Startup Employee Mindset

Startup employee mindset is pivotal for hiring and induction in any startup. All startups use as minimal a resource as possible. They cannot afford the luxury of second in line in case one employee leaves the organization.

The key skill sets required are multitasking, ability to face obstacles, managing resource constraints and uncertainty. 

Startup Employee Mindset - Quotes

The following three quotes summarize the desirable mindset of a startup employee.

 “People with grit will break down walls and don’t have ‘that’s not my job’ in their vocabulary.”- Tawheed Kader- ToutApp CEO

“When employees find ownership in their jobs, they seek out the most creative solutions without constantly seeking approval and slowing things down,” says Tim Hwang, CEO-  FiscakNote.

“A startup’s unique work environment innately values an employee’s aspirational vision, creative thinking and uninhibited experimentation.”-Brian Matthews, the Associate Dean of learning and outreach at Virginia Tech University.

Startup Employee Mindset- Expereinced Employees or Freshers

The debatable point is should startups hire employees with experience or freshers or a mix of both?

The startup employee is often hired for attitude, not experience.

Any startup entrepreneur builds a culture based on his value systems, which is the DNA of the organization. Experienced employees may have shorter learning curve but they may be a roadblock for establishing startup culture which is essentially managing uncertainty. They may resist new thinking and innovation as they will apply solutions which they are already familiar with. They may not think outside the box.

It is probably a good idea to hire interns /freshers from colleges and try them. Enthusiasm, energy levels and facing challenges and being part of the new culture are the plus points of a fresher.

Startups can look up to mentors or technical experts to guide them in the absence of experience in the company.

Startup Employee Mindset- Traits of Successful People

i.              Curiousity

Creative achievers are compelled to act on what they are curious about. They prefer to seek out and learn new things, and they enjoy the thrill of processing the emotions of anxiety, fear and excitement with great regularity.


  Working independently

Creative achievers are deeply connected with their authentic nature and ambitions, which inevitably leads to their independence, growth, happiness and wholeness. They do not avoid challenges or struggles, as they see struggle as the very thing required for their growth. 

iii.          Impulsiveness

Because creative achievers are open to new experiences they tend to be divergent people. They are non-conformists, are impulsive, demonstrate low levels of agreeableness and can also be low in frustration tolerance.

The above three traits are useful in any startup and employees with these traits should be preferred.

Startup Employee Mindset - Singapore's Approach

Singapore’s Approach

Source; Daniel Burns-

 A student at startup can learn innovation and understand the work culture by working as an intern.

Every year, the National University of Singapore sends students in their junior year abroad to work as interns with small startups in major hubs such as Silicon Valley, Beijing, and Tel Aviv. After completing a year with the startup, they return to Singapore to finish their studies and eventually start their own businesses.

And why would Singapore choose small startups as a place of education? If you’re looking to fuel an economy with innovation, there’s no better place to learn. Startups aspire toward innovation, and do so through a work culture that encourages active participation from all employees in achieving that goal.

Startup Employee Mindset- Conclusion

Basically employees who can work with less supervision and take ownership for their actions are to be hired.


A cultural fit, is an all important piece of the puzzle for an employee at any startup. A study of successful people traits reveals that curiosity, restlessness and independence are the mindset of  a startup employee.

Any startup can be successful only if they disrupt the status quo. This is possible only with a creative mind set. Young employees can bring creativity which is a critical skill for startups.

Finally, the belief that every employee can be a game changer as referred by Bill Garland is the icing on the cake.

“Every employee can be a game changer. They might know how to augment the team in ways you could not predict.”