Many managers get a real kick out of managing people – they measure how successful they are by the number of people they manage. You can be good with people but may hate managing people. The problem is that as you start to grow as a business, you may find that you are increasingly involved in HR issues rather than growing your business.
Managing people can be very rewarding and certainly can be the best aspect if your role includes being directly responsible for managing a team. But depending on your luck; if the people in the team are high performers and want to get on with it then you are not going to have a difficult time managing them.
The reality is that although you may really believe you are finding the next Google; your new employees may not share your passion. And recruiting the first few people is actually easy. Certain types get attracted to start ups and love being called co-founders. You can realise how motivated you can get by this if a company recruits you and says you would be a co-founder.
Your problems really start when you look for employees for non-core roles (yes, every employee is important and that everyone is part of a winning team etc – but back in the real world). You will not be able to recruit the best talent for roles such as credit control (which is one of the most important roles in a fast growing business). And you will not be able to compete with the big corporate in terms of salaries that you can offer or the terms of employment (gym membership, subsidised canteen, pension arrangements etc) and the employee share pool will soon dwindle if you start offering everyone access to the share pool.
So, what is the perfect advice to start ups in terms of recruiting and retaining staff?
Firstly, find a really good HR person/ part time director/ outsource partner. This is vital to ensure that you take care of the paperwork and create the impression that you are serious and professional about the way you treat your team.
Secondly, take a long time over hiring decisions – at whatever grade. Hire slow, fire fast is a good motto.
Thirdly, treat the interview as a genuine two way sale process. You want to impress the interviewee as much as they will hopefully want to impress you.
Offer an accredited training program with a local University or College. There are many government programs which offer subsidised training. Why not offer employees skills based learning where they get a qualification? Employees rate this very highly as a benefit – and it could be a very effective way of you keeping them with you during the course (the longer the better!)
Fourthly, if you are the key entrepreneur, really do try and stay away from the managing people piece. It is hard work and can take up lots of time.