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Start-ups go on to become small organizations, which subsequently grow further to become medium and large organizations, both in terms of work and personnel. With burgeoning population and State’s limited capability to provide employment opportunities for all, it is quite expected that there would be quite a number of companies that are in the first two stages.It is a sign of a healthy economy and the entrepreneurial spirit of its people. These organizations are essentially good for the economy. However, they have some good and some not so good implications for their employees.

My own and my friends’ experiences with small organizations helped me see the distinct traits characterizing most of these organizations. Here is an attempt to summarize them:

  • The top brass
    • One man at the helm of affairs; It’s a one man army. Really. They have issues letting go of control. May talk a lot about decentralisation but will never get around to actually doing it.
    • Up to date with technology (unlike our parents); computers and phones, may know more than you, even though you have been brought up in the midst of a technology revolution
    • Alumni of a prominent management institution.(of course it doesn’t matter that they passed out a couple of generations ago.)
    • Essentially workaholic, want to instill the same in their employees, who sadly are people who display mostly ‘theory Y’ characteristics.
    • Mostly intelligent but limited compassion for employees and may get influenced by self proclaimed well wishers, instead of common sense
    • They are self-proclaimed ‘hard to work with people’
    • Decent network built over the course of his/her career. Uses it extensively.
    • Will prefer loyalty over work quality
    • First sign that an employee is trying to switch boats, and you’ll become the black sheep of the office
  • The Organization
    • Registered society and then a private limited company
    • May operate as both simultaneously for tax purposes
    • In all probability family members will be on board. This’ll be on paper, of course. The board won’t be functioning like it’s supposed to.
    • A tradition of celebrating the Annual Day like it was done at school, with havans, pujas, lighting of the lamp, etc., followed by a dinner party in which games like tambola would be played and an 80’s style orchestra would be playing to the guests, comprising mostly of clients. And yes there would be a chief guest involved too.What were you expecting; a party at a five-star hotel?
    • Have rightly placed ideals about Integrated Marketing Communication (IMC), Want to re-brand themselves, before they become too big to manage it. Mostly talk a lot about doing it, seldom get around to doing anything. However, once started, they wont let up until the steam lets off (read: there is work to be done but people are limited)
    • An intricate set of value based on respect, integrity, love. Specially exhorted at the time of induction and during annual functions, employee meetings, etc.
    • No bribing policy; broken at the drop of the hat
  • The employees
    • High attrition rate: Initially attracted by the quality of work and level of responsibilities, employees compromise on compensation. However, soon the disillusionment sets in. Being a big fish in a small pond loses its charm and they are quick to jump the boat as soon as the opportunity arrives
    • Employee roles keep changing. You may have been hired with a particular job description, but that, in no way, is all inclusive. You may have to act as an organizer, recruiter, telecaller, marketer… just name it.
    • View the employees as a close knit family. This is just talk. Employer and employees interests seldom match.
    • Work hours tend to be erratic; sometimes
  • The Procedures
    • What procedures? Are you kidding me? There are seldom any existing procedures in place.
    • No definite rules regarding leaves, etc. Whether you get leaves or not depends on where you are on the ‘suck up to the boss’ scale.

I understand how important start-ups are to the growth and development of the country.  If you are considering joining any such organization consider both sides of the coin. There would be a lot of work related learning, variety in projects, duties, instant appreciation for work well done. But again, you cannot hide for long in a small organization. Incompetence shows up sooner rather than later. Keep the positives in mind when the initial enthusiasm wears off.

This piece of writing does not mean any offence to anyone.

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