“The Team! The Team! The Team!”
Why is it important to hire right team? We can provide you with a simple and straightforward answer – there are plenty of studies listing a failure to hire right team as a THIRD cause why startups fail!
But it is not that surprising when you think about it. All you need it is a bit of imagination.
Close your eyes and imagine if a coach wouldn’t hire right team of players and instead he would find players who do not know which sport they are playing. Or players having the same role or even better, what if half of the team would be scrolling on their phones instead of participating in the game? That would lead to pure chaos. Would it be a successful team? No.
We know that it is super hard (especially if it is your first startup) to let other people in to help with your business. Because it is your baby, you have been working on it for so long! You know how it should look, what does it mean to you and what it should mean to others. What if they are going to ruin it? It is better to do everything yourself. STOP.
There is no such thing as a solo entrepreneur. FULL STOP.
Nobody who’s ever scaled the business from the ground up did it alone. It is purely impossible.
Remember: You do not have all the skills required to scale a startup and you need to hire right team to help you.
But your worries are partially correct – the people you choose to work with have the ability to make or break your business. So, let’s look through the steps of hiring the right team and find where to start when looking for those perfect teammates.
As cheesy as it might seem you should start from yourself. Self-awareness is the key.
Why? Let’s step back for a moment and think about people that influence you. Your so-calledmentors.
When you ask a person ‘Who is your biggest influence?’, they tend to sink deep into their minds, then dive into their imaginary Instagram profile of famous people and start scrolling down until they find the right mentor for the time being. It is always a person with a flashy business title. We have a tendency to follow others, learn about others etc. We are not saying that it is wrong. BUT we forget about ourselves.
Before you start shaking your head, let me explain what we mean. We spend so much time with ourselves and we should be the main influencer of their life’s decisions. Sort of can’t escape it, right?
Oh no, we are masters of escaping from ourselves as having a dialogue with yourself is scary. It is not always a time well spent when it comes to being with you, meaning we tend to hide from our own feelings, no matter what we are doing – aimlessly scrolling, watching Netflix or reading. We are not giving enough time to start the inner dialogue and understand what is happening inside us.
You know, as it is quarantine and we have time to read not only books that are related to business, we have grabbed Tropical Cancer by Henry Miller and we found a beautiful quote on this topic:
“Alone, with a tremendous empty longing and dread. The whole room for my thoughts. Nothing but myself and what I think, what I fear. Could think the most fantastic thoughts, could dance, spit, grimace, curse, wail – nobody would ever know, nobody would ever hear. The thought of such absolute privacy is enough to drive me mad. It’s like a clean birth. Everything cut away. Separate, naked, alone. Bliss and agony simultaneously. Time on your hands. Each second weighing on you like a mountain. You drown in it. Deserts, seas, lakes, oceans. Time beating away like meat axe. Nothingness. The world. The me and the not-me. Oomaharumooma. Everything has to have a name. Everything has to be learned, tested, experienced. Faites comme chez vouis, chéri.”
Can you imagine your friends, family or your partner in the same situation? If instead of chatting with them about how are you doing, what is happening in your or their lives, you would start scrolling on your phone and just nod. You would be in big trouble. That is disrespect. Why we are disrespecting ourselves? Sit down and think.
What are your strengths? Weaknesses? What do you want to do? And actually, what are you good at? What makes you tick?
Knowing yourself gives you the superpower which can bring you happiness and success. No matter how you measure it.
We all want to become huge, just like those CEO’s that we collect in our brain catalogue. But howcan we reach that if we don’t know anything about ourselves? How can one find a team when they don’t even know where they truly stand?
But once you know your core skills, only then you can start seeking someone who could be the missing bits in the puzzle.
Let’s throw in some statistics if you still feeling a bit sceptical and don’t believe that it has anything to do with hiring the right team.
And these numbers are self-explanatory – if you have a strong base, you know where you stand, you are aware of your goals and values, then you will be able not only to hire the right team, but also to guide then toward success.
BRUSH-UP ON YOUR SOFT SKILLS
So, what are soft skills? We were talking about that in our last week’s blog, but just in-case you have missed it, let’s have a short overview.
Soft skills, often called people skills or emotional intelligence, are defined as the ability to interact affably with others. They are personal traits that can have an effect on your relationships, communication, and interaction with others. They can include, or relate to, the following:
- Conflict resolution
- Communication effectiveness
- Working under pressure
Soft skills come from the same old self-awareness.
You need to face the music and think what skills you are lacking, or maybe what should you work on. It is important to be able to motivate your team, be patient, listen to your teammates, be able to explain tasks in a clear manner etc.
In other words, by developing strong leadership, teamwork, and communication abilities, you can run your company more smoothly, deliver results that please everyone, and even positively influence your personal life by improving how you interact with others.
Let’s look at it from the employers perspective, what do they think about the importance of soft skills:
Obtaining soft skills would help you to become a better leader, your workers would be able to trust you and have clear directions in their mind on how and what has to be done.
PLAN YOUR TEAM BY DEPARTMENT
Ok, so you have done all the work on yourself, what to do next?
Let’s start from the basics and check out what business is made of:
Now think of where your startup is at and what are the next logical steps for it.
Do not try to do everything at once and hire a bunch of people that are not yet needed.
Are you just starting off and just about to make your product/service palpable? Then you should be thinking about marketing and sales personnel to move your business into the awareness stage (it is a stage where you are turning people from complete strangers into people who are aware that you exist and might become your future customers).
If you are slowly making your way up from the awareness to conversion stage (the stage where you convinced your potential customer that YOU have the solution to their problem and they are becoming your actual customer), then you should be looking at customer service, accounting etc.
It seems pretty straight-forward but many entrepreneurs wait until things go wrong, then scramble to get people to fix it.
So take your time, think about what kind of people you will need for every stage of your business.
Once you know that, then you have to think about what kind of person not a job title, you are looking for. What skills, experience, values should they have?
HIRE RIGHT TEAM OF PEOPLE WHO LOVE CHATTING WITH CUSTOMERS
In other words, hire customer service stars. We have noticed that many business owners, once they launch their project, get super excited and start hiring these big job titles: co-founders, CMO’s, CTO’s etc. But most of them forget about the customer service part.
Customer in business has become overseen in the same way as customer service in day-to-day life. Just as an example like it happened to waiters. It has become a summer job for kids who just graduated from high-school. You enter a restaurant and you get greeted by a shaky kid who is not only unsure if they have free tables, but also unaware what kind of food this restaurant is serving. Yes, it is a bit of an exaggeration but you get the idea. You need to hire right team for customer service, as these are the people who are the face of your company. You don’t want your customer to leave angry and even more hungry than before (yes, still a restaurant reference).
So you have to find someone who is passionate about problem-solving and helping customers. Only then from the customer’s point of view, your company will be trustworthy and legitimate business. And believe us, TRUST is everything.
DIVERSITY IN THE TEAM IS A MUST
No one needs a homogenous team.
Homogeny leads to stagnation.
Every business must have employees with multiple personalities and ways of thinking: creative, technical, more down-to-earth, straight-forward. Just for it to keep on going or avoiding certain mistakes. It is the same when you think that you have a great product and it is going to sell itself. WRONG.
You can’t rush into hiring the right team if you do not understand your customer. Understand what problem your product is solving. Then figure out how to market it. And so on. You need a very diverse team for that, in order to grasp every single aspect of your business.
On top of that, you need people who would have the guts to tell you ‘no’ or that you are wrong. Someone who could help you to put things in perspective when you can’t. Just some additional brain juice that your business wouldn’t go stale.
YOUR TEAMMATES HAVE TO BE SELF-MOTIVATED ACTION TAKERS
Make sure to surround yourself with action takers, not action talkers.
We are not saying that you should employ someone who would do push-ups for you. No. Rather hire someone who could actually support you when needed.
People have a tendency to talk a lot. Especially when it comes to bragging what they are capable of. You know what we mean. So yeah, you don’t want that. You should be seeking for someone who either has a proven track of success or willing to go full-on and actually reach the needed results.
No one really needs a person in the team that has to be constantly supervised. A person who can’t make their own choices, let alone actions.
You know like little robots that can only act according to the playbook and once they reach an obstacle they either stop or end up running in circles.
A healthy amount of autonomy in a colleague is simply crucial. Find people whose actions and decisions you could trust. That you wouldn’t have to dread a moment when you will the fruits of their “hard work”.
FIND TIME TO COMMUNICATE WITH YOUR TEAM
People say communication is key. And it is true. Good communication skills are key to success not only at work but in private life and relationships.
Most of the people are thinking that all communication is good communication. It is far from being truth. Sending an email or a text to your staff is not always enough. We are not saying that we are encouraging those meetings that could have been an email. We are saying that a lot of businesses forget not only about the importance of communication, but also the importance of face-to-face communication.
5 out of 10 millennials prefer face-to-face communication in the workplace and we believe that this is the case not only for millennials.
Why is it important? It simply adds a human touch to the whole process. If you do all the communication via virtual platforms or other people, you might become a complete stranger to your staff. You know like a scary dinosaur that sometimes shows up in the office and throws work at you. Just because it can.
Another thing is you should be clear when giving tasks. Your staff needs to know why they are doing this job, the reasoning behind it. Otherwise, they might end up feeling like they are being immersed in pointless tasks just for the sake of it. As an example, if you would be trying to introduce new things like LEAN. For most of the people organising files in their computer and labelling closets might feel like a waste of time if they don’t know the bigger picture behind it. Just keep that in mind, that if you don’t communicate the full message, people won’t be able to fully understand you which might lead to frustration. People can’t read your mind and it doesn’t always feel like common sense for everyone.
HIRE SLOW FIRE FAST
We are sure that you have heard this saying before. There is an old concept in business that you should hire slow and fire quickly. But what does it mean and why is it needed?
It simply means that you should be careful and take some time when bringing someone into your team. And when you see that it is not working out, you should let them go quickly.
Some people might join your company simply because they want some experience, training or they are desperate to find something temporary for the time being.
Let’s look at the statistics once again. It is crazy, over 50 per cent of employed workers are either actively seeking or open to a new job.
The CEO of Zappos has his own creative approach to this rule. He offers new hires $2,000 to quit the company during the first week.
Of course, not everyone can afford this kind of attitude but it puts things into perspective. It is extremely important to find and hire people who are actually there for the job and not to leech on your company, in other words hire right team.
WHAT IS THE COST OF A BAD HIRE?
As a cherry on top, let’s end it with a quick overview of the negative effects of a bad hire.
As you can see, not hiring right team has a domino effect. If you will do last minute hire to fix a burning situation, or wouldn’t think through what kind of people you should hire, that is going to lead you to waste tons of money and time.
You will not only spend money on job advertisements, paying wages to your HR personnel but also the time you are going to spend for interviews and training will be completely blown away. But that is not the worst part.
Due to that, your overall business performance is going to drop. Why? Simply because there will be someone in your company who is leeching of you and not doing their job properly. Or just doing bad kind of multi-tasking, with one eye doing the job and with another, scrolling through their phones.
As a chain reaction continues, not hiring right team affects your internal and external relations. Team-work becomes less effective due to the only few people carrying all the weight of the team. It can happen not only because of a single bad hire but because of a constant change of staff. After a while, staff who has been part of the company longer, they give up trying to explain a project or a task to the people who are constantly changing.
We have experienced this ourselves. In one company we have asked old employees to introduce all the staff to us. They had no issue when it came to introducing a handful of people who have been part of the company for years, but when it came to the newbies, we were told “Oh they are changing so much, we don’t bother to get to know them. Unless we keep seeing their faces in the office for at least 4 months, only then we can start considering them as an actual member of staff.” Crazy, right? We don’t think that if they don’t even bother to know their names that they would be willing to spend their time and try to work as a team.
External relations get strongly influenced by that too. If your staff is constantly changing, your customer not only gets frustrated because of the lousy communication with your staff but also you might lose their trust. If you can’t hire right team how can you run a company? There is a clear bottleneck somewhere in your system.
So yes, you do not only frustrate your employees and customers but also are losing your trust points from both sides.
As Molly Graham said “Hiring is a network effect. The first 100 people you hire will define the next 200”. Establishing strong values from the very beginning should minimize HR expenses, stabilize productivity and lastly if the entity possesses thoroughly described processes, then employe training would not be that time-consuming.
This dreadful cycle is going to repeat itself endlessly until you are going to break it with a final good hire. Try to think where you are at in this journey, what kind of teammates your business currently needs and only then try to find your perfect match which is going to lead to you hiring the right team.
Feeling ready to hire? Start your startup journey now!