BEING A H.R. INTERN AT A STARTUP
Human Resource is the backbone of any organization and a very challenging one. There are so many opportunities in HR that people aren’t aware of and while pursuing my PGDM in HR I felt that an internship was the best way for me to learn. It was while I was stumbling through Internshala that I came across Mutterfly and that is how my Mutterfly journey started. Little did I realize that this Internship will not only introduce me to HR but also to the fascinating startup world.
I had 2 rounds of Interview and my final interview at Mutterfly went for an hour and a half. What I didn’t understand then about the process taking so long came into light as I joined the organization. Startup recruitment is based more on attitude and mindset as opposed to experience. Intern, Consultant or Full-Time employees, startups look at those who are self-starters and ready to take on new challenges every day. I was ecstatic to receive the offer letter on the following evening and I was pumped to start this new chapter.
DAY 1: WELCOME TO MUTTERFLY
I was greeted the first day by the Founder and CEO, Akshay, who introduced me to the rest of the team. My first impressions were that Mutterfly was a really young workplace with the average age of the team being 25. The conversations around the office were characterised by millennial phrases and being a customer-centric office – there was a buzz of incoming and outgoing calls.
Let’s go and be a part of this Kajol!
As I sat in my new desk, I was introduced to what we were building at Mutterfly. It didn’t matter if I was going to be involved in Operations, Marketing or Technology, I still needed to have an overall knowledge. While I was hesitant about where I would use this, I later realized how useful this was while doing recruitment, vendor onboarding and employee relations. As an exciting first day came to an end, Akshay laid out my premise for the 2 months that followed
Kajol, you will be doing a variety of tasks but one of our main objectives to bring you onboard was to make the team have fun. Startups are chaotic – so be the calm in the storm. Take out time to engage with the team, hear them out and absorb their pressures. Managing the team will be your biggest learning curve and one of the best ways you can contribute to Mutterfly.
In the next few days that followed, I was introduced to the systems in place and by the end of Week 1, I felt completely at ease. I was reporting directly to Akshay, who assigned me the tasks on Wunderlist and we had regular catchup to discuss the progress. 2 weeks into the organisation, I set up 1 to 1 with different team members to know their aspirations and how Mutterfly can help them better. This exercise resulted in some surprising results and as I discussed this with Akshay, we found the gaps in our culture.
Employee engagement was something that needed immediate attention and we started working on this from the very next day. We hosted our first Mutterfly Cricket match between Operations, Technology and Delivery Executives. The aim of the activity was to build camaraderie between the team members and bring out healthy competition. While my cricketing skills are best left unspoken, I was super proud to see the gusto filled match and each team member putting out their best effort.
As the weeks passed new and new tasks would be assigned. So every day had its own interesting set of tasks to be done; each different from the other. This is what I love about Mutterfly. There was never a dull moment – From Recruitment to Employee Relations to Procurement to Team Training, I was constantly wearing multiple hats during the day (Not to forget – Testing our new product – Giant Sumo Suits)
ONBOARDING A NEW CITY
During my internship, Mutterfly expanded to Bengaluru and this was one of the best challenges I could ask for. A new team is like a new baby – filled with energy but needs strong parenting. As HR, I was responsible for onboarding new members in Bengaluru and setting uniform policies across both cities. The framework set for the new city was crucial as this was going to be the basis of Mutterfly in Bengaluru. I was initially apprehensive about this responsibility but I took up the challenge and 2 months down the line we have managed to bring Mumbai and Bengaluru on the same page in terms of company policies and organizational practices.
As I stand on my last day of the Internship, the time has flown. It seemed just yesterday that I walked into the office for my interview. The memories of Mutterfly will always be a part of me – from Team Potlucks to Employee anniversaries to being part of product shoots (check out my debut below with DJI Osmo). At the same time, I have loved interacting with our customers too. I had never imagined that I would get this opportunity but then again – a startup always surprises you.
FOOD FOR THOUGHT
The past 8 weeks have definitely transformed me and for all the young guns looking out for a career in H.R – I would encourage you to experience the start-up life at least once. You will get immense responsibility, step out of your comfort zone and discover yourself in a new light. As I bid goodbye to my Mutterfly life, here are my key learnings from the internship –
a) The team comes first. We often stress on customers, sales and growth to such a large extent that we forget that this is driven by the underlying team. A happy team creates happy customers, so strive to keep them happy.
b) Your delivery team is the face of your company. So spend time training them and understanding their concerns.
c) A transparent culture encourages productivity. The best ways to get your employees to be entrepreneurial is to discuss the company’s problems with them. You will be surprised by the solutions you receive.
Oh Oh – Before I go – Do check out what we are building Mutterfly (www.mutterfly.in) – It’s super cool and we can’t wait to help you out next time you want an expensive product for just a couple of hours. ( Did I forget to mention – We don’t have a Sales team because Akshay says every team member of Mutterfly has to be constantly selling 🙂