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Perks of being a startup employee

Flexible work timings, stock options, a share in profits and a better work-life balance are being offered to compensate for lower salaries

M Saraswathy  |  Mumbai 

Among other things, India Inc’s biggies can learn the art of pampering employees from startups. The red carpet treatment ranges from picking up your laundry to buying your groceries as Talview.com, a video interview platform, offers to its employees.

Sanjoe Jose, Co-Founder and CEO of the company, says this is basically to ensure that employees feel at home in the workplace.

Timesaverz.com, a home services provider startup with 17 employees, has ensured that all employees get same kind of facilities. Debadutta Upadhyay, CEO, says everyone from the peon to the founders is entitled to stock options. "We treat all as shareholders of the company. There is an open box space and, no closed structure," he adds.

A flexible work environment with decision making responsibility given to all employees is what differentiates startups from larger No decision is top-down, all employees are given an opportunity to present their views.

This employees-as-owners mantra is all-pervasive. At LearnSocial.com, a startup for online courses with about 60 employees, idea generation is from everyone. Raju Vanapala, Founder and CEO of the company, says the best part is that all employees are accountable to the system and are actually treated as owners.

"Unlike bigger where an employee takes a longer time to get promoted into a senior position, here employees can become managers in five to six months if they are able to lead," says Vanapala.

The pampering stretches to the employees’ family as well. At Talview for instance, the family of the employee is also part of office dinners. What more, the parents of the employees are invited to the workplace on the first day to see where their child works.

At Smartprix.com, a startup into online comparison shopping startup, the focus is to make office work more enjoyable. Abhinav Choudhary, co-founder of the company, says quarterly feedbacks and suggestions are given prime importance in designing new policies for employees.

Everyone at Smartprix is easily accessible to everyone. "Our company policies such as relocation bonus, flexible work timings and Work From Home (WFH) allow employees to have plenty of time for their family," he adds.

The startup also has a workout place and an area dedicated to recreational and fun activities and indoor games to rejuvenate their daily timetable and reducing the monotonic work.

Human resource experts say that since startups may not be able to match salary with that of the biggies, they offer several other perks including a flexible work timing, stock options, a share in profits and a better work-life balance.

Ramit Sethi, Founder and Chief Mentor, CareerCo, a startup that helps people make career choices said that in their company, employees do not have to always be in office and can work from home.

"We do not have a formal tight office structure. We have open discussions to involve all employees. We not only have stock options but also have revenue sharing with senior employees and high performers," he says.

A startup environment is where all employees are treated equally. Founders say that be it the cleaning staff or the CEO, all of them get similar perks. Apart from this, a hierarchy structure is generally avoided with no cubicles.

Industry executives, however, put in a word of caution. The head of a Mumbai-based HR consulting firm says while startups at an early stage may be able to offer profit-sharing and flexible work timings, etc, this would be difficult when their size becomes bigger.

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First Published: Fri, May 22 2015. 10:01 IST
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