Companies aren't built by individuals; they're built by teams with complementary skills. But recruiting good talent is half the battle — you also need to foster an environment in which your employees can flourish and grow.
Here are some tips for building a great team and retaining the talent
1. Always Be Hiring
Hiring is a continuous process, not a punctual hunt. Hire in tech, product or business, but only take people that really wow you. It's important to think about the person's career pat too let them adjust to new responsibilities and be mindful of where they are and where they're going. One of the biggest mistakes you can make with bright and talented employees is burning them out by giving them too much work too soon.
2. Encourage Entrepreneurial Thinking
Inside of a startup, each and every person needs to think like an owner and an entrepreneur, encourage people to ponder the thought, 'What would I do if I were running this company?' Getting each and every person comfortable with asking for forgiveness, not permission, allows the entire team to benefit synergistically from their talents as a team being greater than the sum of our parts as individuals.
It's also crucial to hire and cultivate the "whole person," foster open conversations about the well-being of teammates, their personal needs and situations. That might include creating a flexible work schedule for a new mom or sending a developer to a coding boot camp. In the end, it makes employees happier and healthier, makes them better at their job and increases productivity. "Always care immensely about the success of the integrated person."
3. Remember That Your People Are Your Business
Hiring is the most important thing you can do at a company at any stage in its lifecycle. Great people versus okay people are the difference between success and mediocrity — and it is something that founders spends far too little time on early on. In the startup world, your sixth hire should be a recruiter, who can devote time to finding other fantastic hires.
4. Lead by Example
As a leader in a company, everyone feeds off of what you do — the culture starts with you. If you come in early, are always focused and happy, it sets the tone for the rest of the team. Show passion for the company and its mission, set goals and expectations and work hard, and your team will follow suit. A great leader is one that gives a lot, but can also expect a lot in return. Everyone should be having fun and enjoying what they do, and if the best developer out there is difficult to work with, you're better off without them.
5. Character Counts
Hire really good people that communicate and exude positivity, and look at someone's character, first and foremost. The employee retention will be high, and the business often promotes from within. Employees have to have the same qualities as the brand — authenticity, quality and attention to every detail.
6. Don't Underestimate Freelancers
Hiring someone is a big commitment — and what if it doesn't work out? For some kinds of businesses, freelancers make a ton of sense. Companies can hire great talent without having to lure them away with a salary they could never afford. If you are a startup, you can move fast and treat them like you want to be treated.
Hiring college students and recent graduates also helps a lot as they're professional, eager to learn, affordable and enthusiastic. Plus, if you're in the market for help in the tech department, these young people are likely to be well-versed in the most cutting edge technologies.
7. Listen to Your Gut
If you get a weird feeling or sense of doubt about someone, trust it — you probably have reservations for a reason. On the flipside, if you have doubts about a current employee's contributions, don't be afraid to let them go. It's the old startup adage: Hire slow, fire fast. Company culture is a proactive thing; it's not something that builds itself.
8. Give Employees Ownership and Flexibility
Encourage everyone to holistically be happy, and excited. There is an emphasis on what you create, rather than how much you create. Encourage the team members to take ownership of the things that you make, and their role in making them. And be flexible, if any employee is taking a day or a week off, to be with family or go on a trip — then that's fine. A happy employee will be multiples more productive than someone not inspired, or stressed out about something.
9. Work to Maintain and Build Company Culture
Arguably the most important decision you make as a startup or young company is who to hire. And this decision is no less critical when hiring your fifteenth employee than it was for your third hire. In these critical early stages, each hire should fit well and improve the company's efficiency and culture — if they don't, they're the wrong person.
While it's largely the CEO's responsibility to set and cultivate the company's culture, it's a never-ending task. The importance of this nuanced element of business can't be underestimated or neglected. Even the best products and services have fallen victim to a lapse in attention to company culture. If you constantly cultivate this as much as you do any other aspect of your business, you'll have an efficient office full of happy people.
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