My friend lives and breathes startups: her resume spans in-embryo, two-person operations to companies like Salesforce which boast thousands of employees and millions in venture funding. Now that she works at the Capital Factory, Austin’s premier incubator, she has a unique perspective on how gratitude is shared in the world of tech startups.
At Capital Factory, as with Salesforce and smaller startups, she observed that several features of gratitude held true:
- The most significant feedback often comes from upper management. When the founder and CEO of Capital Factory specifically complimented her work on a project, she felt “much more motivated” moving forward than she might have if the complement were from a coworker.
- At smaller companies, feedback is not nearly as structured. Larger companies have frameworks for goal and objective setting, measurement, and feedback, so smaller companies must make an extra effort at the personal level to make all employees (especially those from underrepresented backgrounds) feel appreciated. Very direct conversations must occur within these teams.
- Most importantly, my friend detailed the difference between unsolicited compliments which can be categorized as gratitude and actionable feedback. While humans are automatically inclined to feel good for a little while after receiving a compliment, she said, “specific, constructive comments corresponding to the work [employees] are doing make clear that the work has value to the organization… and are really crucial to an organization.”