As a founder it’s no secret that one of the most if not THE most important factor in building a successful startup comes down your team. Surrounding yourself with a talented group of motivated people with the right skills to get the job done is beyond critical if you want your product or service to succeed.

So here it is ladies and gentlemen, an important list of to do’s while building up your team.

1. Hire people who are better than you.

As a founder, you’ve obviously executed upon the idea and vision for your product or service and you should have a general plan of how you want your company to grow, but the truth is you aren’t an expert in every field (and that’s ok). That’s why hiring seasoned professionals who are knowledgeable and skillful in their line of work is crucial to your company’s growth. Understand that talent attracts talent; your first hires will be the keys to attracting other great people to your organization.

2. Culture is King

How to influence the culture? As a founder, you should be setting the example with every interaction you have with your team members. These interactions will underline the values you set out to establish, but it’s crucial for these values to be shared amongst your employees. Whether it is transparency, industriousness, teamwork, accountability or focus that you want to emphasize in your day to day operations, make sure to gather your employee’s ideas and feedback upon how THEY believe the company should operate from a cultural standpoint. After all, no man is an island.

3. Offer opportunity, not just money

When people make the leap to work for a startup, it’s likely that they want to get away or avoid the corporate world where advancement and growth opportunities are limited from a structural standpoint.
Given, it takes a healthy salary to onboard great people within your startup, but money alone won’t necessarily help you with employee retention, commitment & overall happiness. Here are a few key points you should incorporate within the job description and interview / onboarding process.

  • Offer your employees growth opportunities from a leadership standpoint upon their KPIs -> remember to keep those indicators SMART (Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant & Time-bound)
  • Assess the kind of projects & responsibility levels that will be handled by the prospective candidate
  • Talk about the style of leadership new employees will be working under (of course, you should cross out dictatorship ¯\_(ツ)_/¯ )

4. Setup an office that represents who you are as a company

In this ultra-competitive era, your work environment is crucial to attract top candidates. While Silicon Valley’s startups and corporates offer perks that may be unreasonable from a cost standpoint, it doesn’t take much to setup an attractive headquarter. Pay attention to the vibe you’re setting up and look out after the comfort of your employees. Here are a few ideas you can incorporate in your checklist: buy a good coffee machine and setup a kitchen full of snacks your employees can tap into. Setup a break room where your team can distract themselves, play video games or simply socialize while taking a break. Include artwork and white boards where employees can brainstorm or share their thoughts and ideas upon how to ameliorate the company’s processes or culture.

Last but not least

5. ROWE your boat > Row your boat

Although it is well know that a startup requires long hours and an unprecedented commitment from both founders and employees in order to succeed, work-life balance is a topic that is still highly relevant even in the mecca of tech. While some companies choose to ignore it, others strive to foster an environment that is highly productive without burning out their workforce with 80 hours work weeks which affect the personal lives of employees while causing a decreased output in return. An increase in the adoption of the ROWE strategy – Results Only Work Environment is a strategy that emphasizes results (output) rather than the number of hours worked. A prime example of this strategy being executed without diminishing performance is the company Asana, where employees are encouraged to limit their work week to 50 hours. Through this approach, many companies have been able to accomplish the following: attract and retain top talents, establish a result driven workforce, drive accountability and productivity, and last but not least increase their workforce’s happiness levels. If managed properly, the ROWE strategy is a win-win for both management and employees. Don’t believe me? Check out what Dustin Moskovitz had to say on this topic.

As you can see, there are multiple factors that determine success or failure while building your team. As a founder, it’s vital to stay employee focused by offering flexible work schedules, foster a culture that is creative and fun while rewarding high performers with growth opportunities and pay incentives. That’s all for now, make sure to check out our next newsletter!

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