Entrepreneurs live and breathe their companies and their primary focus is ensuring that the business succeeds and that they will achieve the overall vision they have for the company.
So how can they get that same commitment from their employees?
Hiring and motivating a team can be difficult in any company, but it is even more challenging for a start-up.
At Manpower Ireland, we primarily deal with providing recruitment solutions for large, established companies but are increasingly getting more and more calls from start ups. Here is some advice we have for them:
The early employees:
The people you hire in the very early days will help set the tone and culture. Early employees should be dynamic, hard working and most importantly not 'yes men or women’. They will share the responsibility of building scale quickly and sometimes that may mean working late or coming in early – whatever it takes to win new business. No start-up can afford an underperforming team member.
Place priority on hiring early employees who demonstrated an evident entrepreneurial flair – employees who understand a start-up culture and realised that there will be ups and downs.
Hiring employees who are purely financially motivated is also not a wise step. The majority of start-ups will experience low points or challenging trading periods in the first 12 months and these employees will be the first to jump ship. A start-up needs people who believe in the long term vision of the business, the potential to be better than the competition and really believe in the job they are doing.
Many entrepreneurs who are so passionate about their business can run the risk of becoming too self-centred. They forget to listen to their employees, have little respect for their ideas' and don't embrace their individuality. As a result, many entrepreneurs can unintentionally de-motivate their employees and it is extremely important to avoid falling into that trap.
While entrepreneurs like to think they are always right, the power really lies in a team who can challenge them to think in different ways, to learn more and to improve as a leader.
Transparency and communication:
Employees won't get meaning from their jobs if they don't believe they are part of a 'shared vision'. The importance of regular and transparent communication is vital for employees to feel respected and part of the organisation's future. Encourage your employees to provide input as opposed to just engaging in one-sided, top-down communication. Be decisive while fostering a collaborative environment. Non-specific directions or threatening communication such as 'get it right next time' will not help or motivate a team. Be specific and if coaching is necessary, do it in private, not in front of their peers. Management by fear is something which is to be avoided at all costs.
Celebrate small and early successes:
Even if the business isn't on track, it is still important to celebrate any small victories along the way. Recognise an individual's performance and celebrate it with the rest of the team – even if it is something as simple as having a tasty afternoon treat such as cup cakes. And finally, it goes without saying that you should always, always remember to say 'thanks'.
If you are currently setting up a business and would like to find out more about hiring the right talent please contact:firstname.lastname@example.org