What if all employees are startup owners?

It’s been almost 2 months since I “retired” from the corporate world to start People Mentality Inc. To help a regular person better understand what I do for my employer branding agency, I have decided to term it as the Avengers of HR. What does it mean? It basically models around a shared economy or gig model where I bring together “superheroes” in the HR, HR Tech and Training space to form a superteam to serve the needs of different clients on project basis. We are superheroes in our everyday battles and will come together as a team when there is a bigger fish to fry.

Ever since I started this venture, salary never quite come to my mind. It’s pretty interesting because I used to look forward to the time of the month where my bank account grows by a couple thousand dollars. Why is that so? Not that I have a fat bank account, but the salary concern didn’t fall into the top of my list anymore. After reflecting, here are some possible explanations for it.

First, I am fully locked in on my vision of creating a better workplace for tomorrow and pack my days with activities that builds up towards that. Time simply flies by and I never quite felt tired because every bit of it excites me, whether or not it is directly linked to bringing in money to my business. I suppose the cause-driven part of it really helped and of course, knowing that I’m gaining traction from the financial aspect relieves pressure too. Vision first, financials second.

Second, I get to pick and choose my battlefield. Back in the corporate world, you tend to have to work on things that you are not that passionate about in exchange for what you want to do. It’s a trade-off and definitely a fair one. But now, it’s really great that I can select what I believe has the most impact and play to my strength as well. When you do what you are great at doing and leverage on your strength, that’s where the flow takes place.

Third, I am growing and learning beyond what I can imagine by meeting so many people from various spaces. In the past, what I focused on was solely in the HR domain. Now, due to business needs, I had to pick up the business part of things and be more acquainted in other spaces like technology, partnerships and content development as well. All these are important things that builds up a full-fledged HR eco-system which gave me a whole new perspective on where I could deliver real impact.

Finally, feeding off the earlier point, I can now better appreciate and understand how my work impacts businesses and people. Besides just focusing on the daily grind and working on pieces that are part of a bigger picture, what I can do now is to really see things in totality and know where are the areas that will make a difference. With that, work becomes a lot more meaningful regardless of how trivial it may seem.

This set me thinking, what would happen if we treat all employees like startup owners just like how Google term them as “Founders”? What if everyone owns what they do and be engaged in what they believe in? Can we create a common vision and get our employees to drive it in their best way possible? Can we be outcome rather than process driven? Are we comfortable enough to allow flexibility for people to experiment and grow both themselves and the organization?

As we gradually approach a workforce with an increasing number of Millennials, it’s important to perhaps rethink our approach towards designing our workplace and employee experience. What worked 10 years ago as best practice is no longer as effective today. We need to recognize that, embrace the change and look for ways to create an environment that can bring out the best in all our talents. That way, we are one step closer to becoming an Employer of Choice and another ahead of competition in the market. Remember, we as HR professionals have to do it “for the people, with the people”. Know what drives our talent, get them onboard and make things happen.

This seem like a blackbox for most at this moment but if we just take a step back and use a people-centric approach to deal with individuals at a personal level instead of organizational level, it might be a whole new ball game altogether.

Start thinking, get moving. Together we create a better workplace for tomorrow.

People Mentality Inc is a HR and Employer Branding Consultant in Singapore. Our clients include Pfizer, Great Eastern, Accenture, DHL, Samsung, Coca Cola, Keppel, Loreal, Under Armour and more. We netted the HR Rising Star 2016 award and APAC Top 10 HR & Employer Branding Consultant 2020.

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