ENT 600-50_Week 6 Post

As an entrepreneur, there are certain things that I think about or dream about quite often.  I have three main topics that I dream about and imagine quite vividly when it comes to my business.

  1. The day I tell my boss that my business needs my full attention and I have to quit.
  2. What my shop will actually look like.  I can picture the paint colors, the layout, the flow of the shop, the displays, the wood color, and even the smell of the shop.
  3. The day I need to start hiring employees because I cannot keep up with the work myself.

I was happy to read the chapter about the hiring dilemmas in The Founder’s Dilemmas by Naom Wasserman because it is a topic that I think about often and it gave me a lot of insight into what I will need to think about when I start hiring my dream team for my business.  Let’s take a look at some of the hiring dilemmas I might face.

  • You need to evaluate the hiring needs for each stage of the startup and when you will need to replace employees, bring someone on to supervise them, or just replace them with more experienced workers.
  • You need to think about if you should hire a generalist who can adjust to their environment and become a specialist down the road.  Generalists are great at the beginning because they can do many jobs, but later on, you might need a specialist to focus on the main task at hand.  Give some thought to who you hire and if they can transform into what you need in the future or if you will need to replace them.
  • Remember that different stages of the startup will require different compensation plans or packages.  When you are first starting out, you may not be able to pay people a lot so you offer them lower salaries and more equity in the company.  However, once the startup is established, you can offer new employees better salary but you may not want to offer them more equity in the company.  Make sure to develop this plan in the beginning to prevent confusion or tension.
  • Make sure that you think about what you will do with under performing employees who are friends or family.  Founders will hire friends or family to start out because they are easy and make for a comfortable work environment.  This can create the risk of “playing with fire gap”
    • Playing with fire gap– team members who have a prior personal relationships with the founder may be less likely to discuss sensitive issues.  This can lead to facing major damage to the relationship is things in in the startup go sour.  You could be left with no employees and no social circle at all.
  • Look at your company structure and the positions within your company.  Establish a pay structure that is unique to each position or department instead of making the same pay structure for the entire company.  Different jobs and employees respond to different pay structures.  A sales employee is going to work well with a high performance compensation structure because it will help them see how they are doing in their role.  An IT employee is not going to respond well to this pay structure because it does not correspond well with their job duties an objectives.
    • Founders may be hesitant to even begin hiring because they are scared they will hire the wrong person for the role.  But if you link the roles with the right reward structure, the weak or under performing employees will weed themselves out.  If an employee is working in a performance based compensation structure and they lack self confidence, they are not going to perform well in the job.  Therefore, they will not get paid as much and the result will be they leave because they are not making enough.

Now that we have thought about all of the aspects to consider when we are hiring and building our team, lets think about our employees.  Everyone has some great employees, middle of the road employees, and some not so great employees.  Entrepreneurs and business owners give a lot of thought to how they can have an entire team of their great employees and probably life in fear of losing those employees at any given moment.

How to Hire A Players by Eric Herrenkohl gives business owners some great tips and ideas for how you can not only keep the great employees or A-Players, but also how to help improves the middle of the road employees so they can become A-Players as well.  The key is to know where your A-Players fit into the future of your startup and the following are some steps to help you know where they fit and keep them

  • Write down your business goals that you want to achieve.  Give some deep thought to what success in your business looks like and how you want to get there.  Once you have made it, start filling in the roles with your current employees.  When you are done, you will find the following:
    • You have your A-Players that you can write in easily and can put anywhere in the chart and you know they will thrive
    • You will have some employees who could become A-Players if you give them a little coaching and get them up to speed.
    • You will have some employees who can become valuable but more in a specialist role or limited capacity
    • You will also have your C-Players who really should not be in your organization at all.
  • You need to implement the organizational strategy that you created.  You will need objectivity and time do make sure it happens.  In order to be objective, you will need to remove yourself emotionally from your current team to build the team that you need.  Also, make this your priority and cut out time to make sure it happens and does not get pushed to the side.  You can consider hiring a consultant or trusted advisor to help you implement the strategies you have made.
  • A-Players do not wanted to taken advantage of or to be taken for granted.  If they feel this way, this could lead them to walk away from your company.  Make sure your A-Players know where they fit in the future of your business.  Here are so way to do that:
    • Look at your organizational chart again and see where you put your A-Players.  How do you envision them a few years down the road?
    • Meet with each of your A-Players individually and have some ideas about what you have in mind for their future within the company but also ask them what they want for their carer as well.
    • Invite them to talk about what they want to achieve with the company and where they see themselves in the future.  Ask them for their perspective on what is working for the company, where the flaws are, and what would be better.
    • Work to incorporate their feedback into the plans that you have for the company.
    • Commit to solid next steps for making the plans you created into a reality for the company.  This includes givings your A-Players the opportunity to make more money and have more pull in the company.

Top performers can do a lot for a business and help it become successful and reach its full potential.  As a founder, it is your duty to help your top performers feel welcome and want to stay with your company for a long time.

I enjoyed reading both chapters this week and I got a lot of insight into how I want to run my business and help my best employees really shine.  I know I have mentioned it before, but I do not know if I would hire friends or family to work at my company.  I would prefer a heterogeneous team so I refrain from the “Playing with fire gap.”  I know that I am a little far off from hiring any team member for my business but it is nice to start thinking about it now and to have an idea of what I am looking for when that day comes.

As always, I found these chapters interesting and I learned a lot about hiring and how to keep some of my best employees.  I hope you learned something from reading my post.  Leave me a comment below telling me a characteristic you look for (or will) when hiring for your company.

Thank you for stopping by.

Until next time,