A good team, whether big or small is still a good team. No matter how a venture capital prepares for analysis of the product, market size or traction, a good team is an essential part of making the company an inevitable one.
There are many founders, business owners who are struggling in hiring their team of corporate professionals but this is just the first wave of the challenge because keeping them might get even harder.
Here are three tips for founders who are looking to retain top talent and for professionals looking for a smooth transition according to Laila Hassan:
1) You need to be likable; vision and likability “it’s important to bond outside the workplace setting as much as within it”
Put yourself in the professional’s shoes, we shall call him/her “Zein” – (clever, a gender-neutral name). Zein had a clear career path in his/her organization but instead he/she decided to take a leap of faith and join a (early?) startup. To this day, society and probably Zein’s mom still thinks he/she is crazy for taking a pay-cut in return for a virtual upside that, if it happens, will be 10 years down the line. Zein’s life conviction needs to be first and foremost in God, but quite close after it needs to be in this founder’s vision and his/her ability to deliver on it.
As a founder, you were probably able to sell your vision if you’ve managed to bring Zein this far – the important part is to keep communicating your vision throughout. As companies scale, communication falls through the cracks. This is unfortunate because, aside from company retreats and better pay, communication is one of the forms that indicate you appreciate someone within your organization; you keep them in the loop and value their opinion. Zein needs to be aligned and aware of your vision and know exactly where this company is heading at all times.his is the only way he/she can truly deliver on what you hired him/her for.
A softer part to this perception, albeit still a significant aspect, is likability. Zein will be interacting with you day-in and day-out. He/she needs, scratch that, you both need to like each other on a personal level. Zein might think the world of you, but if he/she can’t really stand you then this really wouldn’t work out. Before bringing Zein on, you need to date him/her, treat them as family, go out for meals, drinks or any social activity – essentially, it’s important to bond outside the work setting as much as within it.
2) You need to empower your professional; managing expectations “It’s what you do, not what you say”
I can’t stress this enough- during the interview process, as a founder you are eager to bring Zein on board, so you give them broad promises of autonomy and empowerment; the issue here is what sounds great in your head, and you are in agreement with theoretically, might be very difficult for you to implement. I’ve heard several stories from the Zein’s of the world of how they were empowered in some respects but mostly empowered to agree with the founder on different points.
3) Make sure your professional is mentally stimulated; keep him engaged and motivated “he should be feeling the perks of working in a startup”
As a founder you have to experiment with a lot of roles in your business, at certain times you were the point person for sales, marketing or product. While you may have not enjoyed all these roles, I’m sure you have learnt a great deal. Zein needs to be stimulated too, you brought him/her in for a specific role which you know they will do a great job at. But asking him/her to stick to a specific role, in a dynamic environment such as a startup, that’s similar to his/her prior job, and not rewarding to him/her. Professionals are likely confined to a narrow role previously at a bigger company, with more resources and better pay. They need to be offered a broader experience to stay motivated and engaged; experimenting in another area of interest that he/she wanted to explore could have a great impact both on the individual and the company. It doesn’t have to be set in stone from day one, but he/she should enjoy the flexibility of working in a startup. It’s key to be able to dive deeply in a role, where he/she feels they could add value and is of interest .