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The NRI Nation

Evolving a project into full-fledged media business

Startups Lab helps The NRI Nation create the infrastructure to allow for future growth

The challenge

Nikita Roy incubated The NRI Nation project while studying at Harvard to create a news source for the 32 million members of the Indian diaspora living around the world. As NRI Nation grew, Nikita sought help creating policies and systems to manage her dispersed team of contributors and ensure they weren’t continuously joining and leaving. She also wanted to eventually transition contractors to FTEs and needed advice for the best way to train and orient new recruits.

Nikita isn’t a trained journalist – and neither are most of her contributors. That means she spends a lot of time upskilling and training her team in the basics of accurate reporting. Finding ways to make training easier and more time-efficient is a high priority as Nikita navigates NRI Nation’s transition from “project” to “growing publication.”

“I Really Liked The Curriculum. The Labs Helped Deliver Exactly The Information That You Needed, In A Very Concise Way. And That'S What Really Helped With Our Conversations With Jennifer. I Was Able To Have Really Thought-Provoking Conversations Because I Had The Baseline Foundations Of Knowledge To Then Think More Critically About Those Topics With Her.”

Nikita Roy
Founder, The NRI Nation

The results

Those first months of launching a startup often feel breathless, heady and fast-paced. But Nikita credits her coach Jennifer Mizgata with helping her slow down in her decision making and become a more thoughtful leader. That thoughtfulness helped Nikita examine her current onboarding materials from the perspective of someone with no background or understanding of NRI Nation. This exercise led Nikita to craft a new employee handbook and orientation materials that meet new hires where they are and ground them in NRI Nation’s mission, values and work culture.

Jennifer also helped Nikita develop process workflows so that frequent processes like NRI Nation’s fact-checking methodology are documented for everyone to use. Now, the entire reporting and editing workflow is captured in a document that Nikita can share with new hires to quickly get them up to speed. This saves hours of Nikita’s time and ensures that all new hires receive the same information.

With Jennifer’s help, Nikita also created a feedback process in the Asana documentation and management tool to set quarterly check-ins with her team members to document their progress toward goals and capture any feedback they have on how their work is going.

Successes:

Created employee handbook and “How We Work” document

Employee retention: All 5 contractors still with NRI Nation

Won their first grant from ICFJ

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