This article is a lightly-edited summary of the key takeaways from our speakers’ appearance on our podcast, “The Shape of Work.” If you haven’t listened to our show yet, be sure to check it out here. These speakers have an incredible stable of startup experiences to draw from, the kind of stories that are unbelievably helpful for HR/people managers to hear.
In this episode of “The Shape of Work,” our guest is Sriram Manoharan, founder of a leading digital engineering and SaaP company. He talks to us about effective hiring procedures and good organizational culture.
GUEST AT A GLANCE:
Name of the guest: Sriram Manoharan
What he does: Founder at Contus
Find him on LinkedIn.
Get Smart: “This is why most of the startups fail for any idea you start with. Making it successful is magical, and it happens one in a million times. And in most of the startups, the first step or the first idea is to tend to fail, for sure.”
In this episode, you will get valuable insights into:
- The difficulties of a startup.
- Qualities to look for while hiring.
- Organizational changes during the pandemic.
- Remote work vs hybrid work.
How did you face the difficulties of a startup?
Sriram started an online technical support platform known as Support1000.com. However, they were unsure about how they would market it without funds. He was looking for solutions along with his team. They had to go without salaries and revenues for a few years. Their sole aim was to keep the business going. They somehow managed to find a way to work in software development. He started designing websites for several companies. Here is how he learned about digital marketing. They prepared a few software services models and started marketing them.
He says that making a startup requires a lot of consistency. The first step or idea always tends to fail. New startups should continue to keep their place in the market space. If they have a good product, they will definitely find a market for their products.
The funding opportunities were extremely less in 2008. Thus, they had to run the startup with their own funds. Moreover, they were a services company which made it even more difficult to raise funds. But now, Sriram says that they are self-sufficient. He does not believe in non-profitable companies having billion-dollar valuations. They keep investing in their own business to grow it.
Qualities to look for while hiring:
Sriram has been hiring people for 17 years. While working for other companies, the only way of hiring was by mapping their CVs with the job descriptions. However, for CONTUS, the hiring followed a different procedure. He considers academics important in this process. But sometimes, candidates need to be offered training in specific areas, regardless of their qualifications.
According to Sriram, a startup knows the exact kind of people they want. That helps create a better environment in the workspace.
How did you react to changes the organizations faced?
Sriram mentions how they were one of the first companies to build an iOS app. They have always focused on being digital. Thus the pandemic was not a challenge for them except for a few alterations. It was very smooth, and within a couple of days, they were working online seamlessly.
He also credits his employees who supported and adjusted to the situation. He mentions that the company underwent 30%-35% growth. They hired approximately 90 people in the last eight months. They organized contests for the employees to keep them motivated.
The company hires people from all over the country.
Their talent pool has expanded vastly during this situation. People not joining companies to avoid moving to another city are now working from the comfort of their homes.
Implementing digital transformation in organizations:
Sriram finds the idea of implementing technology extremely useful. The hiring is vast, thus making it difficult to implement this in his organization. However, he feels it can bring effective changes within any organization.
Remote work vs hybrid work:
Sriram feels that along with working remotely, employees should come to the office and meet each other once or twice a week. Meeting people and learning from seniors helps the new hires get into the culture of the organization. He finds it hard to meet people over laptop screens. Giving a personal touch will always help build a culture.
However, he is a strong proponent of the hybrid model and feels it is successful. It has ramped up the way of work. He adds that the hybrid model is the most convenient option as forcing employees into the office is unacceptable.
Advice to other entrepreneurs and people managers:
Our guest provides valuable advice to other entrepreneurs and people managers: We all have to add a human touch to everything. We have to be helpful and supportive towards the organization, the employees, and even candidates who lost their jobs. The IT industry is less affected. Thus it should take the responsibility of helping others as well.