When you set up your company, you are the developer, marketer, HR manager, finance director and CEO. Having started Huddle with Andy McLoughlin a few years ago, I know only too well what a struggle it is to successfully develop your product, market it, raise funding and manage the growth of the business, then realizing we can’t do everything, forever.
To go the distance, you need to surround yourself with the top talent in your industry and create a team that feels like a family. Not to turn up the pressure but this is not a task to take lightly. The plus side is the opportunity to hand pick your team from scratch.
Here are my top seven tips for building your ideal workforce:
1. Hire people who are better than you. You may have experience in many different fields but you aren’t an expert in everything. You need a team of people tops in their field, whether its development, sales or marketing. Talent attracts talent, so this will bring in other great people to your business.
2. Build a team of peers. At Huddle, when we hire a new member of the development team, for example, we include an interview with other members of the team as well. As you have your team in place, involve them in who is hired. This foster a sense of family within the company that leads to a more productive business.
3. Be open with your team. To keep everyone on the same page, working toward the same goals make clear your company targets and roadmaps. Have regular, companywide meetings so people see what different teams are working on and how the company is developing. Encourage staff to test your product or service and give feedback.
4. Would you want to work in your office? To attract top candidates, you need to create a work environment of great people and great surroundings. That keeps staff happily motivated to put in the hours to get the job done.
Small things can make a big difference. Organize regular social outings, even if it’s just lunch. Get a good coffee machine, a games console and have break-out areas where staff can socialize.
5. When to say no. It’s hard to find the perfect person for a job but you need good people you can imagine working with every day. If your gut tells you that you could not enjoy lunch with someone, just say no to hiring them.
There’s no point hiring someone you suspect you will want to say goodbye to in a couple of months. You’re better off waiting for a better fit.
6. Spread your net wide. Finding your perfect team is be hard because you don't know where they’re hiding. Recommendations are invaluable, so speak to family and friends. Get to networking events to meet people in your industry. Post job details on Twitter and Linkedin, use TechCrunch jobs, Monster and any other job boards. Spread the message far and wide.
7. Be firm with recruitment agencies. Create a preferred supplier list. It’s impossible to manage every single inbound inquiry otherwise. Be very clear what you are looking for. Demand to see only the best CVs. To make sure recruitment agencies don’t walk all over you, set a fixed rate (around 15 per cent) from the start.
Your hard work will pay dividends for years when you have the people you need helping build your company.