As you rush to get to work in the morning, have you sworn that if you owned the company, you’d implement flex hours so that people could show up at work at their most productive times instead of come in and spend the first couple hours drinking coffee and blankly staring at the screen trying to wake up? Yep, I have too, and it seems so obvious!
Have you hoped that you’d be included in strategic discussion, so you can not only have insights into your own near-future but also grow professionally and see “how things are done”? Hey, I have too!
I always had plans to start my own company. Yet, after graduation, with looming bills and debt (which have only gone up with time), I held 2 full time jobs before starting up. I had amazing luck in coming up with a list of things NOT to do because one of my bosses was an exceptionally unlovable person (to put it mildly) – for example; he had a software installed in everyone’s computer to capture screenshots every 5 seconds which he checked religiously to ensure we weren’t wasting our time! Polar opposite, my other bosses (co-owned company) were absolutely spectacular, nurturing, fair, encouraging, supportive and even protective! I can’t say enough good things about them.
Given these confoundingly stark differences, I started off with some fine ideas of what’s good and what’s not:
Things I feel I succeeded at, as an employer:
- We have health coverage from day 1 (peace of mind is priority)
- Constant (although meager) supply of snacks and pop, (programmers are notorious snackers!)
- All bank holidays are our holidays (yayyy 2-day Easter)
- Bi-weekly Pay-Day lunches that the office pays for~
- Open conversation about strategy, money, new clients, what’s keeping us up an night etc. (Sharing a common goal makes us stronger)
- Related to above – having everyone aligned and motivated (to the point of making sacrifices of LeadSift)
- Paid downtown parking (because, why not)
- All the employees make more than all the founders (that’s table stakes)
- Equality (it’s pretty easy for now though, since our team is pretty small)
- Wear whatever you want (I hated dressing up like a consultant)
- You can choose whatever laptop you want, within a set budget (Ubuntu? Windows? Mac? Windows in a Mac machine? Sure, we have them all)
- Real flex hours (Mostly because I can’t be productive before 10am)
Things I failed at, as an employer:
- Promised half-day Fridays but due to work pressure, was unable to keep it up
- Figure out a way to compensate engineers for their hard work as much as/similar to sales bonuses
- Not have as many congratulatory or celebratory or seasonal celebrations as I wanted
- 4pm Beer Fridays – something that was talked about but never implemented
- Just failing to set expectations in general – growth numbers, commissions, raises etc (because even I don’t know)
- Keeping sexist/discriminatory/rough remarks at bay
- Maintaining a clean office when there’s no visitors scheduled to arrive
I DO LOVE my team, all the weirdness inclusive – nay, specially for the weirdness and quirkiness! So, I’d love to know what would you want to see done differently at your work place or mine? What’s most important to you?