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Common Employee Complaints at Startup Companies

Written by Ankur Hazarika for Gaebler Ventures

There are certain common complaints among employees of most start ups. If these major employee complaints are taken care of, quite a lot of good will and harmony can be generated in the startup work place.

People who join startups know pretty well what they are signing up for.
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They do not expect the lounges and coffee bars of Google or the hefty car loans of Toyota. But there are certain things that they expect and believe should be made available to them.

Here we are not talking of perks, but some environmental changes that matter a lot to startup employees across a wide variety of firms.

A detailed look into the prime complaints that startup employees make suggests that these complaint killers can be made available with little efforts.

You can avoid most employee complaints and whining simply by offering the following four things.

1. Organized Work Processes

The typical startup works rather haphazardly, trying to grab every opportunity.

While a flexible and dynamic approach to business is desirable, it sometimes hurts the employee because his or her work can get washed away or shelved after considerable effort– without any recognition.

With a little effort from the management, a basic system to keep a log of the daily or weekly performance of employees can easily be implemented. This would assure the employee that his work is being monitored and will be appraised…and appreciated.

2. HR Personnel

This is one demand that employees who have been on board for quite some time make the most. It's a bit surprising considering the standing of HR in most companies that have full-time HR employees.

The most common reason for wanting HR personnel on hand is to listen to employee complaints. This is pretty reasonable considering that employees cannot go to the top boss regarding their work, appraisal, and other problems. A small department to overlook HR activities can be established at a reasonable cost by startups that are beyond the initial phase of operations. Outsourcing of HR activities is also on the rise these days.

3. Presence of Experienced Personnel in the Team

While the people leading the startups would generally be experienced or tech-savvy people, the foot-soldiers are largely inexperienced rookies.

The employees desire that there are a few experiences guys continuously available in the team to address their queries. Putting in an experienced guy would also help organize the efforts.

4. Freedom from financial insecurity

Startup employees do not receive much in the way of salaries. But it does motivate them if they can get some benefits that would keep them at bay from financial insecurity. Even small loans and emergency funds work fine to address this.

Ankur Hazarika is currently studying at the School of Management, Indian Institute of Technology (SJMSOM, IIT B), in Mumbai, India. He has been closely associated with a host of entrepreneurship networks like NEN, TiE and BarCamp, and has worked with the Indian business incubator, Society for Innovation and Entrepreneurship (SINE).

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Conversation Board

Offer your comments, suggestions and questions regarding employee complaints. We appreciate your participation!

Elizabeth Sher 12/30/2008

This is an interesting article. The idea of working at a start-up would be quite interesting. In New York City, there doesn't seem to be a website or many networking groups that focus on startups and their inner workings. It would be nice to have the opportunity to have weekly meetings of people who are in different stages of developing or managing such companies. Nice website and good content.

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