I thought that founders would have turned a new page after the blowup at some of the most notable startups for alleged worker mistreatment and poor workplace culture. It seemed evident that the hustle and bustle of startup culture had its limits in this new generation, and no one was immune to the toxic workplace exposé, which was just one source leak away.
But perhaps I spoke too soon. As I continue to ask startup founders about their plans, they always list the vision to scale, build to return investments. They hardly ever mention how they are going to take care of the people they will employ to help them do all these tasks. Granted, startup life is hard. The hours are long and ruthless. The environment is not for the faint of heart; surely anyone looking for a more clear work-life balance would roll their dice in corporate.
Inside, it feels there is hardly any sympathy for the workers who gamble their time with a startup. Venture-backed companies have to scale fast. It’s a spin on that story about the scorpion that stung the frog it took across the river. You knew it was a startup when you joined. They can’t resist the exploitation urge. It’s in their nature.
But that was then. And this is now. Hybrid work is here to stay, the economy is still uncertain for many people, and layoffs are hitting the tech sector hard, and with this has come the itch for innovators to launch something new. But if they’re not ready with strategies to keep employees engaged, they will be quickly left behind.