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Between Startups, Founders And Investors : Are Employees Being Neglected?

Employee Engagement
Employee Engagement

We all have heard stories of multi-billionaire companies, their founders and investors. Some get published in TIME magazine, others go viral and a few get a movie done on their founders. It is all like a movie, where the leads (CXOs) get most traction, then the director/producer/musician (VCs). But what about a bunch of other people who are equally important and without them the movie was impossible to make? Who are they? Where are they? What role do they serve in making a movie? No one knows that or ever wonder about it.

My post is not regarding anyone of the mentioned ones but for the one who never got mentioned by any magazine, article, news agency, movie, wiki, FB, Google, Twitter. Employees. Yes, employees are foundation of any success story. They are the rocks and pillars that goes into solidifying the growth of any company. No one ever talks about them. But when it comes to hiring or firing the mentioned ones make sure to turn every stone.

Employees risk their careers with a startup, their future and what do they get, a reckless CEO: Rahul Yadav.

Everyone must be aware of the famous Housing saga. To the ones who aren’t, Housing.com is a real estate startup, trying to bridge the gap between retailers and real estate. Having got funded for $90 mn, they are the talk of the town in India. Since then, lots have changed, including the branding of Housing (look up). But well, that’s not a story. Story is when an email between the CEO and investor got leaked and there were buzz all around. People in industry gave their opinions, had discussions and debates. Just when everyone thought it to be an episode of past, here comes Rahul again. He resigned with a big mouthed email, which was shared to media by the investors. Well, I personally feel there is something wrong with the name Rahul (if you know what I mean). So, how does this kinda thing affects the employees, who joined in seeing a man’s vision & mission, and made it their own. Suddenly that man calculates the time left in his life and decides to change course. Though he joined later and apologized. But that doesn’t make it cool.

Employee Engagement
Employee Engagement

It is time that all employees joining a startup, shall ask few questions that might make the founders uncomfortable. I mean why not? The startups do not shy away in asking questions that might not seem remotely relevant to the job, but a candidate is bound to answer that.

So why not the other way round too? After all, an employee is the one helping an insensitive, immature, reckless entrepreneur realize his/her dreams. Hence, the article. I was sad and angry on the way the entire episode of Housing took place. Yes, there is one angle here, that I might not know. What if it were the investors who made Rahul to do so. What if Rahul is an immature and polite kid, unaware of the politics that goes into the ecosystem.

Since a prospective employee only meets the founders and rarely the investors before joining, so these questions shall go to who ever an employee gets an opportunity to be with face to face, in an interview:

  1. Who the investors are? ( Do a homework here, instead of asking. And also try to research, in what all startups the said investors have invested)
  2. What if the investors pull out the money?
  3. What if the founding team quits?
  4. What if the startup gets acquired?
  5. What is the revenue model?
  6. How much traction the company has currently?
  7. What is their 3 & 5 year plans?
  8. How do they value their employees?
  9. What perks ( not salary) are they offering?
  10. Do they plan to shift office to a new city?
  11. Are there any ESOPs?
  12. What if the startup fails?
  13. Know more about the founding team.
  14. Know about employees, with whom you gonna work.

This list of questions might not be a perfect/complete one. But it’s a start and will definitely help any candidate to know more about a startup, their culture, values, financials, etc. And also might help in filtering job offers.

I am not asking to make this your bible but to make yourself more extrovert when it comes to joining a startup. No job referral portal or company review portals can tell you about a startup. Thus, it might be good to know from the horse’s mouth.

Don’t wait for someone to tell you, go and ask for yourself.

Period.

[Image credit : shutterstock]