I was joined by Amy Zhang in episode 35 of The Knowing Self Knowing Others Podcast. We talked about HR and people management in startups and w greater awareness can benefit founders

Here are my top takeaways from this episode

1. The importance of prioritising employee culture and environment: Amy emphasises that founders of tech companies often overlook the importance of creating a positive work culture. Amy helps these companies understand the significance of investing in employee programmes, development, training, and upskilling.

2. The challenges of remote work: Amy shares her personal experience as a middle manager dealing with the transition to remote work during the COVID-19 pandemic. Managing a remote team brings unique challenges such as maintaining community, supporting mental health, and ensuring productivity in an ambiguous work environment.

3. The need for personalised approaches: Amy talked about the importance of personalising her approach to remote work. She took the time to understand each of her individual team members’s values, home situation, motivations, and career aspirations. This personalised approach helped Amy find a balance between personal and work life.

4. Building trust in organisation: The Global Trust Report highlighted the decreasing trust globally, except for some Asian countries. Employees are increasingly looking to their companies to address social impact issues and foster trust. Trust is built by addressing the concerns raised in employee surveys and genuinely listening to employee feedback.

5. The significance of self-awareness in leadership: Amy emphasises the importance of leaders being self-aware and vulnerable. Leaders who acknowledge their weaknesses and actively seek help inspire admiration and followership. Leaders who resist acknowledging vulnerabilities and reducing power often face challenges in their organisations.

6. Meaningful actions over superficial gestures: Employees value meaningful actions from their organisations, such as donating used tech to inner-city schools, rather than superficial gestures. Publicising these actions solely for self-promotion leads to employee disengagement and frustration. Charitable giving no longer becomes about the social value but about the publicity opportunity

7. Flexibility as a priority: The mindset of younger generations, like Gen Z and millennials, has shifted towards work being a means for self-fulfillment and personal growth. As a result, flexibility in work arrangements has become a higher priority for employers than compensation and benefits. Alison Reynolds, HR and OD expert also said this in episode 30. This flexibility goes beyond just working from home and includes offering opportunities for personal development and career growth.

Throughout the episode, Amy and I highlight the need for organisations to prioritise their employees’ well-being and growth, as well as the importance of leaders who are self-aware, adaptable, and open to seeking help. Our discussion provides valuable insights for both founders and employees navigating the ever-changing work landscape.