Richard Branson, one of the most successful and recognizable entrepreneurs of our time, has said that “Clients do not come first. Employees come first. If you take care of your employees, they will take care of the clients.”
Traditionally, larger companies have a human resources department to handle a variety of employee issues including hiring, training, timing, evaluation, and team-building, but these days, new small businesses are handing things a bit differently. Start-ups have the benefit of flexibility which affords new business owners the ability to create a system that works for them.
Here are some tips from a variety of entrepreneurs who successfully broke the mold with start-up human resources.
- Hiring – Entrepreneurs almost unanimously agree that the best way to make new hires is through referrals and intern programs. Rather than posting an ad in the classified, talk to current employees about recruiting their friends that could be potentially valuable team members. Similarly, making interns full-time employees following their education is hugely beneficial since their previous experience with the company will allow them to hit the ground running.
- Training – Traditionally, companies have a dedicated training course where a new employee may sit and learn, somewhat like a lecture. Start-ups generally don’t have the time or resources to do this. Successful new business owners suggest that you assign new hires to a “mentor,” a current employee that can be shadowed for a time.
- Timing – When an employee clocks in and out is of far less importance than productivity to most new businesses. Some profitable new companies have adopted a policy, or really a lack thereof, that allows employees to come into the office on their own time. Employees can simply send an email to their supervisor about requested leave, but spending time worrying about timing, clocking, vacation hours, and so forth can distract from the business itself.
- Evaluation – Rather than getting a supervisor to spend time rating and reviewing employees, require that they rate and review themselves. One benefit could be that this allows the employee to maybe see where they could be stronger and come to the conclusion themselves rather than potentially resenting supervisors for calling them out.
- Team–Building –Teamwork and passion is arguably more important in start-ups, so organizing some kind of group event to boost morale occasionally can do wonders for the employees and the business. A company barbeque, outdoor movie night, or a group art class; just a few ideas.
Garland & Mason, L.L.C. – New Jersey business lawyers