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One Person’s Impact Can Change an Entire Company
by Landon Ray Wed, 07/17/2013 - 13:06
Starting your own business puts a lot of pressure on you for many reasons. Your first business choices will define your company’s success for a long time, and naturally, some of the first monumental choices you make concern who you hire and who you don’t. Have you started to sweat yet?
Being picky when building your team is important. You have to hire employees who will help your company grow and flourish. One employee has the power to make or break your business’s productivity and morale. Choosing wisely isn’t hard as long as you know what to look for.
Your Employees Pass It On
Hiring wisely is the first step a small business owner can take to make sure his company runs flawlessly. Influence is key; the first few employees you hire will be role models during periods of growth and set the tone for what your company will become.
When new employees come in, they automatically try to figure out how to behave. They look for behavioral norms and mimic what the veterans do. Your seasoned employees should set a precedent for the kind of behavior you want in your workplace.
We once had a customer service representative who would put clients on mute and badmouth them to his peers. When we heard this was happening, we yanked him out of support and put him in a non-client-facing role. We did not want new hires to think that behavior was acceptable, and unprofessionalism can become infectious in the workplace.
Do you want to hire employees who only show up for the paycheck, or do you want employees who care about your customers? They’ll pass that mindset on to those around them.
Like Who You Hire
As an entrepreneur, at least half of your waking hours are spent devoted to your business; it’s your life. If you don’t like the people you work with, you won’t enjoy the time you spend with them. In turn, you might like your business a lot less, which will negatively affect your life.
When you first start a business, there will be lots of late nights, and your first employees will become your second family. If you don’t think you would enjoy splitting a pizza with someone or grabbing a beer after hours, he probably won’t be a good fit for your company in the long run.
Your co-workers, employees, and prospective employees are also going to take a look around and decide whether they like or would like to work for you depending on those who already do. Like attracts like, and by hiring a specific group of people, you’re creating a loop of positive or negative feedback.
Look for Responsibility
Although it’s important to hire people you like, it’s just as crucial to hire responsible workers. Don’t hire someone on personality alone. Adding productive, driven workers to your team will increase your work capacity and grow your company.
Similarly, if a person leaves abruptly or in an irresponsible way, your business can be damaged. At my business of around 60 employees, the loss of one person can make a big difference. If your business is even smaller, it can devastate your productivity levels. Your first few hires should be responsible and ready to lead. They instill a culture and work ethic by example, so be choosy.
Follow Your Gut
In addition to hiring people who are likable, trustworthy, and good influences, you want to hire people you feel good about during the first interview. I hired our first support worker over coffee in what seemed like a matter of seconds. He was eager and a problem solver. I felt sure about the hire and went for it. Your potential hires should give you that feeling, too.
That same hire is still with us five years later. Now, he’s our director of advertising. His ability to be self-motivated and his desire to pass along that motivation kept him here because he was a part of that positive feedback cycle. Hiring one spectacular employee helped my company as a whole, and it can help yours, too.
Each hire you make at your small business is important, and each must fit in seamlessly with the others. If you’re conscious and smart about each person you bring on, you can step back after a day at work and be proud about your choices. With a strong team, that pride and success is inevitable.
About the author
Landon Ray is a serial entrepreneur whose mission is to educate, motivate, and enable others to realize their life goals and passions by starting and growing their own businesses. ONTRAPORT is an award-winning all-in-one marketing and business automation platform designed to help entrepreneurs start, systemize, and scale their businesses.