Hiring the right talent and fostering a Hybrid Work Environment in startups and SMEs can be challenging. Lack of resources, traditional practices and high attrition rate are some common roadblocks these companies continue to face.
In an interview with Mohammed Rizwan, Senior Vice President, Head HR at Reverie we discuss how the fast-growing startup is hiring and managing tech talent. Reverie Language Technologies is a growing startup with 190 professionals who aim to create a digital space that every Indian can explore, benefit from, and enjoy.
Here are some excerpts from the interview:
How have you updated your hiring policy in response to the shifting talent priorities?
A comprehensive hiring policy with a proper process helps us to create a solid framework for all recruitment decisions in our company.
Reverie’s ‘Hiring Policy’ revolves around three questions that help us to identify the purpose of what we are trying to achieve, such as;
- What is the purpose or role to be played by the newly hired employee?
- How will the hired talent contribute to the success of the company as an individual and as part of a team?
- What company values are reflected in the person during the hiring process?
The policy we have pursued has helped us,
- Promote coherence within the organisation
- Increase employee confidence in the company's recruitment process
- Reaffirm the commitment to fair and equal employment opportunities
- Advance the decision-making process through appropriate policies
- Train hiring managers to make better hiring decisions
We pay special attention to the type of recruitment process we follow. We do not hire a person only for their technical skills or talent in their industry. We work hard to find the right person who fits the standards and values we follow in our organisation. We may not be a large team, but every single one of us adheres to the values that bring out the best in the organisation.
If you ask us what we look for in applicants, we undoubtedly see talented individuals as an asset to our company. That's why we take time and make a special effort to nurture the talent pool that already exists in our company. We are aware that talent churn has an impact on productivity, morale, and the mindset of other employees, so we work on ways to retain them.
We are constantly expanding our existing talent pool to bring in new ideas and skill sets that will complement our vision of language equality on the Internet.
For the period 2021-2022, we have hired nearly 70 new employees to strengthen our product and R&D team. For the current and coming financial year, we intend to hire up to 50 more candidates.
What are some key skills you plan to hire for the year 2022-2023?
At the moment we are focusing on strengthening our technical and engineering team, as we intend to invest time and resources in research and development. Some of the top profiles we are looking for are related to client-facing roles, product development, R&D, and backend technical support to train our existing machines.
How are you retaining employees?
When it comes to employee management, our employees are not micro-managed and have complete freedom at work. We regularly conduct an objective-based performance appraisal that helps us as a company and the employee as an individual recognise their position and growth in the company.
We run the organisation with absolute transparency, keeping all employees in the loop, and also giving them a say in decisions that could affect them as individuals, as well as the company as a whole.
In addition to the training we provide to ensure the growth of our employees, we give equal opportunities and preference to the existing talent pool before fishing for new talent in the market. Using this gateway, several of our employees have made the leap from non-technical to core technical roles and functional roles within the organisation.
How has Reverie embraced and adapted to the hybrid model that most companies in IT currently follow? What's working?
At the moment we are fully functional with a hybrid model that supports our teams by working two days a week from the office and three days from home. Our employees are quite aware of their responsibilities and take ownership of any tasks and responsibilities delegated. We strongly encourage a healthy work-life balance, which makes our employees happier and more productive at their work. In a nutshell, the pandemic has brought many changes to us as an organisation and as individuals. We have learned to take the good with the bad, and we can confidently say that our team has learned to become self-reliant, self-managing, and self-sufficient.
Stress in the workplace is a common term today. We have also prioritised helping our employees deal with such a situation if it should arise.
The physical and mental well-being of our employees is a priority at Reverie. To assist employees if situations may arise, we have enabled a counseling platform to keep both employees and their families emotionally balanced. But even before an external party gets involved, we at Reverie take measures to identify concerns at the early stages through regular intervention surveys. Concerns if any are nipped in the bud and addressed at skip-level conversations to ensure that no one in the team is under stress.
How are you dealing with the high turnover rate in the industry?
Staff turnover in the IT industry is a universal scene today. We at Reverie do not encourage retaining employees by making counter-offers and allowing retention bonuses. If someone decides to move for the money, we allow them to move on. We retain employees looking to grow, and money follows when they grow. We keep in perspective that employees who keep rolling from one organisation to another based on money cannot be satisfied in the long run.
On the contrary, we mitigate turnover by offering professional development opportunities within the organisation. We offer the possibility to change roles within teams.
We also open the doors to freshers straight out of college and allow them to make a mark in the industry. We hire and train them to fit our requirements.