India’s startup ecosystem, in the aftermath of two years of the work-from-home phenomenon, could be spearheading a transformation in the country’s job market with an easier work culture and better employee policies.

Firms are devising ways to onboard talent with relatively higher salaries, employee stock options and other incentives. The competition among startups for talent has also compelled the case for high increments during the upcoming appraisals.

Redefining work culture

Over the weekend, e-commerce company IndiaMART announced its move to a weekly salary disbursal regime – the first Indian company to do so. Weekly payments are common in New Zealand, Australia, Hong Kong and the United States.

“This helps us in getting projects delivered in a timely manner,” Sandeep Arora, director of a Gurugram-based boutique search firm GreenTree Advisory Services told The Hindu Business Line newspaper. “Also, this works as an added incentive to be able to get Gen Z and millennials on-board at a time when the gig economy is on the rise and they have multiple opportunities.”

Similarly, on February 7, Meesho, a young e-commerce unicorn, announced ​​a “Boundaryless Workplace” model, which essentially means the company’s employees can work from anywhere around the world.

“In the past two years, new ways of working have shattered long-held beliefs that virtual work was not possible,” Atrey said, in a series of tweets. “We studied multiple models to conclude that in an uncertain world, business growth, in fact, depends on a resilient and productive workforce.”

“Leaders need to acknowledge that employees’ psychological and physical safety is more important than their location of work,” Atrey added. “It is less about the place and more about people’s potential and convenience.”

In a bid to attract a skilled workforce, the company will be setting up satellite offices where it sees high demand and a high density of talent.

In India, startups are increasingly considered as drivers of economic growth, largely because they create jobs – 6,60,000 directly and 34 lakh indirectly in 2021. Up to 70% of these were enabled by e-commerce, mobility and food delivery platforms, according to a NASSCOM report.

They are also easier to work in because of the freedom of being creative, better work-life balance, flexibility, smaller teams and a more comfortable environment than in most traditional workplaces, including the IT sector.

‘Great resignation’

Now that employees have adjusted to the work-from-home model, Indian tech companies have begun asking employees to return to the office. And that is a problem.

Longer working hours, travel time, the initial stress of transitioning to remote work, as well as Covid-19 trauma have spelt high rates of burnout.

One reason for bringing back employees to physical offices is “The Great Resignation”, a term that has been in use since last year and captures a trend of employees leaving jobs.

The attrition rate of India’s top IT company, Tata Consultancy Services, rose to 15.3% in the December quarter as compared to 11.9% in the previous one. However, the company claimed it was the lowest in the industry. Another IT firm Infosys had a figure of 25.5% in the December quarter, up 11% year on year.

Experts believe the widening talent pool has disrupted the demand-supply equilibrium, thereby driving organisations to focus on both hiring as well as talent retention.

While companies build next-generation platforms and processes, talent demand for technology skills and product development is booming.

This article first appeared on Quartz.