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I've been working at a start up company for two years and am wondering how I and other employees should respond to a company culture that doesn't reward hard/good work. (I am working at a small startup company, <25 employees)

My concern is that the amount of work done by employees and their corresponding compensation varies wildly. Some employees stay late most days while other employees spend multiple hours surfing the web every single day (sometimes for 6+ hours, every. single. day.). Everyone has work to do and everyone is aware of the work they should be doing yet some employees are not pulling their weight. This contrast in employee productivities has been around for years, causing frustration for the employees putting in longer/reasonable hours. Upper management has been confronted numerous times by employees and managers about these frustrations yet no action has been taken.

Due to limited funding, most employees were paid below market value with sparse raises (a known risk of working at a startup). During a recent round of raises, no distinction was made between employees that had been working hard for years and the significantly less productive employees and in some cases low-performing employees received the largest raises.

I understand this site generally suggests to "focus on your own work", ignoring fellow employee levels of compensation and contribution, but I and others have become increasingly frustrated with what seems like inequitable treatment.

I'm starting to be concerned about the effects this culture has on happiness and career opportunities. Are there problems with this culture I haven't grasped yet? Does working at a company like this have broader consequences to my career trajectory within the company (promotional opportunities, raises, company under-performance)? Is this lack of concern by management common at other companies, or should I consider transitioning to a company where hard work is valued more highly?

Thank you

closed as off-topic by gnat, scaaahu, Lumberjack, Cronax, Mister Positive Jun 27 '18 at 11:54

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Firstly, this situation is more common than you think, and goes beyond just the startup scene.

I work for a multinational and have seen individuals with no particular skill (unless browsing online and re-posting articles on LinkedIn is considered one) being rewarded through promotions and monetary benefits, much more than many others who have relevant skills, bring much more value to the table and pull in a lot of the weight. Verbal appreciation and assurances only go so far.

Can this affect your career in the long run? Possibly, in several ways: 1. First and foremost, the morale and attitude. Those who end up struggling due to incompetent management may end up becoming bitter and frustrated with a demotivating environment as the one you've described. This, in the long run, can become a personality trait - and not a good one to have.

  1. Inefficient resource allocation and workload distribution can cause burn out and lack of personal growth at the workplace i.e. you may not grow enough skills to remain competitive in the market

  2. Point 2 above can lead to stagnation, lack of career advancement and ultimately impact your earning potential.

My recommendation is - if you're one of those hard workers who put in every bit of your sweat towards what you're hired to do (and may be more) and feel undervalued and under appreciated - then move on. My perspective to such situations is that ultimately the career is yours and its a big world out there. Finding the right job is always challenging - but you won't find one if you don't try.

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If you feel you are under-appreciated and the parameters under people are being evaluated do not align with your own work and objectives, move to other job.

People tend to evaluate others for their own parameters, and promote their peers. They also might undervalue or look down on you because of your type of work compared to theirs. At best, you would have to emulate some of their behaviour to be on their "circle of trust".

Do not get lost on their smoke screens, "flat" hierarchy BS talk, and "team building" events. Also that false socialism is usually a pretence for not evaluating and reward people appropriately at worse, incompetence at best, or a mix of both.

I was in your shoes in the past, in a small place, in which a bunch of "senior" consultants who were only rookies thinking they were the cream of la cream because they regurgitated nice reports, and subcontracted and looked down on all the "menial" technical know-how and work. They actually lied in a multi-million project that they would be finally promoting technical people to "senior" status at the end of the project.

My biggest mistake was not knowing when it was the right time to get out. I gained a lot moving on, and ended up getting a lot of experience in the world and in my profession that otherwise I would had not.

I also suspect, that if you had the trouble to ask this question, that your time is up too. Trust your instincts.

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I've been working at a start up company for two years and am wondering how I and other employees should respond to a company culture that doesn't reward hard/good work. (I am working at a small startup company, <25 employees)

By virtue of working at a startup, I ask the following: "What is your internal grievance structure look like?"

If the company is still small, you should have the ability to have frank discussions with the management team in regards to your concerns. It can be as simple as asking for the ear of someone who you trust and are willing to confide in.

But note, unless you have that kind of political clout, the nail that sticks up will be hammered down if your concerns are not received well.

My concern is that the amount of work done by employees and their corresponding compensation varies wildly. Some employees stay late most days while other employees spend multiple hours surfing the web every single day (sometimes for 6+ hours, every. single. day.). Everyone has work to do and everyone is aware of the work they should be doing yet some employees are not pulling their weight. This contrast in employee productivities has been around for years, causing frustration for the employees putting in longer/reasonable hours. Upper management has been confronted numerous times by employees and managers about these frustrations yet no action has been taken.

A unrelenting force meets immovable object. You said it yourself, this issue isn't new, it is old news, and it hasn't been addressed by management.

Why haven't you thought about moving on, to a company that values its employees' well being and time? You have no formal say in the direction of the company, but you can 'vote' with your feet by moving on with your employers if the current company isn't willing to address its employees' grievances.

Due to limited funding, most employees were paid below market value with sparse raises (a known risk of working at a startup). During a recent round of raises, no distinction was made between employees that had been working hard for years and the significantly less productive employees and in some cases low-performing employees received the largest raises.

Although it is a point of dissatisfaction, put yourself in their shoes, if the goal is profit-maximization and cost-minimization, how would the rationale be well, unreasonable?

I understand this site generally suggests to "focus on your own work", ignoring fellow employee levels of compensation and contribution, but I and others have become increasingly frustrated with what seems like inequitable treatment.

Then it is time to move on, just as it is 'not your job' to address the next round of compensation based on contribution, your 'job' is to further your own goals and ambitions, if that means pulling your stakes and finding another home, then so be it.

I'm starting to be concerned about the effects this culture has on happiness and career opportunities. Are there problems with this culture I haven't grasped yet? Does working at a company like this have broader consequences to my career trajectory within the company (promotional opportunities, raises, company under-performance)? Is this lack of concern by management common at other companies, or should I consider transitioning to a company where hard work is valued more highly?

Why work at a place where it has been demonstrated that it is unwilling to change or listen to its employees?

It sounds like you've already thought this through about the pros and cons of continuing to work here and it would appear that you've realized that your are undervalued. So I ask, why are you still there? Money? Prestige? The 'thrill' of working at a startup?

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