We all know that good talent is in high demand. As the founder of your firm, you’ve launched your product or service, shared a vision of the company painting a picture of what the team can accomplish together, and have attracted the talent needed to build the organization.
Once you have the talent, including your Pathfinder salesperson, now how do you keep them? It has been said, people don’t quit their company, they quit their manager.
There is some truth to this. In a small, fast, and growing work environment if a person doesn’t gel with the founder—they are likely not a fit. Outside of personality conflicts, what can you do to ensure that your growing firm has the right culture and offerings to keep your people from jumping ship?
Granted, the golden handcuffs of stock options are a powerful incentive to keep people. We are looking at other viable strategies. There is a lot of research on the topic and some common themes of what employees are looking for are:
Flexibility: In daily schedule, vacation time, and in person and remote work.
Room to Grow: Having opportunities for new challenges and to take on new responsibilities.
Authenticity/Transparency: This varies depending on the national and local culture, but it generally means be honest and real with your team.
Decent Onboarding: This can make a huge difference. As you grow, this will continually change. It needs attention.
Constructive Feedback: People want to know how they are doing and what they can do better. As you grow, this might need to become more formalized. How it worked when you had five employees won’t work with 50.
Measure Outcomes: People want their work to make an impact, not just fill out a TPS Report.
How you begin to build these into your company culture will help your long-term success. While what you do is important, what not to do is also critical. Here are some things not to do:
Don’t rely on your experience alone. A normal cognitive bias is to think what motivates or works for you will work for others. You need to get direct input from your people about what works and doesn’t work for them.
One and done. After things are humming, you might think that you have already got the culture thing dialed in. You need to check. We have seen complacency blow up in people’s face too many times.
Assume things will be the same after investors. If you do bring on investment money, which makes sense for many companies, there will be tremendous pressure to change the culture. Those that invest generally have expertise and will have very strong opinions about the best ways to run the firm based on their experience and their personal biases. They were not there from the beginning and don’t necessarily care about what made the company “special”.
This doesn’t mean you shouldn’t bring in outside money, you just need to plan for how it might impact the culture you built and want to maintain.
Go it Alone: While you have the drive, talent, and vision to start your own company—you can burn out. While a significant other can be a tremendous help, relying on them as your sole support can put a strain on a relationship. You heard this before, but it bears repeating: seek out peers and mentors; don’t neglect your physical and spiritual health; and get a coach or therapist.
To learn more about how The Right Five can help you get your first Sales hire right, please contact us using the sign-up form in the left hand column.