The regular feedback from our team members has established Get My Parking as a great place to work. But to be honest, preparing a checklist or preaching the best practices is always the easy part. The tricky bit is creating and maintaining an open culture where everyone feels part of the family.
High growth startups go through multiple phases as they scale. And the co-founder’s job changes drastically in each phase, though always influencing the company’s culture the most. They must really serve as an inspiration for other employees and lead the way. Employees not only want to hear from the founders about all pertinent issues but also converse beyond that to create a bond.
In the early days of the company (late 2015), we were a 12 member team, we had usually do dinner or watch a movie on the weekends together. Catching up with Chirag and Rasik over lunch or breakfast had become a routine we looked forward to. Fast forward to 2018 – with 80 members (and growing) at three offices across the globe, the need for effective communication between the employees and founders is even more significant.
Back in 2016, we started with the ‘Founders date with an employee’ initiative. Our co-founders have been going out for breakfast, dinner, and coffee dates with 2-3 employees every month. The idea is to have a casual conversation in an informal setting. “The idea of these dinner dates is to hear their side of the story, learn about their experiences, and understand what we can do better and exchange insights. This is a space where employees can really open up with us and tell us their honest feedback”, says Chirag. Both parties get the chance to bond at a level beyond the traditional hallway greeting.
Last week some of our team members received a surprise invite titled ‘Founders cooking for you tonight!‘. The team was really excited and didn’t know what to expect.
As Chirag and Rasik are not that regular in the kitchen, I was surprised. I asked them if they were all set to cook, at which Rasik quipped, “I can cook anything and everything, I just need to call my Mom and follow her instructions.”
We were surprised to see Chirag and Rasik cutting onions, peeling potatoes, and serving us food. It is not every day that the leaders of your company work hard to stimulate your taste buds! The informal conversations over good food and wine added to our bond and memories.