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What Makes Employees Productive in a New Startup? – ReadWrite

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What Makes Employees Productive in a New Startup? - ReadWrite


After launching a new startup, you’ll be interested in growing the business as quickly as possible, thus generating more revenue, securing more stability, and improving your reputation as well. But one of the secrets to effective scaling is an efficient team; if your employees are working productively and consistently, they’ll be capable of making your vision a reality. But if they struggle to get their work done, for one reason or another, you might fall into a place of stagnation.

What Makes Employees Productive in a New Startup?

So what is it that makes employees productive in a new startup? And how can you improve these conditions?

The Productivity Problems With Startups

Every business has potential productivity woes, but startups have some special issues unique to them, including:

1.Limited budgets.

When starting a business, you’re usually working with a limited budget. You don’t have much revenue being generated (if any at all), and you may have a strict or finite source of capital to fund the hiring of new employees.

This makes it difficult to find experienced, talented people, restricts the number of people you can hire, and makes the loss of an employee all the more devastating.

2. Uncertainty.

There’s also a lot of uncertainty within a startup. You may have a descriptive, thorough business plan to serve as the blueprint for the present and future of your organization – but there’s no guarantee it’s going to pan out the way you think.

To survive, startups must flexibly accommodate new changes and circumstances, and that means putting employees in a difficult position.

3. Experimental workflows.

You can devise a streamlined, efficient workflow from scratch – but there’s no guarantee the “practice” is going to match the “theory.” For example, you might have an efficient workflow in which one employee is in charge of reporting, while another is responsible for updating that report and taking action.

But if the tech doesn’t work or the roles aren’t a good fit, even this simple process is going to fall apart quickly. You have no historical data and no direct experience to help you build more reliable workflows.

4. Role malleability.

Oftentimes, startups require their employees to have malleable roles. Since you may not have the space or the budget to hire dozens of specialists, you’ll need generalists who can serve multiple roles and do the work of multiple positions simultaneously.

This makes it hard for any individual to achieve peak productivity, and can drag down your entire organization if you’re not careful.

Is Productivity Everything?

Before we get any further, we should address a critical question – is productivity everything for a startup?

The short answer is no, but it is the gateway to getting everything else you want.

For example, you’ll need to think about company profitability. But with efficient employees, your costs decrease, customer loyalty increases, and your business model will have a much better chance of success.

You’ll need to think about employee retention. But many of the strategies that boost employee productivity will also boost retention by proxy. Almost everything in your business is connected to productivity in one way or another.

So what steps can you take to improve productivity in your organization?

Culture

Everything starts with the culture you create for your startup. Who you hire matters, and the dynamics of the environment you build will have a massive impact on individual performance.

  • Work ethic. Your culture needs to emphasize the importance of personal drive. It’s ideal to hire intrinsically motivated candidates who are always going to do their best work, with or without supervision.
  • Passion. It’s also important to find passionate people – employees who actually want to be here and are genuinely interested in this industry.
  • Teamwork. Early on, you need to set a tone that teamwork and collaboration are beneficial for everyone. This will encourage your employees to get along with each other and help each other out on important projects.
  • Personality fits. People work much better when they’re surrounded by others with whom they get along. While some personality clashes are inevitable, it helps to hire optimistic, cordial, cooperative people (and reinforce these traits in your culture) – so you can reduce those conflicts to a minimum.

Tools

You also need to make sure your employees have the right tools in place to help them do their jobs effectively. After all, you’d expect an employee with a spreadsheet to do better than one with an abacus.

  • Hardware. You don’t need the absolute latest and greatest machines for your employees to do their best, but they should be functional and fast. Equip your employees with at least one mobile piece of equipment and make sure all their hardware works as intended.
  • Software. You’ll also need to make sure your employees have access to software that can help them achieve peak productivity. Good software is fast, efficient, reliable, and designed in a way that makes it intuitive. On the flip side, you shouldn’t stuff your infrastructure with so many software programs that it’s hard to keep them straight; there’s value in minimalism.
  • Potential for change. Perhaps most importantly, you and your employees need to be open to change. Technology evolves rapidly, and you need to be in an agile enough position that you can update your systems on the fly in response to new trends and new available devices and programs.

Workflows and Processes

Workflows, processes, and procedures have a drastic impact on productivity as well.

  • Limited redundancy. You don’t want multiple people on your team doing the same thing at the same time; this is purely wasted effort. Try to keep everyone separately working on tasks that actually matter.
  • Autonomy. It’s also a good idea to allow your employees some degree of autonomy. Bureaucratic decision-making is slow and involves the entire team, multiplying the labor cost of each movement. But autonomous organizations are faster and leaner – and employees end up happier in this arrangement since they have more perceived control over their work.
  • Consistency and reliability. Your workflows and processes should be optimized for consistency and reliability above all else. They should effectively predict all variations of a given chain of events – and provide a roadmap that employees can use to always find the “right” course of action.
  • Documentation. Of course, your workflows and processes should also be heavily documented, even if they’re subject to change in the future. It takes time to put this documentation together, but the more formalized your processes are, and the easier they are to review, the better your employees will follow them.

Personal Motivation

Finally, there’s personal motivation. What’s making your employees want to do their best work?

  • Goals. On an individual and group level, it’s a good idea to set goals. What are you trying to achieve and by what timeframe are you trying to achieve it? This is especially important when giving employees performance feedback; what are the critical areas in which they could stand to improve?
  • Salary and benefits. Money talks. While some of your employees may be passionately invested in your company, the salary and benefits they earn will still matter to them. Make sure you make competitive offers if you want your employees to do their best.
  • Other incentives. It also helps to have other incentives in place to encourage employees with extrinsic motivation. Occasional pay raises, bonuses, nights out with the team, special privileges, and other celebrations of individual accomplishments can all incentivize and reward strong performances.

Boosting Productivity

It’s almost impossible to be successful in boosting productivity unless you have some system of measurement and analysis in place.

It’s not enough to throw a few strategies into place and assume that your employees are working – you need data to verify your claims.

Pay attention to hours spent, tasks completed, and even subjective feedback from your employees. The more you learn about how your employees are working — the more confident you can be that your productivity strategies are working as intended.

You may learn that some of your tactics aren’t working — and you can abandon them before it’s too late. With this productivity approach and ongoing openness to experimentation — you’ll be in a much better position to make long-term improvements to your workforce’s productivity.

Image Credit: thisisengineering; pexels; thank you!

Timothy Carter

Chief Revenue Officer

Timothy Carter is the Chief Revenue Officer of the Seattle digital marketing agency SEO.co, DEV.co & PPC.co. He has spent more than 20 years in the world of SEO and digital marketing leading, building and scaling sales operations, helping companies increase revenue efficiency and drive growth from websites and sales teams. When he’s not working, Tim enjoys playing a few rounds of disc golf, running, and spending time with his wife and family on the beach — preferably in Hawaii with a cup of Kona coffee. Follow him on Twitter @TimothyCarter

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Fintech Kennek raises $12.5M seed round to digitize lending

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Google eyed for $2 billion Anthropic deal after major Amazon play


London-based fintech startup Kennek has raised $12.5 million in seed funding to expand its lending operating system.

According to an Oct. 10 tech.eu report, the round was led by HV Capital and included participation from Dutch Founders Fund, AlbionVC, FFVC, Plug & Play Ventures, and Syndicate One. Kennek offers software-as-a-service tools to help non-bank lenders streamline their operations using open banking, open finance, and payments.

The platform aims to automate time-consuming manual tasks and consolidate fragmented data to simplify lending. Xavier De Pauw, founder of Kennek said:

“Until kennek, lenders had to devote countless hours to menial operational tasks and deal with jumbled and hard-coded data – which makes every other part of lending a headache. As former lenders ourselves, we lived and breathed these frustrations, and built kennek to make them a thing of the past.”

The company said the latest funding round was oversubscribed and closed quickly despite the challenging fundraising environment. The new capital will be used to expand Kennek’s engineering team and strengthen its market position in the UK while exploring expansion into other European markets. Barbod Namini, Partner at lead investor HV Capital, commented on the investment:

“Kennek has developed an ambitious and genuinely unique proposition which we think can be the foundation of the entire alternative lending space. […] It is a complicated market and a solution that brings together all information and stakeholders onto a single platform is highly compelling for both lenders & the ecosystem as a whole.”

The fintech lending space has grown rapidly in recent years, but many lenders still rely on legacy systems and manual processes that limit efficiency and scalability. Kennek aims to leverage open banking and data integration to provide lenders with a more streamlined, automated lending experience.

The seed funding will allow the London-based startup to continue developing its platform and expanding its team to meet demand from non-bank lenders looking to digitize operations. Kennek’s focus on the UK and Europe also comes amid rising adoption of open banking and open finance in the regions.

Featured Image Credit: Photo from Kennek.io; Thank you!

Radek Zielinski

Radek Zielinski is an experienced technology and financial journalist with a passion for cybersecurity and futurology.

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Fortune 500’s race for generative AI breakthroughs

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Deanna Ritchie


As excitement around generative AI grows, Fortune 500 companies, including Goldman Sachs, are carefully examining the possible applications of this technology. A recent survey of U.S. executives indicated that 60% believe generative AI will substantially impact their businesses in the long term. However, they anticipate a one to two-year timeframe before implementing their initial solutions. This optimism stems from the potential of generative AI to revolutionize various aspects of businesses, from enhancing customer experiences to optimizing internal processes. In the short term, companies will likely focus on pilot projects and experimentation, gradually integrating generative AI into their operations as they witness its positive influence on efficiency and profitability.

Goldman Sachs’ Cautious Approach to Implementing Generative AI

In a recent interview, Goldman Sachs CIO Marco Argenti revealed that the firm has not yet implemented any generative AI use cases. Instead, the company focuses on experimentation and setting high standards before adopting the technology. Argenti recognized the desire for outcomes in areas like developer and operational efficiency but emphasized ensuring precision before putting experimental AI use cases into production.

According to Argenti, striking the right balance between driving innovation and maintaining accuracy is crucial for successfully integrating generative AI within the firm. Goldman Sachs intends to continue exploring this emerging technology’s potential benefits and applications while diligently assessing risks to ensure it meets the company’s stringent quality standards.

One possible application for Goldman Sachs is in software development, where the company has observed a 20-40% productivity increase during its trials. The goal is for 1,000 developers to utilize generative AI tools by year’s end. However, Argenti emphasized that a well-defined expectation of return on investment is necessary before fully integrating generative AI into production.

To achieve this, the company plans to implement a systematic and strategic approach to adopting generative AI, ensuring that it complements and enhances the skills of its developers. Additionally, Goldman Sachs intends to evaluate the long-term impact of generative AI on their software development processes and the overall quality of the applications being developed.

Goldman Sachs’ approach to AI implementation goes beyond merely executing models. The firm has created a platform encompassing technical, legal, and compliance assessments to filter out improper content and keep track of all interactions. This comprehensive system ensures seamless integration of artificial intelligence in operations while adhering to regulatory standards and maintaining client confidentiality. Moreover, the platform continuously improves and adapts its algorithms, allowing Goldman Sachs to stay at the forefront of technology and offer its clients the most efficient and secure services.

Featured Image Credit: Photo by Google DeepMind; Pexels; Thank you!

Deanna Ritchie

Managing Editor at ReadWrite

Deanna is the Managing Editor at ReadWrite. Previously she worked as the Editor in Chief for Startup Grind and has over 20+ years of experience in content management and content development.

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Politics

UK seizes web3 opportunity simplifying crypto regulations

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Deanna Ritchie


As Web3 companies increasingly consider leaving the United States due to regulatory ambiguity, the United Kingdom must simplify its cryptocurrency regulations to attract these businesses. The conservative think tank Policy Exchange recently released a report detailing ten suggestions for improving Web3 regulation in the country. Among the recommendations are reducing liability for token holders in decentralized autonomous organizations (DAOs) and encouraging the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) to adopt alternative Know Your Customer (KYC) methodologies, such as digital identities and blockchain analytics tools. These suggestions aim to position the UK as a hub for Web3 innovation and attract blockchain-based businesses looking for a more conducive regulatory environment.

Streamlining Cryptocurrency Regulations for Innovation

To make it easier for emerging Web3 companies to navigate existing legal frameworks and contribute to the UK’s digital economy growth, the government must streamline cryptocurrency regulations and adopt forward-looking approaches. By making the regulatory landscape clear and straightforward, the UK can create an environment that fosters innovation, growth, and competitiveness in the global fintech industry.

The Policy Exchange report also recommends not weakening self-hosted wallets or treating proof-of-stake (PoS) services as financial services. This approach aims to protect the fundamental principles of decentralization and user autonomy while strongly emphasizing security and regulatory compliance. By doing so, the UK can nurture an environment that encourages innovation and the continued growth of blockchain technology.

Despite recent strict measures by UK authorities, such as His Majesty’s Treasury and the FCA, toward the digital assets sector, the proposed changes in the Policy Exchange report strive to make the UK a more attractive location for Web3 enterprises. By adopting these suggestions, the UK can demonstrate its commitment to fostering innovation in the rapidly evolving blockchain and cryptocurrency industries while ensuring a robust and transparent regulatory environment.

The ongoing uncertainty surrounding cryptocurrency regulations in various countries has prompted Web3 companies to explore alternative jurisdictions with more precise legal frameworks. As the United States grapples with regulatory ambiguity, the United Kingdom can position itself as a hub for Web3 innovation by simplifying and streamlining its cryptocurrency regulations.

Featured Image Credit: Photo by Jonathan Borba; Pexels; Thank you!

Deanna Ritchie

Managing Editor at ReadWrite

Deanna is the Managing Editor at ReadWrite. Previously she worked as the Editor in Chief for Startup Grind and has over 20+ years of experience in content management and content development.

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