Weathering The Storm

Employees jumping ship for the stability of a brick-and-mortar? Try these tips for finding-and keeping-the good ones in these trying times.

Are dotcoms dead? Not entirely, but the sector can certainly be described as battered. Not too long ago, dotcom companies were heralded as visions of doing business in the high-growth new economy, and everyone wanted a piece of the pie. No longer: Newspapers report almost daily on e-business layoffs, closings and restructurings. And businesses once viewed as golden opportunities now have many people convinced they're not worth the risk.

Unfortunately, many of those questioning the stability of your dotcom are your employees-both current and future. So if your company is not doing as well as it was a year ago-or if your dotcom survived the shakeout-finding and keeping the right talent to ensure continued success has become quite a challenge. The good news is that all these layoffs have produced a larger talent pool from which to hire. But the bad news has now become dealing with the fear factor-persuading candidates they'll still have their jobs in a few months if they come work for you.

Some experts believe that finding new employees for your successful dotcom will prove a bigger hurdle than actually keeping them. "If you have a healthy company culture that's based around individual needs, keeping employees is doable," says Karen Lake, founder and president of, a Portola Hills, California, online small-business resource. "Recruiting is the difficult part." It doesn't help that good, qualified candidates aren't quite as interested as they once were in taking a risk-and, in many cases, a pay cut-to work at a dotcom start-up.

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Melissa Campanelli is a technology writer in Brooklyn, New York, who has covered technology for Mobile Computing & Communications and Sales & Marketing Management magazines. You can reach her at

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This article was originally published in the February 2001 print edition of Entrepreneur with the headline: Weathering The Storm.

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