level.
The most common and deadly mistakes:
1. Not hiring a HR person:
As mentioned in the intro, with so much to think about when you’re launching a business, a HR consultant can easily fall by the wayside. And as per experts if you stick your head in the sand and put off hiring HR talent for too long, you’ll regret it. “It’s an inevitable issue for any company to hire the best people”. And with the experience I can easily say that, “if you don’t have a HR person with a seat at the table, you will not get the best people on your team.”
Only true professionals can strictly follow guidelines to your Business privacy. Only consultant can and should walk with your business.
Before doling out a half dozen ideas for startups, getting HR issues sorted out early should be the top most priority.
2. Putting perks above communication:
Startups are famous for their sometimes outlandish or lavish sounding perks, but according to experts, new businesses aren’t focused on free dining or tripping and lavish lunches (though they may have those) but on implanting ‘communication into the culture’.
One can say the best company culture is, “where you can give feedback to each other on what’s working and what’s not working”.
3. Ignoring employee development:
Your business is growing, but are your employees? If you’re not helping them get better at their jobs and acquiring new skills, then you’re not going to hire or keep the talent you need.
Employers must ask themselves certain questions:
- “Are you giving your employees the tools to be effective in their job?”
- “Are you providing them with tools to grow in their career?”
- “Are you enabling opportunities for them to accomplish all the things they want to do?”
- “Are you addressing their personal and professionals concerns timely? “
And if the answer is no, and you’re going to have problems soon, for sure. And that goes for startups as well as bigger businesses.
I have witnessed hundreds of resignation happening around, just because employee do not feel secured in all the respects.
And above all practical views…today’s candidate is quite smart and he does his checks and balances about the organization beforehand.
4. Customer focus:
Engaging oneself more in petty administrative things instead of staying focused on customer will be the worst mistake one can think of.
Taking the following precaution today will prove to be a sound foundation for your empire tomorrow.
- Take care when it comes to career of an employee.
- Build the empire on a sound footings built with committed employees.
Long live the startup spirit. Kindly share your startup success/concern stories. Many will be benefitted.
We as a Business and HR Consultant will be happy to guide you in matters involving managing employee’s matters/issues at the startup stage.
Rajan is Group HR Manager, responsible for our human resource strategy and programs that empower N R Doshi employees to deliver the very best professional services to its clients.
A practical thinker who guides and leads HR programs that enhance revenue growth and profitability while creating employee-friendly, safe, and productive work environments, he looks after the human resources team which aim to deliver a great employee experience. He is a strong advocate of diversity, innovation and loyalty at work.
Rajan is MBA-HR & Marketing and carries more than 35 years of experience in highly dynamic HR field.
Rajan may be reached at rajan at nrdoshi dot ae